- 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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Russian Five: The Mighty Handful
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