December 29, 2014 - January 2, 2015
Tchaikovsky, Part I – This week we’ll explore the world and music of the great Russian Romantic, including his symphonies, ballets and life at the Moscow Conservatory.
December 22 - 26, 2014
Holiday Celebration – The sound of sleigh bells means that it's winter holiday time, and music is full of representations of celebratory music. All around the world, winter holidays of a wide variety are celebrated, and their music is wonderful to listen to regardless of which one you celebrate.
December 15 - 19, 2014
Beethoven Quartets – An exploration of these rare bodies of work. We’ll take a tour through all 16 quartets, plus the Grosse Fuga.
December 8 - 12, 2014
Viola – We’ll celebrate some of the exquisite music written for the violin’s darker cousin, including music by Hindemith and Walton.
December 1 - 5, 2014
Incidentally Speaking – For as long as art forms such as theatre, ballet, and other entertainments have graced the stage, composers have been there to enhance the dramatic action through music. This week Bill explores some of the not-so-incidental music that has resulted.
November 24 - 28, 2014
Francis Poulenc – A master of wit and elegance, equal parts boulevardier and enfant terrible, Francis Poulenc's melodic gifts and prolific output made him one of the 20th century’s most enduring composers.
November 17 - 21, 2014
Nobody Ever Builds a Statue to a Critic – An exploration of composers’ critiques, evaluations, and responses to their contemporaries.
November 10 - 14, 2014
Poland – A five-part history of music in Poland.
November 3 - 7, 2014
Don't Shoot the Piano Player – We'll hear some of the most beloved works of chamber music, first enjoyed through intimate gatherings around the piano. Featured composers include Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorák and Brahms.
October 27 - 31, 2014
The New York Philharmonic: The Big Five, Part II – We continue to look at the unique history of the New York Philharmonic. Just think about the audiences who were there before you: from Walt Whitman's “silent sea of faces and the unbared heads” listening to the funeral march from Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony as Abraham Lincoln laid in state at City Hall, to the orchestra’s televised tribute to JKF led by Leonard Bernstein, and later still, the premiere of the John Adams On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned by the Philharmonic to remember the victims of September 11, 2001. In celebration and in mourning, the New York Philharmonic has been there.
October 20 - 24, 2014
The New York Philharmonic: The Big Five, Part I – Bill begins a two-week series on our oldest orchestra, the New York Philharmonic. Their doors opened December 7, 1842 and Bill plays several pieces the Philharmonic included in its opening season— the overture to Weber’s Oberon and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. This orchestra was conducted and cultivated by Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler, and their influence along with many other musicians is still heard in every note the orchestra plays. Many of the works they premiered have become standard orchestral literature. Bill interviews musicians, explores the orchestra’s archives, and features some of its most memorable performances.
October 13 - 17, 2014
From This Mighty River: The Music of the Children of J.S. Bach – Music flowed from the Bach family in a seemingly unending torrent for generations, and the three sons of Johann Sebastian were no exception. This week we'll listen to the music of Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Phillip Emanuel and Johann Christian Bach as they continued their father's legacy into the Classical era.
October 6 - 10, 2014
España – A week of music from Spain and Spanish composers.
September 29 - October 3, 2014
Life Among the Dead – This week we’ll venture into hallowed territory with some of the most profound music in the literature, including requiems by Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz, Fauré, Dvorak and Duruflé.
September 22 - 26, 2014
String Quartet Composers From Fibich to Sibelius – Bill continues his in-depth look at the string quartet’s history and development this week with a focus on Zdeněk Fibich, Jean Sibelius, and their contemporaries.
September 15 - 19, 2014
Autumn Leaves – Works inspired by sights, sounds and smells of the world at summer's end, including selections by Vivaldi, Piazzola, Delius and Schubert.
September 8 - 12, 2014
Schubert String Quartets – Bill continues his in-depth look at the string quartet's history and development this week with a focus on Franz Schubert.
September 1 - 5, 2014
William Walton –Inspired by a composer that was in the vanguard of British music in the 20th century, Benjamin Britten once wrote that hearing William Walton's music was a "great turning point in his musical life". We'll trace the arc of Walton's life and his associations with the greatest artists of his time, including Heifetz, Hindemith, Olivier, and Beecham.
August 25 - 29, 2014
Venic: The Glories of – Exploring Music focuses on sounds of the city, water, and love in Venice. Bill opens this week with, “Why Venice?”, the magical city that inspired music of the late Renaissance, Baroque, and the beginning of Italian Opera. Monteverdi, Palestrina, Vivaldi, Palestrina and Verdi will be featured.
August 18 - 22, 2014
Homage – How would you like to be the subject of a composition by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky or Mozart? In many cases, the fame of the music has outlasted that of its honoree, but we'll explore some of these heartfelt gestures and the composers who made them. Works include Handel's Water Music and Pictures at an Exhibition.
