- Program List
Below are many of the more than 170 five-hour 'weeks' of Exploring Music that 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 sort through the shows by composers click here. 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.
AAmerican Masters, Part IAmerican Masters, Part II American Masters, Part IIIAmerican Masters, Part IVAmerican Masters, Part V An Intelligent Conversation: String Quartets Arias & BarcarollesArtists in Exile, Part IArtists in Exile, Part IIAutumn Leaves Autumnal Masterpieces BBach Sleeps in on Sundays Bach to Beethoven Bach's Christmas OratorioBach's Not-So-Minor B-Minor MassBallad of East and West Barber, SamuelBartok, BelaBeethoven & that Danged Metronome (FREE)Beethoven and the PianoBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IIBeethoven QuartetsBerlioz, HectorBernstein, LeonardBill's Keepers Boulanger, NadiaBrahms, Johannes, Part IBrahms, Johannes, Part II Britten, Benjamin CCall for ScoresCello Concertos Child's PlayChopin, FredericClash of the Titans Clowning AroundCopland, AaronCorigliano, JohnCzech out those Bohemians DDebussy, ClaudeDemons, Spooks and Other Things That Go Bump in the NightDirector's ChoiceDistant NeighborsDon't Shoot the Piano PlayerDvorak, AntoninDvorak, Tchaikovsky & Borodin String Quartets EElgar, EdwardEmotion and Meaning in MusicEspanaFFamilies of Instruments Family MattersFauré, GabrielFit for a KingFour SeasonsFrom This Mighty River: Music of the Children of J.S BachGGame of Pairs, Part I Game of Pairs, Part IIGershwin, GeorgeGet the PictureGitana: Gypsy Music and Its Influences Green and Pleasant LandHHandel, George FridericHaydn and Mozart QuartetsHaydn SymphoniesHidden Gold, Part IHHidden Gold, Part IIHindemith, PaulHit or Myth Holiday CelebrationHomageII Didn't Know About YouI Hear a Rhapsody (FREE)I Hear America SingingI Lost it at the Movies (FREE)In a Family WayIncidentally SpeakingIntimate VoicesInvitation to the Dance, Part I Invitation to the Dance, Part II Invitation to the Dance, Part IIIIt Takes Two to TangoIt Was a Lover and His Lass Italian SouvenirsJJanacek, LeosLLatin CarnivalLes SixLife Among the Dead: Requiem MassesListener's Choice, Part IIListener's Choice, Part IIILiszt, Franz Little Traveling Music, Please MMaestro, Part IMaestro, Part IIMagnificent MagyarsMahler, Gustav, Part IMahler, Gustav, Part IIMaiden VoyagesMendelssohn, FelixMendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms String QuartetsMerrie EnglandMozart at his Zenith Mozart Piano ConcertosMozart's Birthday BashMozart: Bright Lights, Big CityMusic for the MassesMusic in the Time of WarMusic of Scandinavia (FREE)Musical Cryptograms NNationalismNew Releases, Part IINew Releases, Part III, week 1 of 2New Releases, Part III, week 2 of 2 New Wine in Old Bottles Nielsen, CarlNinth SymphoniesNobody Ever Builds a Statue to a CriticOOrpheus in the New World Outward BoundPPastoral SymphoniesPiano ConcertosPolandPortraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part I Portraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part II Poulenc, FrancisProkofiev, SergeiProud Tower, Part IProud Tower, Part IIRRachmaninoff, SergeiRavel, Maurice Respighi, OttorinoRRimsky-Korsakov and His PupilsRoaring 20'sRussian Five: The Mighty HandfulSSchool DaysSchubert String QuartetsSchubertiade, Part ISchubertiade, Part IISchuman, WilliamSchumann, Robert Shakespeare Shostakovich, Dmitri, Part I (FREE)Shostakovich, Dmitri, Part IISibelius and GriegSlipped Through the Cracks Sounds of the City of Lights SoundtracksSpanish SchoolSpring is Here St-Saëns, Camille St. Matthew PassionStrauss, RichardStravinsky, Igor String Quartets from Fibich to SibeliusStrings Plus OneSweet Home Chicago Symphony, Part 01Symphony, Part 02 Symphony, Part 03 Symphony, Part 04Symphony, Part 05 Symphony, Part 06 (French)Symphony, Part 07 (Russian)Symphony, Part 08 Symphony, Part 09Symphony, Part 10TTchaikovsky, Peter, Part ITchaikovsky, Peter, Part IIThe Big Five, Part I: Chicago Symphony OrchestraThe Big Five, Part I: New York PhilharmonicThe Big Five, Part II: New York PhilharmonicThrough the Mail SlotTone Poems Too Darn BigTriple PlayTudor MusicTwo Very Different Worlds Delius and HolstUUnder the Hood, Part IUnder the Hood, Part IIUnfinished SymphoniesVVariationsVaughan Williams, RalphVeniceVerdi, Giuseppe, Part IVerdi, Giuseppe, Part IIVienna, Part IVienna, Part II (FREE)ViolaViolin Concerto Voices from the East WWagner's Ring CycleWagner, RichardWalton, WilliamWater MusicWhat Else Ya Got?Wind QuintetsWunderkinder, Part IWunderkinder, Part IIYYou and the Night and the Music
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Stravinsky, Igor Purchase Now
By his early thirties, Igor Stravinsky had captured the world stage with The Firebird, dazzled audiences with Petrushka and incited riots with The Rite of Spring. Before the First World War, he had earned his place as a seminal figure of the 20th century. We’ll explore this fascinating life and sample his works.
