Sounding The Divine

James O'Donnell, Master of Music at Westminster Abbey, journeys from 700BC to the present day, exploring how human beings have expressed their quest for the divine through music and sound.


0101Music Of The Spheres2003063020050120

From Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, James O'Donnell explores the attempts in Ancient Greece to associate certain types of music and instruments with religious expression.

0102Sing A New Song To The Lord20030701

James O'Donnell investigates the music of ancient Jews. Visiting The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, at St Johns Wood and the Abbey at Downside, James tries to discover how the music at the time of Jesus would have sounded.

0103The Call To Prayer2003070220050127

James O'Donnell explores the mysterious sounds of Muslim chant and learns how the rich tapestry of Islamic music has influenced the West.

0104The Saving Reformation2003070320050203

Talking to musicians and modern hymn writers, James finds out how the power of hymns can politically influence a nation - from Lutherism to Thatcherism; and how through hymns, Wesley prevented revolution in this country.

0105 LASTThe 21st Century2003070420050210

In the final programme, James talks to composers John Tavener and James Bell and asks what lies in store for religious music in the 21st century and whether, in a secular, materialist age, music can continue to provide a window into the eternal and the transcendent.