Music On The Brink

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01Vienna20140106

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of "The Essay" considers the special character of Vienna, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg and London.

Stepping back exactly a hundred years, five BBC News correspondents present personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would face each other in the Great War. We start in the capital of the Habsburg Empire and the rich multiculturalism of Mitteleuropa.

In this programme, Bethany Bell, the BBC's Vienna Correspondent, evokes both the public face of Austria-Hungary's capital and the simmering tensions which underlay its multi-national empire on the eve of the greatest conflagration the world had yet seen. Taking us on a richly evocative tour of the embodiment of Mitteleuropa, she tells us about a world that was soon to be torn asunder but of which telling - and not always attractive - elements remain.

It is all too easy to forget, she reminds us, that within months Vienna was home to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Siegmund Freud and Josef Broz (later Marshal Tito) - all figures who defined the twentieth century. She also discusses the critic and satirist Karl Kraus and the controversial pre-World War One mayor of Vienna Karl Lueger.

For the multiple nationalities of 1914 Vienna, the chronic tensions which bedevilled this polyglot empire were painfully familiar. The programme reveals what has survived to this day of the compromised nature of Vienna from the era of Zemlinsky and Schreker and of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg.

Producer Simon Coates.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of ""The Essay"" considers the special character of Vienna, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg and London.

Stepping back exactly a hundred years, five BBC News correspondents present personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would face each other in the Great War. We start in the capital of the Habsburg Empire and the rich multiculturalism of Mitteleuropa.

In this programme, Bethany Bell, the BBC's Vienna Correspondent, evokes both the public face of Austria-Hungary's capital and the simmering tensions which underlay its multi-national empire on the eve of the greatest conflagration the world had yet seen. Taking us on a richly evocative tour of the embodiment of Mitteleuropa, she tells us about a world that was soon to be torn asunder but of which telling - and not always attractive - elements remain.

It is all too easy to forget, she reminds us, that within months Vienna was home to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Siegmund Freud and Josef Broz (later Marshal Tito) - all figures who defined the twentieth century. She also discusses the critic and satirist Karl Kraus and the controversial pre-World War One mayor of Vienna Karl Lueger.

For the multiple nationalities of 1914 Vienna, the chronic tensions which bedevilled this polyglot empire were painfully familiar. The programme reveals what has survived to this day of the compromised nature of Vienna from the era of Zemlinsky and Schreker and of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg.

Producer Simon Coates.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of ""The Essay"" considers the special character of Vienna, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg and London.

Stepping back exactly a hundred years, five BBC News correspondents present personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would face each other in the Great War. We start in the capital of the Habsburg Empire and the rich multiculturalism of Mitteleuropa.

In this programme, Bethany Bell, the BBC's Vienna Correspondent, evokes both the public face of Austria-Hungary's capital and the simmering tensions which underlay its multi-national empire on the eve of the greatest conflagration the world had yet seen. Taking us on a richly evocative tour of the embodiment of Mitteleuropa, she tells us about a world that was soon to be torn asunder but of which telling - and not always attractive - elements remain.

It is all too easy to forget, she reminds us, that within months Vienna was home to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Siegmund Freud and Josef Broz (later Marshal Tito) - all figures who defined the twentieth century. She also discusses the critic and satirist Karl Kraus and the controversial pre-World War One mayor of Vienna Karl Lueger.

For the multiple nationalities of 1914 Vienna, the chronic tensions which bedevilled this polyglot empire were painfully familiar. The programme reveals what has survived to this day of the compromised nature of Vienna from the era of Zemlinsky and Schreker and of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg.

Producer Simon Coates.

02Paris20140107

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the principal cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes continue with Hugh Schofield reimagining the chic French capital of Maurice Ravel, the Ballets Russes and Henri Matisse - but which politically suffered continuing angst over its neighbour across the Rhine: Germany.

For many, the wounds of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 had still not healed. And the assassination in Paris of the leading French pacifist and socialist, Jean Jaurès, in late July 1914 convulsed the city and crystallised the diverging views about France's relations with her European neighbours. Hugh Schofield tells the story of why this event provoked such turmoil at the time and why it still resonates powerfully today in the politics and culture of France.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the principal cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes continue with Hugh Schofield reimagining the chic French capital of Maurice Ravel, the Ballets Russes and Henri Matisse - but which politically suffered continuing angst over its neighbour across the Rhine: Germany.