One of the more pastoral passages of the Firebird suite opens this segment, showcasing the sound of early classical music in Russia. To contrast Stravinsky with the earliest Russian tunes, we give a listen to Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture, which sounds like what would likely happen if Haydn composed Romantic period music. It is derivative of many composers, and this showcases just how new classical music was in Russia in the 19th century. The Russian Five then emerged, and a divide emerged between them; Tchaikovsky opted for a more German sound, whilst Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky have attempted to sound more intrinsically Russian. When Stravinsky emerged, he took inspiration from both sides. Rimsky-Korsakov in particular proved to be such an inspiration to Stravinsky that his Symphony No. 1 in E-flat was dedicated to the older composer. We hear bits and pieces from the first and second movements. Next is the Pastorale, which Stravinsky wrote shortly after he got married. It is a short song, and we soon move onto the Scherzo Fantastique, the first hint at some of Stravinsky's harsher sounds. Next is a small piece called Fireworks, and then an equally fiery piece--the famous Firebird. Petrushka, 1st tableau closes this segment, as well as Stravinsky's Russian career.
Stravinsky: Firebird III (excerpt)
Glinka: Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture
Phil 420 240
Stravinsky: Symphony No. 1 in E-flat, I & II (excerpts)
Ens. Intercontemporaine/Boulez; Bryn-Julson, s.
DG 2531 377
Stravinsky: Scherzo Fantastique
St. Petersburg Phil/Ashkenazy
Stravinsky: Firebird I & II
Stravinsky: Petrushka, 1st tableau
This segment picks up right where the last one left off with excerpts from Petrushka: 2nd Tableau and 3rd Tableau. The music is as evocative of any ballet, but in Stravinsky's case it is jarring and emotional, with unsettling chords being used to represent Petrushka's jealousy and heartbreak, as well as his outright thrashing by the Moor. Stravinsky was not quite 30 when he wrote Petrushka, but it made him quite famous. What made him even more famous was the infamous yet celebrated ballet set to a primal representation of prehistoric Russia: the Rite of Spring. We don't have time for all of it, but we hear all of part one and a large section of part two. At the time of writing this, it is 2013--the Rite of Spring has turned 100.
This segment begins with the third movement of the Song of the Nightengale, a setting of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale set in China, as is apparent from the opening bars. The next piece is much smaller, but again features similar themes and structures. We hear 3 Easy Pieces for Piano Duet, a couple of small pieces dedicated to three of his friends. Next, as Stravinsky's money ran out in the midst of the First World War, he teamed up with a friend and composed a number of pieces, one of which is L'Historie du Soldat, which features only a small touring ensemble. We hear a large portion of this piece. To close this segment out, we listen to another one of Stravinsky's ballet settings, which was inspired by some travels through Italy with a group of artsy folk, including his friend Pablo Picasso. This is Pulcinella, and we hear a few selections from it.
Stravinsky: Song of the Nightingale, III
Stravinsky: 3 Easy Pieces for Piano Duet
Stravinsky: L’Histoire du Soldat (excerpts)
Members of Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Maazel
Stravinsky: Pulcinella (excerpts)
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
This segment sees Stravinsky's stylistic transformation from his "Russian" period, marked by boundary-breaking and often primitivist music, to his Neoclassical period. We begin with the Octet for Winds, which illustrates the Neoclassical style as a form that despite some modern quirks is indeed harking back to older musical forms, against the grain of modernism that was emerging in the 1920s. Next are excerpts from Oedipus Rex and Apollo, the latter being produced as a commission from the Library of Congress in America. We don't hear very much of these pieces because room has been cleared so that we can hear the complete Symphony of Psalms, in all of its beautiful yet horriffic, classical yet modern glory.
Stravinsky: Octet for Winds
Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex (excerpts)
Stravinsky: Apollo (excerpt)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Rattle
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Shaw
When the Second World War broke out, Stravinsky decided that Europe was no longer the place for him, and he boarded a ship that would take him to America for good. He began a transition from a Russian composer in exile to an American composer, and one of his first commissions in America was from P.T. Barnum: a bit of music for the circus, simply titled Circus Polka. Next is the third movement of the Ebony Concerto, written for Woody Herman as one of the seminal pieces in early attempts to combine jazz with symphonic music. Next is the final movement of the Violin Concerto, which sounds particularly classical in style. In the same year he composed the Ebony Concerto, Stravinsky was commissioned to compose a Symphony in Three Movements by the New York Philharmonic, of which we hear the first movement. It is good to note that despite his wide variety of ballets, Stravinsky was also a wonderful symphonic composer. Almost twenty years later, after being struck deeply by John F. Kennedy's assassination, he wrote the Elegy for JFK, which shifts drastically away from the Neoclassical sound in favor of what the Neoclassicists had been rebelling against: Serialism. To close out the segment, we pick up where we left off in the very beginning of the week with the conclusion of the Firebird, in all of its explosive glory.
Stravinsky: Circus Polka
Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto, III
Woody Herman Orchestra
Stravinsky: Violin Concerto (excerpt)
LSO/Rostropovich; Vengerov, p.
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements, I
Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio/Maazel
Stravinsky: Elegy for JFK
Berberian, s; Howland, Kreiselman & Russo, clarinets
Stravinsky: The Firebird (excerpts)