- 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 greatest genius that ever lived" proclaimed WH Auden, while Rossini said that Wagner had "beautiful moments but awful quarters of an hour." Love him or hate him, Wagner is an undeniable force who stretched tonality and orchestration to their utmost limits. This week (and next) we celebrate Wagner's 200th birthday in grand style with programs filled to the brim with his music.
We start off with the prelude to Act III of Lohengrin, just enough to hear its dramatic horn lines, then an excerpt of the ominous overture to Faust. The latter was originally intended for a symphonic work, but was then repurposed for opera. Next is another short appetizer before our main courses: the opening to the overture to Rienzi. We hear and study all of these little snippets, then we dive head-on into some full-on, proper Wagner, starting with the overture to Der Fliegende Holländer, the Flying Dutchman. Afterwards, we investigate Wagner's love of gigantic intervals, then hear more from the Flying Dutchman, with "Jo Ho Hoe! Trafft Ihr Das Schiff". After this we listen to the overture and "Baccanale" from Tannhauser, both highly rousing and beautiful pieces. We close the segment out with...Dvorák? Yes, actually, we listen to a little passage from Dvorák's Carnival Overture and realize that there's a bit of notational progression taken straight from Tannhauser.
Richard Wagner: Lohengrin, Act III Prelude (excerpt)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Christian Thielemann
We pick up where we left off in the last segment with "Dich, Teure Halle, Gruß Ich Weider", "Entrance of the Guests", and "Wie Todesahnung Dammrung Deckt Die Lande... O Du Mein Holder Abendstern", all from Tannhauser. We then shift gears to the Act I Prelude, "Mein Lieber Schwan", and Act III Prelude, all from Lohengrin, a piece whose loveliness hid the tummult that was going on in Wagner's life while he was writing it. Next is a scratchy, 100 year old recording of the Albumblatt in C Major, a short song for violin and piano. We then finish the segment off with two more fantastic pieces: the Prelude from Tristan Und Isolde, and "Der Engel" from Wesendonck-Lieder.
Wagner: “Dich, Teure Halle, Gruß Ich Weider,” from
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Claudio Abbado;
Cheryl Studer, s.
Wagner: “Entrance of the Guests,” from Tannhauser, Act II (excerpts)
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Halasz
All throughout this segment are excerpts from Tristan und Isolde, an opera made massively famous by a single chord from the opening. But it would hardly be worth analyzing if an opera could be summarized in a single chord, would it? For this reason, it's a good idea to sit back and let Bill demonstrate just how much meaning and expressiveness can be squeezed out of an opera with only so much time to describe it.
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (excerpts)
Philharmonia Orchestra & Royal Opera House Chorus/Wilhelm
Furtwangler; Ludwig Suthaus, Kirsten Flagstad, Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau, Blanche Thebom, etc.
:24, 3:14, 1:23, 7:05, 27:42, 7:22
Don't look here if you don't want the surprise spoiled! Done listening? Good. What we heard there was Mozart's Symphony No. 41 in C, fourth movement, the "Jupiter" symphony, played right up against the overture to Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, the only comedy opera Wagner ever wrote. The point of that was to illustrate how in Meistersinger, Wagner draws on Mozart's ideas of counterpoint in his composition. Then we listen to numerous excerpts from a production of Meistersinger that Bill wanted to show in particular, in a manner similar to the previous segment's analysis of Tristan und Isolde. It reaches a massive conclusion, the Grammy-winning Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus erupting in thunderous applause at the end. We close out with the song "Was Duftet Doch der Flieder" from Meistersinger in a rendition performed by the Berlin Philharmonic.
Mozart: Symphony #41 in C, K551, IV (excerpt)
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner
This final segment explores the most personal and intimate of Wagner's operas, Parsifal. It was the first to be performed in Bayreuth on a stage built for him. As with previous segments, Bill takes us through a wondrous journey through this opera, so make sure all is comfortable so that we can hear all of it to close out this edition of Exploring Music.
Wagner: Parsifal (excerpts)
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus/Hans Knappertsbusch;
Jess Thomas, Irene Dalis, etc.