The origins of music

Only one thing rivals caffeinated drinks in warding off the healthy amount of sleep promised by an early night, and that’s thought-provoking listening on the radio. Aware that the Christmas concert season’s 14-hour days kick off tomorrow, I spotted with a mixture of delight and foreboding a potentially fascinating programme on Radio 3 this evening entitled In The Beginning Was The Song. It’s ambition is to explore the reason for music’s existence. Current views range from “a useless by-product of evolution” (Steven Pinker) to “a vitally important faculty that helped humanity to flourish” (Steven Mithen). In case you’re beginning to think that you have to be called Steven to get in on this programme, you’ll be relieved to know that it’s presented by Ivan Hewitt, who is pictured in the first of four still photographs taken during the programme’s production.