- Program List
Below are many of the more than 170 five-hour 'weeks' of Exploring Music have been created since 2003. The first seven minutes of every program are free to sample. Several entire 5-hour programs are also free to listen (marked 'free' below). For complete access to all of the shows, click here to become a subscriber. To see the playlist for a given show, click on the show and then on the 'playlist' button beneath any of the five one-hour programs.
AA Green and Pleasant LandA Little Traveling Music, Please American Masters, Part I (FREE)American Masters, Part IIAmerican Masters, Part IIIAn Intelligent ConversationArias & BarcarollesArtists in Exile, Part IArtists in Exile, Part IIAutumn Leaves BBach Sleeps in on Sundays Bach to Beethoven Bach's Christmas OratorioBach's Not-So-Minor B-Minor MassBarberBartokBeethoven & that Danged Metronome Beethoven and the PianoBeethoven QuartetsBerliozBernsteinBill's KeepersBrahms, Part IBrahms, Part IIBritten CCamille St-SaënsCello Concertos (FREE)Chicago Symphony Orchestra: The Big FiveChild's PlayChopinClowning AroundCoplandCoriglianoCzech out those BohemiansDDebussyDemons, Spooks and Other Things That Go Bump in the NightDirector's ChoiceDistant NeighborsDon't Shoot the Piano PlayerDvorakDvorák, Tchaikovsky & Borodin String QuartetsEElgarEspanaFFamilies of InstrumentsFamily MattersFauréFit for a KingGGame of Pairs, Part IGame of Pairs, Part IIGershwinGet the PictureGitana: Gypsy Music And Its InfluencesHHandelHaydn and Mozart QuartetsHHaydn SymphoniesHidden Gold, Part IHidden Gold, Part IIHindemithHoliday CelebrationHomageII Didn't Know About YouI Hear America SingingI Lost it at the Movies (FREE)Incidentally SpeakingIntimate VoicesInvitation to the Dance, Part IInvitation to the Dance, Part IIInvitation to the Dance, Part IIIIt Takes Two to TangoIt Was a Lover and His LassItalian SouvenirsJJanáčekLLatin CarnivalLes SixLife Among the Dead: Requiem MassesListener's Choice, Part IIListener's Choice, Part IIILisztMMagnificent MagyarsMahler, Part IMahler, Part IIMaiden VoyagesMendelssohnMendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms String QuartetsMerrie EnglandMozart at his Zenith (FREE)Mozart Piano ConcertosMozart's Birthday BashMusic for the MassesMusic in the Time of WarNNadia BoulangerNationalismNew Releases, Part IINew Wine in Old Bottles (Free)New York Philharmonic: The Big Five, Part INew York Philharmonic: The Big Five, Part IINielsenNinth SymphoniesNobody Ever Builds a Statue to a CriticOOrpheus in the New WorldOutward BoundPPastoral SymphoniesPiano ConcertosPolandPortraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part IPortraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part IIProkofievRRachmaninoffRRavelRespighiRussian Five: The Mighty HandfulSSchool DaysSchubert String QuartetsSchubertiade, Part ISchubertiade, Part IISchuman (William) SchumannShakespeare (FREE)Shostakovich, Part IShostakovich, Part IISibelius and GriegSounds of the City of Lights (FREE)SoundtracksSpring is HereSt. Matthew PassionStrauss (Richard)Stravinsky (FREE)Strings Plus OneTTchaikovsky, Part ITchaikovsky, Part IIThe Four SeasonsThe Proud Tower, Part IThe Proud Tower, Part IIThe Roaring 20'sThe Symphony, Part IThe Symphony, Part IIThe Symphony, Part IIIThe Symphony, Part IVThe Symphony, Part IXThe Symphony, Part VThe Symphony, Part VI (French)The Symphony, Part VII (Russian)The Symphony, Part VIIIThrough the Mail SlotTone PoemsToo Darn BigTriple PlayTudor MusicUUnder the Hood, Part IUnder the Hood, Part IIUnfinished SymphoniesVVariationsVaughan WilliamsVeniceVerdi, Part IVerdi, Part IIVienna, Part IVienna, Part IIViolaWWagnerWagner's Ring CycleWater MusicWhat Else Ya Got?William WaltonWind QuintetsYYou and the Night and the Music
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The Roaring 20's
New York City and Paris were the hip cities in the 1920s, and this program explores music from New York in that era.
In 1926, John Alden Carter wrote his ballet Skyscrapers which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera.
Next, we hear The Black Maskers Suite by Roger Sessions. Sessions wrote The Black Maskers Suite for a class play at Smith College in 1923.
Edgar Varese, wrote the next piece Octandre. We listen to a performance from 1924. Frank Zappa was a big Varese enthusiast.
Many composers of that era were fascinated by technology and machines, and the 1920s marked the development of the radio. In 1920, there were no commercial radio stations, and by 1922, 2.5 million Americans owned a radio.
One of the most machine-minded composers was George Antheil, born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1900. Antheil spent time composing in France before returning to America for a concert of his pieces at Carnegie Hall. Performed in this program are Airplane Sonata and Jazz Symphony.
George Gershwin also performed at Carnegie Hall, first with Rhapsody in Blue, and then with the piece heard here, Concerto in F. This piece was composed for the New York Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 1925.
The program closes with a perfomance of Duke Ellington's Creole Love Call. The Duke Ellington Orchestra began performing at The Cotton Club in 1927.