For many, the wounds of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 had still not healed. And the assassination in Paris of the leading French pacifist and socialist, Jean Jaurès, in late July 1914 convulsed the city and crystallised the diverging views about France's relations with her European neighbours. Hugh Schofield tells the story of why this event provoked such turmoil at the time and why it still resonates powerfully today in the politics and culture of France.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the principal cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes continue with Hugh Schofield reimagining the chic French capital of Maurice Ravel, the Ballets Russes and Henri Matisse - but which politically suffered continuing angst over its neighbour across the Rhine: Germany.

For many, the wounds of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 had still not healed. And the assassination in Paris of the leading French pacifist and socialist, Jean Jaurès, in late July 1914 convulsed the city and crystallised the diverging views about France's relations with her European neighbours. Hugh Schofield tells the story of why this event provoked such turmoil at the time and why it still resonates powerfully today in the politics and culture of France.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the principal cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes continue with Hugh Schofield reimagining the chic French capital of Maurice Ravel, the Ballets Russes and Henri Matisse - but which politically suffered continuing angst over its neighbour across the Rhine: Germany.

For many, the wounds of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 had still not healed. And the assassination in Paris of the leading French pacifist and socialist, Jean Jaurès, in late July 1914 convulsed the city and crystallised the diverging views about France's relations with her European neighbours. Hugh Schofield tells the story of why this event provoked such turmoil at the time and why it still resonates powerfully today in the politics and culture of France.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the principal cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes continue with Hugh Schofield reimagining the chic French capital of Maurice Ravel, the Ballets Russes and Henri Matisse - but which politically suffered continuing angst over its neighbour across the Rhine: Germany.

For many, the wounds of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 had still not healed. And the assassination in Paris of the leading French pacifist and socialist, Jean Jaurès, in late July 1914 convulsed the city and crystallised the diverging views about France's relations with her European neighbours. Hugh Schofield tells the story of why this event provoked such turmoil at the time and why it still resonates powerfully today in the politics and culture of France.

Producer Simon Coates.

03Berlin20140108

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes now reach the epicentre of turmoil on the eve of conflagration: Berlin, the capital of Kaiser Wilhelm II's empire. Stephen Evans, the BBC's Berlin Correspondent, reminds us that the German capital on the eve of war was the world's most innovative technological centre. Einstein was here, the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics from 1914. Mark Twain called Berlin the "German Chicago" because of its dizzying sense of modernity and progress. Immigrants were sucked in by industry. In 1895, 20,000 Berliners worked in the factories being built on the outskirts of the city, living cheek-by-jowl in new blocks which became known as "rental barracks".

But all this industrial energy and the wealth it created - which we still associate with today's Germany - came at a price. Both male and female workers felt alienated in their work, likening themselves to machines. As women grew in importance to the economy, so did the loudness of the criticism of their alleged neglect of traditional home virtues. The image of Germany united in war that was to be orchestrated later in the year was already belied by the reality of daily life in the capital itself.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of "The Essay" considers the special character of the main European capitals on the eve of war in 1914.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes now reach the epicentre of turmoil on the eve of conflagration: Berlin, the capital of Kaiser Wilhelm II's empire. Stephen Evans, the BBC's Berlin Correspondent, reminds us that the German capital on the eve of war was the world's most innovative technological centre. Einstein was here, the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics from 1914. Mark Twain called Berlin the ""German Chicago"" because of its dizzying sense of modernity and progress. Immigrants were sucked in by industry. In 1895, 20,000 Berliners worked in the factories being built on the outskirts of the city, living cheek-by-jowl in new blocks which became known as ""rental barracks"".

