- 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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Russian Five: The Mighty Handful Purchase Now
By the middle of the 19th century, operas get an infusion of Slavic soul as Glinka, the "George Washington" of Russian music, dreamt of creating a Russian national opera. Interestingly enough, many of the great Russian composers were not child prodigies like Chopin and Mozart, but naval officers, chemists and doctors with a latent talent in music.
What did Balakirev, Borodin and Cui have in common? A love of oriental tones, as can be heard in the following pieces.
Sheremetiev: “Nine sili nebesniye” (excerpt)
Glinka: Overture to A Life for the Tsar
USSR Symphony Orchestra/Svetlanov
Glinka: A Life for the Tsar, Act IV (excerpt)
Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra/Ermler; Nesterenko, b.
Mel 74321 39505 2
Glinka, arr. Balakirev: Kamarinskaya (excerpt)
Phil 456 706-2
Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Cui: Orientale, Op. 50, No. 9 from Kaleidoscope
Midori, v., McDonald, p.
Bonynge, p.; Sutherland, s.
Lon 430 006-2
Bordin's real name would have been Prince Alexander Gedianov, but since father Prince Luka was not married to his morther, he took the name of a serf. Borodin attended a prestigious military academy and graduated with a degree in science and medicine. He was a distinguished chemist and doctor until Balakirev, his mentor, convinced him to write a symphony, even offering a helping hand.
A distinguishing characteristic of the Russian Five is the integration of folk tunes into classical music, and the beginning of Borodin's second symphony hints at Eastern influence.
Balakirev: Symphony No. 2 (excerpts)
Borodin: Symphony No. 1, I
Borodin: Symphony No. 2, I
USSR Symphony Orchestra/Svetlanov
Borodin: String Quartet No. 2, II
Mel 47795 2
Borodin: Polovtsian Dances fr. Prince Igor
Kirov Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Gergiev
Bortnyansky: “Retche Gospod Gospodevi moyemu” (excerpt)
Born in 1839, Modest Mussorgsky went to the same military academy as Borodin, who once called Mussorgsky "an elegant, piano-playing dilettante.
"Mussorgsky's "The Nursery" was dedicated to Dargomizhsky, who was his teacher. "Pictures at an Exhibition" are musical vignettes based off Viktor Hartmann's drawings and paintings.
During this second half of the 1800s, Csar Alexander II pushed for Russia's progressiveness, USA bought Alaska from Russia, and the Russian Five founded a free conservatory with purely Russian music.
USSR Symphony Orchestra opens with Mussorgsky's tone poem, "Dawn on the Moskva River," from the unfinished Khovantschina opera. The listener can imagine "the red light of dawn over the Red Square, the bells calling the faithful to the church." His completed opera, Boris Godunov, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, is considered to be Mussorgsky's masterpiece.
Mussorgsky: Dawn on the Moskva River fr. Khovantschina
USSR Symphony Orchestra/Svetlanov
Mel 34167 2
Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (excerpts)
National Symphony Orchestra/Rostropovich
17:30, 11:04, 16:29
Beethoven: Quartet for Strings No. 8, Op. 59 No. 2, Razumovsky (excerpt)
The youngest of the Five, naval officer Nikolai Rimsy-Korsakov only "tinkered" with music until a fateful meeting with Balakirev at age 17. Not wasting any time, his newfound teacher ordered Nikolai to compose a symphony right away. It was completed during a six-year service at sea.
Orchestral balance stems from Rimsky's "scientific approach" to studying the sound of music. In one of his experiments, he found that 12 violins were needed to compete with the sound of one trumpet.
The best is saved for last: a beloved and intricate showpiece of musicians to this day, the famous "Flight of the Bumblebee."
Nikolsky: “Lord, you are my enlightenment” (excerpt)
Rimsky-Korsakov: Schehreazade (excerpts)
2:07, 11:40, 5:39
Rimsky-Korsakov: Symphony No. 2, Antar, I
Rimsky-Korsakov: Overture fr. The Maid of Pskov
Kirov Theatre Orchestra & Chorus/Gergiev
Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnole, IV & V
LSO/Mackerras; Gaehler, v.
Rimsky-Korsakov: The Flight of the Bumblebee