Our Mission

We're a YouTube channel that digs into the stories behind the great works of classical music, and explores what inspired the composers to greatness.
Whether it’s a tumultuous love life, political turmoil or simply a tight deadline, the one thing they all have in common is an all-too-relatable humanity.
These stories take this brilliant music out of stuffy, snobby institutions and put it back where it is supposed to be: In our life

Our Latest Episode

Ep 23: Boléro by Maurice Ravel

A steady beat and a catchy tune are unremarkable these days, but when Ravel wrote Boléro, repetition was radical. Did Ravel predict the future of popular music in a brilliant lightbulb moment? Or was he just being, well, a bit lazy? Is it deceptively complex or outrageously simple? Or both? What does Boléro tell us about how this eccentric French composer ticked? Let’s find out…

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You’re new to classical music.

You’ve never listened to much before, but a friend has dragged you along to a performance of Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. They tell you it’s an important piece. It apparently “changed the way we understand tonality and harmony.” They point to a jargon-filled essay in the programme notes. It’s a booklet stuffed with copious adverts on which you’ve spent £5 because you think that’s what classical music devotees should do. The essay talks about how “the music’s key changes across complex harmonic progressions”, about “the varying timbres employed by the orchestral instruments” – what even is a cor anglais?! – and how “the piece paved the way for programmatic, modernist interpretations in the spheres of ballet and other art forms.” Classics Explained disposes of all the word salad and cuts straight to the main course - The real human stories behind the greatest music ever written.