- 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.
AA Green and Pleasant LandA Little Traveling Music, Please American Masters, Part I (FREE)American Masters, Part IIAmerican Masters, Part IIIAmerican Masters, Part IVAn 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 (FREE)Beethoven and the PianoBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IIBeethoven QuartetsBerliozBernsteinBill's Keepers Boulanger, NadiaBrahms, Part IBrahms, Part II Britten CCall for ScoresCello Concertos (FREE)Child's PlayChopinClash of the Titans Clowning AroundCoplandCoriglianoCzech out those Bohemians DDebussyDemons, Spooks and Other Things That Go Bump in the NightDirector's ChoiceDistant NeighborsDon't Shoot the Piano PlayerDvorakDvorák, Tchaikovsky & Borodin String Quartets EElgarEmotion and Meaning in MusicEspanaFFamilies of InstrumentsFamily MattersFauréFit for a KingFour SeasonsFrom This Mighty River: Music of the Children of J.S BachGGame of Pairs, Part I (FREE)Game of Pairs, Part IIGershwinGet the PictureGitana: Gypsy Music And Its InfluencesHHandelHaydn and Mozart QuartetsHaydn SymphoniesHHidden Gold, Part IHidden Gold, Part IIHindemithHit or Myth (FREE)Holiday CelebrationHomageII Didn't Know About YouI Hear America SingingI Lost it at the Movies (FREE)In a Family WayIncidentally SpeakingIntimate VoicesInvitation to the Dance, Part IInvitation to the Dance, Part II Invitation 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 IIILisztMMaestro, Pt IIMaestro, Pt. I Magnificent MagyarsMahler, Part IMahler, Part IIMaiden VoyagesMendelssohnMendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms String QuartetsMerrie EnglandMozart at his Zenith (FREE)Mozart Piano ConcertosMozart's Birthday BashMozart: Bright Lights, Big CityMusic for the MassesMusic in the Time of WarMusical Cryptograms NNationalismNew Releases, Part IINew Wine in Old Bottles (FREE)NielsenNinth 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 IIPoulenc, FrancisProkofiev RRachmaninoffRavelRespighiRoaring 20'sRussian Five: The Mighty HandfulSSchool DaysSchubert String QuartetsSchubertiade, Part ISchubertiade, Part IISchuman, WilliamSchumann, Robert Shakespeare (FREE)Shostakovich, Part I (FREE)Shostakovich, Part IISibelius and GriegSounds of the City of Lights SoundtracksSpring is Here St-Saëns, Camille St. Matthew PassionStrauss, RichardStravinsky (FREE)String Quartets from Fibich to SibeliusStrings Plus OneSweet Home Chicago (FREE)Symphony, Part 01Symphony, Part 02Symphony, Part 03Symphony, Part 04Symphony, Part 05 Symphony, Part 06 (French)Symphony, Part 07 (Russian)Symphony, Part 08Symphony, Part 09Symphony, Part 10TTchaikovsky, Part ITchaikovsky, Part IIThe Big Five, Part I: Chicago Symphony Orchestra (FREE)The Big Five, Part I: New York PhilharmonicThe Big Five, Part II: New York PhilharmonicThe Proud Tower, Part IThe Proud Tower, Part IIThe Violin Concerto Through the Mail SlotTone PoemsToo Darn BigTriple PlayTudor MusicTwo Very Different Worlds Delius and HolstUUnder the Hood, Part IUnder the Hood, Part IIUnfinished SymphoniesVVariationsVaughan WilliamsVeniceVerdi, Part IVerdi, Part IIVienna, Part IVienna, Part IIViolaVoices from the East WWagnerWagner's Ring CycleWalton, WilliamWater MusicWhat Else Ya Got?Wind QuintetsWunderkinder Part OneWunderkinder Part TwoYYou and the Night and the Music
- Listen to the Show
- About Exploring Music
Please click here to find out more.
Tone Poems Purchase Now
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.