- 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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Symphony, Part 07 (Russian) Purchase Now
This week's programs focus on Russian symphonies from the 19th century and Russian composers whose music is frequently overlooked.
We begin with Anton Rubinstein who was born in 1829. As a young boy, the family moved to Moscow where his father had opened a successful pencil factory. Rubinstein began to study piano while living in Moscow, and took his first lessons from his mother. Rubinstein wrote his first symphony, Ocean, at the age of 21. Bill nremarks that it doesn't sound distinctly Russian because there were no other Russian symphonies to model it after. Just one year later, he began work on his second symphony.
Anton Rubinstein: Symphony No. 1 in F major, Op. 40, I, II, IV
Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Kosice)/Stankovsky
:52, 2:43, 9:07
Rubinstein: Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 42, Ocean, I, IV, VI, VII
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Gunzenhauser
Marco Polo 8.220449
11:47, 24:31, 1:38
Rubenstein: Kamennoi-Ostrow Op. 10, No. 22
Josef Lhévinne, p
Masters of the roll Disc. 16: James Stewart Music (Amazon)
In 1860s Russia, a spirit of liberalism and patriotism swept the nation spurring an artistic renaissance. This was largely due to the 1855 death of Czar Nicholas I, a despot who had a throttling effect on the progress of the country.
One of these artists was Mily Balakirev, a composer who became known as the leader of The Mighty Handful. Balakirev wrote only two symphonies, one in his early 20s and one towards the end of his life. However, he was a huge contributor to a truly Russian style of composition in the 1860s.
One of Balakirev's pupils was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. His first symphony, heard in this program, was written between the years of 1864-1866.
Also during this period, The Mighty Handful discovered the tone poems of Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz. The group decided that they would like to write symphonies in the style of tone poems and thus Rimksy-Korsakov writes his second symphony, Antar, to have a definite story.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Symphony No. 1, Op. 1 in E Minor, I, III
Mily Balakirev: Symphony 1 in C, I (excerpt), II (excerpt), III
1:22, 1:07, 3:47, 6:44, :36
Rimsky-Korsakov: Symphony #2 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 9, Antar, I, IV, II (excerpt at end of program)
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Maazel
12:44, 8:20, 1:48
Alexander Borodin, another member of The Mighty Handful, was born of distinguished lineage but out of wedlock. However, his father provided so that he could have the best education available and Borodin was educated as a doctor and became a professor of chemistry. He wrote symphonies in his spare time.
Borodin began his first symphony in 1862 and it took him about five years to complete. He started his second symphony almost immediately after the first one was complete in 1869. It took him about the same length of time to complete it. It premiered in 1877.
In 1876 and 1877, Borodin was working on his third symphony but only completed two movements before his death in 1877. The last two movements were written after Borodin's death by the Russian composer Alexander Glazunov.
Alexander Borodin: Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor (excerpt)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Ozawa
Borodin: Symphony No. 1, I, IV
Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Davis
Borodin: Symphony #2 in B Minor
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Kubelik
Borodin (completed post. by Glazunov): Symphony No. 3, I
Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Davis
Alexander Glazunov (born 1865) was part of the second generation of Russian composers. He was very talented as a child and wrote his first symphony at the age of 16. It is called Slavyanskaya.
In 1906, he had already written eight symphonies. He had started on a ninth, but never completed it. Here is his Symphony No. 7 (Pastoral) written in 1902.
Reinhold Gliere, born ten years later in 1875, wrote a piece called Ilya Muromets. It is about a legendary Ukranian folk figure. The piece was written in 1904 and is a combination of symphony and tone poem. Most Westerners know Gliere's Russian Sailor's Dance from his ballet The Red Poppy.
The program closes with Symphony No. 2 by Sergei Lyapunov (born 1859). It was written in 1917.
Alexander Glazunov: Symphony No. 1 in E major, Op. 5, Slavyanskaya, I
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Serebrier
Glazunov: Symphony No. 7 in F Maj, Op. 77, Pastoral, II & III
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Serebrier
Reinhold Gliere: Russian Sailor’s Dance from The Red Poppy (excerpt)
Gliere: Symphony No. 3 in B minor, Op. 42, Ilya Muromets, I & III
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Downes
Sergei Lyapunov: Symphony No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 66
USSR Symphony Orchestra/Svetlanov
Melodiya 10 00173
Alexander Scriabin, born in 1872, was a kind of mystic and saw music in colors. He was also a follower of Friedrich Nietzche. His first symphony was written in 1901, and his Symphony No. 3 was written between 1902-1904. They are characterized by their long and complex nature.
Riccardo Muti, current conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is very devoted to conducting the music of Scriabin, something usually reserved for Russian conductors.