- 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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Tone Poems Purchase Now
In a literal case of art imitating life, symphonic music is freed from its traditional structures and takes a programmatic turn. Generally one movement, tone poems use music to evoke the essence of a poem, a painting or other non musical source. Bill invites us to sit with him as he describes and listens to this image evoking dramatic music.
Opening the program is a play on orchestral music--without the use of instruments--illustrating that tone poems know no boundaries.
Battle scenes dominate the beginning of the program, but the rough and majestic sharply transitions into light and airy as the harp emulates clockwork in Couperin's Tic-Toc-Choc.
Bill also reveals his favorite Vivaldi "season" and the poem attached to it.
Janequin: Escoutez tous gentilz “La bataille de Marignan; La guerre”
Concentus Musicus Wien/Harnoncourt
DG Archiv 73262
Rameau: La Poule
Respighi: Gli Uccelli (excerpts)
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
DG 437 533
Telemann: Don Quixote Suite (excerpts)
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Vivaldi: Winter fr. The Four Seasons
English Concert/Pinnock; Standage, v.
Boccherini weaves a lyrical portrait of Madrid at night, which Bill describes as "raw, unedited tape," as if Boccherini had walked around the streets collecting sounds.
Beethoven refines musical storytelling, painting both scenic and emotional portraits. Berlioz chooses to express the mood behind a well-known Shakespeare play, while a teenage Mendelssohn "never got it more right" than when he wrote an overture on another Shakespearean classic.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral (excerpt)
Beethoven: Egmont Overture, Op. 84
New York Phil/Masur
Berlioz: Le Roi Lear Overture, Op. 4
Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture in E major, Op. 21
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Harnoncourt
Composers of the 19th century try to break from conservative constraints with their "music of the future." Schumann thinly veils a Roman cathedral in his symphony and a rarely performed and dark Wagner overture capitalizes on an allegory. Wagner's father-in-law, Liszt, is also the father of the tone poem, as he invented the term for his pieces, but Strauss wins the title of "the greatest master of tone poems."
Schumann: Symphony No. 3, Rhenish, IV
Wagner: A Faust Overture
Strauss: Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28
Liszt: Au lac de Wallenstadt fr. Années de pèlerinage
The tone poem travels to the mountains of Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, in Smetana's "Má vlast," whose six pieces illustrate the history and landscapes of his native country.
The consecutive pieces share a theme: tragic karma imposed on debauched characters. Dvorák visits a funeral in "The Wild Dove" and Franck follows a sacrilegious hunter in "The Accursed Hunstman."
Popularity of the tone poem continues into the 20th century. Many choose to stay current with the exception of Satie's throwback to ancient Greece.
Holst's "Mars" coincides with the onset of World War I, and Ives focuses on a famous American park in his musical imagery. Interesting to note is Arthur Fiedler's performance of Gershwin's famous tone poem, which incorporates antiquated French taxi horns.
Holst: Mars fr. The Planets
Delius: A Song of Summer
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Groves
Ives: Central Park in the Dark
St. Louis Symphony/Slatkin
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Satie: Gymnopédie, No. 1
LSO/Previn; de Lancie, ob.