But all this industrial energy and the wealth it created - which we still associate with today's Germany - came at a price. Both male and female workers felt alienated in their work, likening themselves to machines. As women grew in importance to the economy, so did the loudness of the criticism of their alleged neglect of traditional home virtues. The image of Germany united in war that was to be orchestrated later in the year was already belied by the reality of daily life in the capital itself.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of ""The Essay"" considers the special character of the main European capitals on the eve of war in 1914.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The programmes now reach the epicentre of turmoil on the eve of conflagration: Berlin, the capital of Kaiser Wilhelm II's empire. Stephen Evans, the BBC's Berlin Correspondent, reminds us that the German capital on the eve of war was the world's most innovative technological centre. Einstein was here, the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics from 1914. Mark Twain called Berlin the ""German Chicago"" because of its dizzying sense of modernity and progress. Immigrants were sucked in by industry. In 1895, 20,000 Berliners worked in the factories being built on the outskirts of the city, living cheek-by-jowl in new blocks which became known as ""rental barracks"".

But all this industrial energy and the wealth it created - which we still associate with today's Germany - came at a price. Both male and female workers felt alienated in their work, likening themselves to machines. As women grew in importance to the economy, so did the loudness of the criticism of their alleged neglect of traditional home virtues. The image of Germany united in war that was to be orchestrated later in the year was already belied by the reality of daily life in the capital itself.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of ""The Essay"" considers the special character of the main European capitals on the eve of war in 1914.

Producer Simon Coates.

04St Petersburg20140109

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The series continues with the remarkable city which would - uniquely - soon be renamed amidst bloody regicide and revolution: St Petersburg.

The BBC's Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, finds a revealing connection, however, between the St. Petersburg of 1914 and its counterpart of today.

Foreshadowing the appalling conflict to come across the European continent, he tells the remarkable story of the Grand International Masters' Chess Tournament of 1914, with its starring cast of Russian, German, French, British and American competitors and its dramas of who won and who lost.

But the tournament also demonstrated the Russian passion for chess that continues to this day and helps define its national identity as well as the fierce competition with other countries.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of The Essay considers the special character of St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and London.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The series continues with the remarkable city which would - uniquely - soon be renamed amidst bloody regicide and revolution: St Petersburg.

The BBC's Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, finds a revealing connection, however, between the St. Petersburg of 1914 and its counterpart of today.

Foreshadowing the appalling conflict to come across the European continent, he tells the remarkable story of the Grand International Masters' Chess Tournament of 1914, with its starring cast of Russian, German, French, British and American competitors and its dramas of who won and who lost.

But the tournament also demonstrated the Russian passion for chess that continues to this day and helps define its national identity as well as the fierce competition with other countries.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of The Essay considers the special character of St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and London.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The series continues with the remarkable city which would - uniquely - soon be renamed amidst bloody regicide and revolution: St Petersburg.

The BBC's Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, finds a revealing connection, however, between the St. Petersburg of 1914 and its counterpart of today.

Foreshadowing the appalling conflict to come across the European continent, he tells the remarkable story of the Grand International Masters' Chess Tournament of 1914, with its starring cast of Russian, German, French, British and American competitors and its dramas of who won and who lost.

But the tournament also demonstrated the Russian passion for chess that continues to this day and helps define its national identity as well as the fierce competition with other countries.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of The Essay considers the special character of St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and London.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The series continues with the remarkable city which would - uniquely - soon be renamed amidst bloody regicide and revolution: St Petersburg.

The BBC's Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, finds a revealing connection, however, between the St. Petersburg of 1914 and its counterpart of today.

Foreshadowing the appalling conflict to come across the European continent, he tells the remarkable story of the Grand International Masters' Chess Tournament of 1914, with its starring cast of Russian, German, French, British and American competitors and its dramas of who won and who lost.

But the tournament also demonstrated the Russian passion for chess that continues to this day and helps define its national identity as well as the fierce competition with other countries.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of The Essay considers the special character of St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and London.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present their personal perspectives on the capital cities of the major European powers that, later in 1914, would fight the Great War.

The series continues with the remarkable city which would - uniquely - soon be renamed amidst bloody regicide and revolution: St Petersburg.

The BBC's Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, finds a revealing connection, however, between the St. Petersburg of 1914 and its counterpart of today.