Carpenter: Skyscrapers (excerpts)
Sessions: Dance, Dirge & Finale fr. Black Maskers
Juilliard Orchestra/ Zukofsky
New World 368
There was a 1920s trend for American composers to go to Paris to study, and many worked with the famous French composer Nadia Boulanger. Three of her pupils, Walter Piston, Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland are featured in this program.
Piston taught himself the saxophone while he was in the navy, and then applied to Harvard's school of music. From there he went to Paris to study with Boulanger. The work heard here is Three Pieces for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon. It was written in Paris in 1925 and first heard in New York in 1928 at a Copland-Sessions Concert.
Next, we hear Copland's Music for the Theater. The piece was written in 1925 and is lyrical and jazzy, and also more accessible than some of his earlier writing.
Thomson, the last of Boulanger's pupils featured in this program, is also a great music critic. The piece heard here is a setting of texts by Gertrude Stein, one of Thomson's close friends. The featured movements are Susie Asado and Capital Capitals. Thomson's music is intentionally simple.
Next, we meet a composer who uses simplicity from a different aesthetic standpoint, Henry Cowell. Cowell was a concert pianist and is famous for using tone clusters. We hear Aeolian Heart where the pianist holds down the keys with the left hand and strums the piano strings with the right.
William Grant Still was one of the first African American composers to receive recognition in the 1920s. Still was born in 1895 in Mississippi and lived until 1978. Featured here is piece for piano. The larger suite is called Africa and the featured movement is Land of Romance.
The next piece is by Carl Ruggles of New England and was inspired by William Blake. It is called Men and Mountains. The program ends with Jerome Kern's Ol' Man River.
Piston: Three Pieces for Flute, Clarinet & Bassoon, I & II
Members of the Bohem Quintette
Copland: Music for the Theatre(excerpts)
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra/ Wolff
Teld 2292-46314 v b
Thomson: “Susie Asado”
Thomson: “Capital Capitals”
Kirby, Kelley, Sylvan, & Ripley, soloists
Cowell: Aeolian Harp
Still: Land of Romance from Africa
Ruggles: Men and Mountains, III
Cleveland Orchestra/ von Dohnanyi
Kern: Robeson, bar.
“Ol’ Man River” fr. Showboat
This program focuses on Paris in the 1920s. For the first time in history, it was inexpensive for Americans to travel there, partially because the dollar was worth much more than the franc. American jazz was very popular in Paris, and the first Frenchman to bring jazz back to Paris was Darius Milhaud. He traveled to Harlem in 1921 and returned to France in 1923. That year he wrote his ballet La Creation du Monde.
The first dadaist composer was Erik Satie. His ballet Parade uses a typewriter, siren and a revolver, in addition to an orchestra. The writing was done Jean Cocteau. Satie became the "patron saint" of six composers known simply as Les Six. More on this group tomorrow.
Maurice Ravel, who lived until 1937, was another famous French composer of the era. Here is his Piano Concerto in G Major which was written in 1929. Though Ravel was a big fan of American jazz, there is little jazz influence on the movement performed here. The piece is dedicated to French pianist Marguerite Long.
Also written in 1929 is Jacques Ibert's Divertissement, which is actually incidental music for a play called The Italian Straw Hat.
Milhaud: La Création du Monde
Lyon Opera Orchestra/ Nagano
Ravel: Concerto for Piano in G Major, II
Orchestre de Paris/ Martinon; Ciccolini, p.
Despite actually being Russian, Igor Stravinsky was one of the most famous composers in Paris in the 1920s. His music combined the antiquity of Haydn and Bach with his 20th century sensibilites creating a neo-classicism. Stravinsky's piece Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra was written to be performed by himself.
Another Russian composer working in Paris at the time was Serge Prokofiev. His Piano Concerto No. 3 was completed in Paris in 1921.
Hungarian composer Bela Bartok was also living and composing there. At the time, he was performing a lot with violinist Jelly d'Aranyi. He wrote two sonatas for her in the 1920s. Performed in this show is Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2.
A native of France and the only female member of Les Six was Germaine Tailleferre. She was born in 1892 and lived to the age of 91, composing almost up to the very end. Here is her Ballade for Piano and Orchestra.
Francis Poulenc, another member of Les Six and a favorite of Bill's, wrote his ballet Les Biches in 1929.
Stravinsky: Capriccio for Piano & Orchestra, I
Berlin RSO/ Ashkenazy; Mustonen, p.
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3, I
Berlin Phil/ Abbado; Argerich, p.
Bartók: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2, I
Kremer, v.; Maisenberg, p.
Berlin, "a troubled an interesting city," was also the home to many great composers in the 1920s. Eventaully, all of the composers featured in today's show relocated to the U.S.
The first of these was Paul Hindemith who served in the German army during World War One. Here is his 1921 piece, Kammermusik No. 1, which literally means chamber music.
Throughout this tumultuous time, many Germans longed for peace and structure, and that is evident in some of the music. Violinst and composer Fritz Kreisler, originally from Vienna, showcased this feeling in his piece String Quartet in a minor.
Another composer who relocated from Vienna to Berlin was Arnold Schoenberg, the developer of twelve-tone tonality. Schoenberg arrived in Berlin in 1925 during the period when expressive German cinema was flourishing. This program features a piece he wrote for an imaginary cinama.
Alban Berg was a student of Schoenberg's. Featured is a scene from his opera Wozzeck, first heard in Berlin in 1825.
Finally, we hear from Kurt Weill who worked with the German playwright Bertolt Brecht on his most popular work, the Three Penny Opera.
Hindemith: Kammermusik No. 1
Royal Concertgebouw/ Chailly