- 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 I American 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 MetronomeBeethoven 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 Bruckner, Anton (FREE)CCall for ScoresCello Concertos Child's PlayChopin, FredericClash of the Titans Clowning AroundCopland, AaronCorigliano, JohnCzech out those Bohemians DDebussy, Claude (FREE)Demons, Spooks and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night (FREE)Director's ChoiceDistant Neighbors Don't Shoot the Piano PlayerDvořák, AntoninDvorak, Tchaikovsky & Borodin String Quartets EElgar, EdwardEmotion and Meaning in MusicEnescu, GeorgesEspanaFFamilies 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 Land HHandel, George FridericHaydn and Mozart QuartetsHaydn SymphoniesHidden Gold, Part IHidden Gold, Part IIHHindemith, PaulHit or Myth Holiday CelebrationHomageII Didn't Know About YouI Hear a Rhapsody I Hear America Singing (FREE)I 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, LeosKKeyboard SmorgasbordLLatin 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 19th Century Paris: Waterloo to Bismarck Music in the Time of WarMusic of ScandinaviaMusical 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, Carl Ninth SymphoniesNobody Ever Builds a Statue to a CriticOOrpheus in the New World Outward BoundPPastoral Symphonies Piano ConcertosPolandPortraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part I Portraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part II Ports of Call, Part I Ports of Call, Part II (FREE)Poulenc, FrancisProkofiev, SergeiProud Tower, Part IProud Tower, Part IIRRachmaninoff, SergeiRRavel, Maurice Respighi, OttorinoRimsky-Korsakov and His PupilsRoaring 20's Russian Five: The Mighty HandfulSSchool DaysSchubert String QuartetsSchubertiade, Part ISchubertiade, Part IISchuman, WilliamSchumann, Robert Shakespeare Shostakovich, Dmitri, Part I 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 01 (FREE)Symphony, 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 PhilharmonicThe Gathering Storm: Music from the Great Depression to WWIIThrough the Mail SlotTone Poems Too Darn BigTriple PlayTudor MusicTwo Very Different Worlds Delius and HolstUUnder the Hood, Part IUnder the Hood, Part II Unfinished SymphoniesVVariationsVaughan Williams, RalphVeniceVerdi, Giuseppe, Part IVerdi, Giuseppe, Part IIVienna, Part IVienna, Part II 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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Brahms, Johannes, Part I Purchase Now
Johannes Brahms was one of the biggest romantic composers. He was born in Hamburg in 1833 and grew up as a child prodigy. His musical talent almost brought his family to America, but after that plan fell apart, he stayed in Hamburg and studied with Edward Markson. Bill reads an excerpt from Markson`s writings about Brahms. In his late teen years Brahms worked on his classical music studies and compositions, while at night he played mazurkas and waltzes at seaport dives.
The first time he heard Schumann`s Paradies und die Peri, he did not appreciate the opening seventh chord, being quite conservative at the age of seventeen. In 1850 the Schumanns arrived in Hamburg for a concert. Robert performed some of his own pieces, and Clara played husband`s piano concerto in a minor.
After the revolution swept across Europe in 1848, it freed a lot of people in the east. A lot of people started moving west. Many Hungarian gipsies playing violin moved to Hamburg, bringin Hungarian gipsy music with them. Their music influenced greatly Brahms` compositions. Gipsy music became a great source of inspiration for him.
Edward Hoffmann made Brahms his recital partner and introduced him to Liszt in Weimar in 1853. Brahms was nervous to perform for Liszt, so Liszt sightread Brahms` scherzo in e-flat minor, which we can hear in Zimerman`s performance.
Beethoven heard Joseph Joachim playing Beethoven in Hamburg. They became friends. Joachim introduced Brahms to the Schumanns. Brahms performed his sonata in C major for them. Bill talks about the influences in this sonata.
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 21, Waldstein (excerpt)
Schumann: Paradies und die Peri(excerpts)
Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique/Gardiner
Schumann: Piano Concerto in a minor, Op. 54 (excerpt)
Chamber Orch. of Europe/Harnoncourt; Argerich, p.
Hubay:On the Waves of the Balaton (excerpt)
Brahms: Piano Quartet in g minor, Op. 25, IV (excerpt)
Kremer, v.; Bashmet, vla.; Maisky, vc.; Argerich, p.
Brahms: Scherzo in e-flat minor, Op. 4
Phil 456 997
Chopin: Scherzo #2 in b-flat minor, Op. 31 (excerpt)
Liszt: Piano Sonata in b minor, S 178, (excerpt)
Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1, I & II
11:20 & 5:58
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29, Hammerklavier, (excerpt)
Schubert: “Der Leiermann” fr. Die Winterreise (excerpt)
Goerne, bar.; Brendel, p.
Brahms: “Liebestreu”, Op. 3 No. 1
Fink, ms.; Vignoles, p.
Brahms: “Frühling”, Op. 6 No. 2
Ameling, s.; Baldwin, p.
