Rule Britannia! Music, Mischief and Morals
The changing role of music in 18th-century Britain
In the third and final episode of BBC Four’s series on the role of music in 18th-century Britain, presenter Suzy Klein focuses on Handel and the growing popularity of the oratorio towards the end of the century.
While earlier instalments explored how music helped to shape Britain’s rapidly fluctuating national identity, the final episode looks at how the first stirrings of the industrial revolution affected its development into more communal forms.
Klein examines the rise of Methodism, Romanticism and the anti-slavery movement to show how society’s quest for pleasure and entertainment in music was gradually replaced by the search for a higher moral purpose.