- 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 Four Seasons
From the boundless majesty of the summer sun in Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten to the frosty snow and shivering winds of Vivaldi’s Winter, this week is dedicated to music inspired by the changing seasons. Come and find out how something as natural and routine as the seasons and the changes between them can inspire a wide variety of music.
The segment begins with "Der Fruhling"--Spring--from Haydn's oratorio Die Jahreszeiten--The Seasons. The piece begins stormily, as if in the depths of winter, until the clouds break and spring arrives, prompting a trio of peasants to give thanks for spring's coming. Oddly enough, the piece quotes right from Haydn's famous Surprise Symphony (C-C-E-E-G-G-E, F-F-D-D-B-B-G) as part of a little joke Haydn played on his Austrian audience, who had not heard the London-published Surprise Symphony yet. Before we hear the piece proper, we hear a guest vocal appearance from engineer Bill Sigmund. Next we move to piano music from Tchaikovsky: three pieces from a set of work representing each month of the year. In keeping with our spring theme for this part of the program, we listen to the slow, solemn pieces representing April, May, and June--the months of spring. Next is an extreme contrast of style: "Primavera Porteno", from Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, bombastic music written by an Argentine master of tango. The segment then closes with a piece called "Sacred Rain", composed very recently by Dr. James Cross of Washington.
The segment begins with "Der Sommer", from Haydn's Jahrezeiten, but despite the subject matter the piece does not sound summery at first. This is because of Haydn's desire to inject some drama into the source material, both in the first part before sunrise and in the second part during a summer storm. We then continue with more of Tchaikovsky's seasonal pieces for piano: in keeping with the summer theme established, we hear July, August, and September. The segment then concludes with another lively piece from Piazzolla: Verano Porteno, again representing summer. But just over a minute in, Piazzolla quotes from Vivaldi's four seasons...from the winter section! Despite this bit of humor, the piece is still as wild and vivacious as was heard last time.
This segment surrounds autumn, and begins with Haydn's "Der Herbst" once again from Jahrezeiten. The focus in both parts this time is on the hunt, first with the father of the family pursuing a quail and then with the entire village joining in...until the wine arrives. Next are three more of Tchaikovsky's seasonal pieces: October, November, and December. The segment then closes out with Piazzolla's work--Otono Porteno from Four Seasons of Buenos Aries--in a manner that contrasts with the previous samplings we've heard from Piazzolla this week. Instead of rambunctious and wild, Otono Porteno is more reserved and waltzlike, as the world winds down for the looming winter.
This segment begins in the bleak of winter with "Der Winter" from Haydn's Jahrezeiten, a sombre and dramatic piece that showcases Haydn's obsession with sturm und drang. The second bit of "Winter" brings the whole thing to a triumphant conclusion, even after winter's bleakness has pervaded everything. Next are the last few pieces from Tchaikovsky's Seasons: January, February, and March, the winter months. The segment closes with "Invierno porteno", the most melancholy of Piazzolla's otherwise joyous and wild Seasons of Buenos Aires, showing that even a hot Argentine city has sombre moods as well.
The fifth and final segment of The Four Seasons brings us to the most famous of all seasonal pieces: Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. It begins, as Haydn's oratorio did, with Spring, with the sounds of birds and babbling brooks heralding sunny days interrupted by a few rainstorms. Summer displays bird songs during hot, lazy days all frightened away by the dark, violent thunderstorm. Autumn arrives, and with it so do the harvests and the tremendous amounts of drinking...only to go hunting the next day. Then Winter closes the piece, blowing fierce winds that chill to the bone, the only respite located inside by the fire before bed. As the show closes out, an excerpt from James P. Johnson's Snowy Morning Blues plays underneath.