Foreshadowing the appalling conflict to come across the European continent, he tells the remarkable story of the Grand International Masters' Chess Tournament of 1914, with its starring cast of Russian, German, French, British and American competitors and its dramas of who won and who lost.

But the tournament also demonstrated the Russian passion for chess that continues to this day and helps define its national identity as well as the fierce competition with other countries.

As part of the Music on the Brink season, each programme in this series of The Essay considers the special character of St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and London.

Producer Simon Coates.

05 LASTLondon20140110

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present a personal perspective on the principal cities of the major European powers that later in 1914 would fight the Great War.

As part of the "Music on the Brink" season, each programme in this series of "The Essay" considers the special character of Vienna, Paris, Berlin, St Petersburg and London. The programmes conclude with Emma Jane Kirby considering the capital of the largest contemporary modern maritime empire: London.

To today's listeners some of Londoners' concerns in 1914 may seem remarkably familiar. Complaints about the Tube were as frequent and heartfelt a hundred years ago as they are today. To try and divert travellers from their misery, Macdonald Gill - the brother of Eric Gill, the sculptor and designer - was commissioned to produce a "Wonderground" map.

It was intended to amuse them as they waited for their trains which were infrequent, often dirty and over-crowded. The map's whimsical illustrations - together with Cockney asides put in the mouths of some of the invented characters - captured the city's above-ground, pre-war character. It evoked the zeitgeist which George Bernard Shaw simultaneously reflected on stage in "Pygmalion" - and led to a subsequent commission to design a theatreland map during the First World War.

Emma Jane Kirby considers the idea of Britain which London was presenting to both the wider world and Britons themselves in 1914. And she assesses how far these attitudes still resonate today.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present a personal perspective on the principal cities of the major European powers that later in 1914 would fight the Great War.

As part of the ""Music on the Brink"" season, each programme in this series of ""The Essay"" considers the special character of Vienna, Paris, Berlin, St Petersburg and London. The programmes conclude with Emma Jane Kirby considering the capital of the largest contemporary modern maritime empire: London.

To today's listeners some of Londoners' concerns in 1914 may seem remarkably familiar. Complaints about the Tube were as frequent and heartfelt a hundred years ago as they are today. To try and divert travellers from their misery, Macdonald Gill - the brother of Eric Gill, the sculptor and designer - was commissioned to produce a ""Wonderground"" map.

It was intended to amuse them as they waited for their trains which were infrequent, often dirty and over-crowded. The map's whimsical illustrations - together with Cockney asides put in the mouths of some of the invented characters - captured the city's above-ground, pre-war character. It evoked the zeitgeist which George Bernard Shaw simultaneously reflected on stage in ""Pygmalion"" - and led to a subsequent commission to design a theatreland map during the First World War.

Emma Jane Kirby considers the idea of Britain which London was presenting to both the wider world and Britons themselves in 1914. And she assesses how far these attitudes still resonate today.

Producer Simon Coates.

Stepping back in time exactly a century, five BBC News correspondents present a personal perspective on the principal cities of the major European powers that later in 1914 would fight the Great War.

As part of the ""Music on the Brink"" season, each programme in this series of ""The Essay"" considers the special character of Vienna, Paris, Berlin, St Petersburg and London. The programmes conclude with Emma Jane Kirby considering the capital of the largest contemporary modern maritime empire: London.

To today's listeners some of Londoners' concerns in 1914 may seem remarkably familiar. Complaints about the Tube were as frequent and heartfelt a hundred years ago as they are today. To try and divert travellers from their misery, Macdonald Gill - the brother of Eric Gill, the sculptor and designer - was commissioned to produce a ""Wonderground"" map.

It was intended to amuse them as they waited for their trains which were infrequent, often dirty and over-crowded. The map's whimsical illustrations - together with Cockney asides put in the mouths of some of the invented characters - captured the city's above-ground, pre-war character. It evoked the zeitgeist which George Bernard Shaw simultaneously reflected on stage in ""Pygmalion"" - and led to a subsequent commission to design a theatreland map during the First World War.

Emma Jane Kirby considers the idea of Britain which London was presenting to both the wider world and Britons themselves in 1914. And she assesses how far these attitudes still resonate today.

Producer Simon Coates.