In this hour, Bill focuses on Brahms' continuing relationship with the Schumanns and several major works such as the Piano Trio No. 1 and the Serenade No. 1.
Bill reads a letter written by Schumann to Brahms` father, praising his son and sending him an article he wrote about Brahms. The article was read everywhere in wide circles. To show his gratitude, he dedicated his sonata in f# minor to Clara Schumann. Brahms later moved into the Schumann house after Robert attempted suicide in the Rhine.
F.A.E. "Frei aber einsam". Freely but lonely was the motto of Joachim, the violinist. Brahms, Schumann and Dietrich composed the FAE sonata together for Joachim`s birthday.
The connection between Brahms and the Schumanns was extremely complicated. He loved Clara, and loved and admired her husband as much as she did. But Schumann was in the asylum,and Clara was not allowed to see him. Brahms and Clara spent their time playing music and discussing music. In today`s broadcast we can also hear two romances by Clara Schumann, who wasn`t only an amazing pianist, but also a great composer.
Bill reads three letters at the end: one by Clara, one by Brahms to Joachim about his love for Clara, and a last one from Brahms to Clara after he left Dusseldorf, trying to stop his passion.
Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 2 in f# minor, Op. 2 (excerpts)
3:13, :35, 3:54, 1:41
Brahms: F.A.E Sonata for Violin and Piano, III
Milstein, v.; Bussotti, p.
Brahms: Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8, I
Szeryng, v.; Fournier, vc.; Rubinstein, p.
C. Schumann: Romance Nos. 1 & 3, Op. 22
Van Keulen, v.; Brautigam, p.
Brahms: Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11 (excerpts)
Scottish Chamber Orch/Mackerras
Brahms` piano concerto No.1. was greatly influenced by his experience of hearing Beethoven`s 5th symphony live in 1854. He had sketches written for a new piece but was not sure whether to turn it into a symphony and walk in Beethoven`s footsteps. He ended up turning the sketches into a piano concerto in d minor. The first performance of the concerto in Leipzig was not successful surprisingly .
In today`s hour we will hear the first movement of the concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by George Szell and with Fleischer at the piano, and the second movement with the CSO, conducted by Reiner and with Rubinstein playing the piano. It is common belief that Brahms wrote this second movement as a requiem to Schumann, who was on his death at that time.
After the concerto we will hear the first and last movement from Brahms` Serenade no.2. in A major.
Brahms: Piano Trio in B Major, II (excerpt)
Szeryng, v.; Fournier, vc.; Rubinstein, p.
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in d minor, Op. 15, I
Cleveland Orch/Szell; Fleisher, p.
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in d minor, Op. 15, II
CSO/Reiner; Rubinstein, p.
Today`s broadcast starts with a Brahms song called "Nicht Mehr Zu Dir Zu Gehen", sung beautifully by Quasthoff. Brahms wrote it for Agathe von Siebold, a singer he got to know in 1858. Bill tells the background story.
The next piece will be Brahms` string sextet in G major.
After Schumann`s death, Brahms started working on some new sketches. In 1865 he recieved the news about his mother`s illness. He rushed to Hamburg, but by the time he arrived, she had already died. Between the two deaths Brahms started working the sketches together. He built the movements into Ein Deutsches Requiem, a German requiem. German because he did not use the traditional latin words to write a latin requiem. The words were the result of his own research. He studied scriptures and the Bible, and selected his own text.
Bill will focus deeply on Ein Deutsches Requiem in today`s and tomorrow`s broadcasts.
Brahms: “Nicht Mehr Zu Dir Zu Gehen” fr. Lieder & Gesänge, Op. 32
Quasthoff, bs. bar.; Zeyen, p.
DG 463 183
Brahms: String Sextet in G Major, Op. 36, IV
Berlin Phil Octet
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, IIV
Philharmonia Orch & Chorus/Klemperer; Dieskau, bar.
Brahms: String Sextet in G Major, Op. 36, I (excerpt)
Berlin Phil Octet
Yesterday Bill started discussing Brahms` German Requiem, and he continues with the piece today. We will listen to a recording of the V. movement by the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle, with soprano Dorothea Röschmann, and of the final two movements in the Philharmonia Orchestra`s performance under Klemperer.
The last movement ends with the word "selig", which means blessed. It is also the very first word of the Requiem. The piece starts with "blessed are they, who mourne" and ends with "blessed are they, who die in the Lord".
The next piece Bill focuses on today is Brahms` Cello Sonata No.1.
After writing his sonata in C major (the one he played for the Schumanns), Brahms composed three more, then stopped. The next sonata he wrote over ten years later is the Cello Sonata No.1. we will hear today with Leonard Rose and Jean-Bernard Pommier.
After listening to the Requiem and the Cello Sonata, Bill turns to lighter music: Waltzes for Piano Four Hands in Argerich`s and Rabinovich`s performance.
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, V
Berlin Phil/Rattle; Röschmann, s.