- 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 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 Beethoven and the PianoBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IIBeethoven QuartetsBerliozBernsteinBill's KeepersBoulanger (Nadia)Brahms, Part IBrahms, Part II Britten CCall for ScoresCamille St-SaënsCello Concertos (FREE)Child'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 QuartetsEElgarEmotion and Meaning in MusicEspanaFFamilies of InstrumentsFamily MattersFauréFit for a KingFour SeasonsGGame of Pairs, Part IGame of Pairs, Part IIGershwinGet the PictureGitana: Gypsy Music And Its InfluencesHHandelHaydn and Mozart QuartetsHaydn SymphoniesHidden Gold, Part IHidden Gold, Part IIHindemithHoliday 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 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 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 IIProkofievRRachmaninoffRavelRespighiRussian Five: The Mighty HandfulSSchool DaysSchubert String QuartetsSchubertiade, Part ISchubertiade, Part IISchuman (William) SchumannShakespeareShostakovich, Part IShostakovich, Part IISibelius and GriegSounds of the City of Lights (FREE)SoundtracksSpring is HereSt. Matthew PassionStrauss (Richard)Stravinsky (FREE)Strings Plus OneSweet Home Chicago (FREE)Symphony, Part 01Symphony, Part 02Symphony, Part 03Symphony, Part 04Symphony, Part 05Symphony, Part 06 (French)Symphony, Part 07 (Russian)Symphony, Part 08Symphony, Part 09Symphony, Part 10TTchaikovsky, Part ITchaikovsky, Part IIThe Big Five, Part I: Chicago Symphony OrchestraThe Big Five, Part I: New York Philharmonic The Big Five, Part II: New York PhilharmonicThe Proud Tower, Part IThe Proud Tower, Part IIThe Roaring 20'sThrough 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 IIViolaWWagnerWagner's Ring CycleWater MusicWhat Else Ya Got?William WaltonWind QuintetsYYou and the Night and the Music
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Tchaikovsky, Part I
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Russia in 1940, and was very taken with the work of Mikhail Glinka, one of the first composers to create a true Russian style of composition. As a child, Tchaikovsky listened to Glinka's Kamarinskaya many times.
After Glinka, five Russian composers known as The MIghty Handful, banded together, but left Tchaikovsky out of the loop because of his European conservatory education. The five were Mily Balakirev, Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Borodin.
As a child, Tchaikovsky was very close to his mother, a French pianist. She gave him piano lessons and he fell in love with music.
Tchaikovsky's piece The Storm is performed towards the end of the program. This is a tone poem inspired by a play of the same title by Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. This piece wasn't performed until 1896, after several years after Tachaikovsky's death.
Tchaikovsky: Impromptu in E-flat Major, Op. 1 No. 2
Tchaikovsky: Scherzo a la Russe, Op. 1 No. 1
Ivory Classics 64405-70901
Tchaikovsky: String Quartet in B-flat Major
Tchaikovsky: The Storm (Groza) Op. 76
Tchaikovsky arr. Riley: “None But the Lonely Heart,” Op. 6 No. 6
Philharmonia Orch/Domingo; Domingo, ten.
At age 4, Tchaikovsky started piano lessons and he quickly became better than his teacher. This pattern continued throughout the rest of his life. Tchaikovsky's family moved around before settling in St. Petersburg when he was 12 years old. Once there, he began classes at the School of Jurisprudence. He was there for seven years until he graduated and got a job working at the Ministry of Justice.
After three years at the job, Tchaikovsky traveled to western Europe in 1851 and decided that he wanted to study composition. He returned home and enrolled in the very new St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Tchaikovsky wrote his first symphony at the age of 26. It is called Winter Dreams. The contention between The Mighty Handful and Tchaikovsky continues as they think his sound has too much western influence.
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Hapsal Op. 2 No. 1: The Castle Ruins
Tchaikovsky arr. Kreisler: Souvenir de Hapsal, Op. 2 No. 3: Song Without Words
A. Sitkovetsky, v.; O. Sitkovetsky, p.
Tchaikovsky: “A Summer Love Tale,” Op. 6 No. 2
DeGaetani, ms.; Kalish, p.
Tchaikovsky: “Otchevo (Why?),”Op. 6 No. 5
Leiferkus, bar.; Skigin, p.
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1 in g minor, Winter Dreams
In 1868, Tchaikovsky met a Beligian soprano named Desiree Artot and he soon became very taken with her. He was considering mariage and dedicated his Romance in f minor to her. However, she ended up marrying a Spanish baritone, and it seems that the loss influenced Tchaikovsky for some time afterwards.
Nikolai Rubinstein was the one to break the news of Artot's marriage, but Tchaikovsky didn't seem to harbor any resentment towards him. He even wrote a Serenade for Nikolai Rubinsein's Saint's Day (birthday) in 1872.
Tchaikovsky was a big influence on future Russian composers, including Igor Starvinsky who saw him at a performance in St. Petersburg just a few years before his death. Later, Stravinsky wrote a ballet called The Fairy's Kiss based on several of Tchaikovsky's early melodies.
The program ends with the performance of a few movements of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2, The Little Russian.
Tchaikovsky: Romance in f minor, Op. 5
Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11, I & II
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Nikolai Rubinstein’s Saint’s Day
Tchaikovsky: Morceaux for Piano, Op. 10 (excerpt)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2 in c minor, Op. 17, I & III
In 1873, Tchaikovsky wrote The Snow Maiden, and it has largely been forgotten since. The premiere was conducted by Nikolai Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky was interested in creating an opera about the story, but Rimsky-Korsakov beat him to it. Tchaikovsky was very upset and wouldn't go see it.
Next, we check in with one of Tchaikovsky's Russian competitors, Modest Mussorgsky. Here is the prelude to his opera, Dawn on the Moscow River from Khovanshchina.
In response to all the pressure to write distinctly Russian music, Tchaikovsky turns to the west and takes his inspiration from Shakespeare. Here is an early version of Romeo and Juliet, written as a duet for two singers.
Finally, we hear Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Piano and and Orchestra No. 1 in b flat minor. This is one of his most famous pieces and it was premiered in October of 1875.
Tchaikovsky: The Snow Maiden (excerpts)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Järvi
Mussorgsky: Dawn on the Moscow River fr. Khovanshchina
Tchaikovsky: “Do You Hear the Nightingale?” fr. Romeo & Juliet
Scottish Nat’l Orch/Järvi; Lewis, ten.; Murphy, s.
Tchaikovsky: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in b flat minor, I
RCA Symphony Orch/Kondrashin; Cliburn, p.
Though the piece wasn't an immediate success, it is now. Here are the second two movements of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.
Next, we hear the Serenade Melancolique that was written for the Hungarian violinist and teacher Leopold Auer. Auer tutored many virtuoso violinists including Jascha Heifitz, Nathan Milstein, Mischa Elman and more.
The program concludes with a movement from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3, his Polish Symphony, and with five excerpts from his 1877 ballet Swan Lake.
Tchaikovsky: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in bflat minor, I (excerpt)
RCA Symphony Orch/Kondrashin; Cliburn, p.
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1, II & III
Berlin Phil/Abbado; Argerich, p.
Tchaikovsky: Sérénade Mélancolique, Op. 26
LA Phil/Wallenstein; Heifetz, v.
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29, Polish, V (+ IV excerpt)
Brilliant Cl 99792
7:50 + 2:17
Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a (excerpts)