August 11 - 15, 2014
A Green and Pleasant Land – With William Blake’s famous words as a stepping-off point, we’re traversing the pastoral musical landscapes of the British Isles.
August 4 - 8, 2014
Frédéric Chopin – A five-part biography to celebrate the 200th birthday of Chopin, whose invention and innovation had an indelible effect on the world of Romantic music and the piano.
July 28 - August 1, 2014
Emotion and Meaning in Music – Is music merely a collection of ordered pitches and vibrations in the air, or is there inherent and universal meaning contained within? This week Bill delves into one of the most mysterious and fundamental qualities of music- its ability to convey emotion to the listener.
July 21 - 25, 2014
Maiden Voyages – A composer’s first symphony can bring on the hardest challenges and greatest rewards. This week, we take a look at three composers’ maiden voyages out into deep, musical oceans. Bill explores the trials and tribulations that Haydn, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn experienced while composing their first symphonic works.
July 14 - 18, 2014
Boulanger – “Every town in the United States had a five-and-dime and a Boulanger student," Virgil Thomson once said, and he wasn't far off. Nadia Boulanger taught and influenced an entire generation of musicians, from Aaron Copland and Ástor Piazzolla to Philip Glass and Quincy Jones, and this week we'll hear some of her compositions and performances alongside those of her prolific students.
July 7 - 11, 2014
Four Seasons – From the boundless majesty of the summer sun in Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten to the frosty snow and shivering winds of Vivaldi's Winter, this week is dedicated to music inspired by the changing seasons.
June 30 - July 4, 2014
American Masters, Part IV – From the east coast to the west, American composers developed a singular identity in the 20th century that continues to energize and influence classical music. In this latest in a multi-part series, we’ll take a listen to more of these musical trailblazers in the United States.
June 23 - 27, 2014
Artists in Exile, Part II – Bill continues to reflect on artists in exile, beginning with music from Paul Hindemith. In his escape from Nazi Germany, Hindemith traveled to Turkey, England, and Switzerland before coming to America. We will listen to his Symphony for Concert Band and When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. Bill then considers the plight of composers who faced deportation from America because of their political views. We finish this two-week series with composers from Asia and Latin America. Glorious music from Chen Yi and Gabriela Lena Frank, as well as Tan Dun’s title song for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
June 16 - 20, 2014
Artists in Exile, Part I – Our two-week series titled Artists in Exile pays homage to Joseph Horowitz’s book that focuses on "how refugees from 20th-century war and revolution transformed the American arts.” In this program, you will hear stories of appreciation for a new country, but also of terrible loneliness that comes from being forced from one's home by political strife. Bill begins this week with a vacationing artist, Antonín Dvořák, before playing music from Serge Prokofiev, who fled the Soviet Union. This week will end with Hungarian Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, written in America.
June 9 - 13, 2014
Richard Strauss – Strauss - whose musical life spanned nine decades, two world wars and the Third Reich – was one of Germany’s most gifted and controversial figures. We’ll explore his tone poems, operas, and life both public and private in this five-part biography.
June 2 - 6, 2014
What Else Ya Got? – Have you ever wondered about composers who succeeded in writing one smashing piece, but were otherwise forgotten? This week, we’ll get to know some of these immortals for their other compositions, including Dukas, Ponchielli and Glière.
May 26 - 30, 2014
Symphonies, Part X – Even after being stretched to its limits, the symphony remained the pinnacle of achievement for many 20th century composers. This week, Bill McGlaughlin continues his multi-part exploration of this vibrant, exciting musical form
May 19 - 23, 2014
Italian Souvenirs – An exploration of music by composers who were inspired by trips to Italy, including Berlioz, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn.
May 12 - 16, 2014
Proud Tower, Part II – Part 2 of our look at the 25 years leading up to WWI.
May 5 - 9, 2014
Proud Tower, Part I – On this edition of Exploring Music, we look at the "banquet years" leading up to the First World War.
April 28 - May 2, 2014
Musical Cryptograms – This week we'll discover and decipher codes, messages and meanings that have been hidden within pieces of classical music over the centuries.
April 21 - 25, 2014
Shakespeare – We’ll sample from the wealth of music inspired by the Bard’s verse, including a suite from Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and excerpts from William Walton’s film score to the film “Henry the V”. Bill also finds time to fit in a few different musical interpretations from the timeless legend of Romeo and Juliet.
April 14 - 18, 2014
St. Matthew Passion – Composed in 1727, it’s one of two surviving settings of the last days of Jesus Christ composed by J.S. Bach. We’ll explore the history of this masterpiece and sample different recordings.
April 7 - 11, 2014
Portraits in Black, Brown and Beige, Part II – Bill's exploration of the music of African-American composers continues this week. We will hear Bill conduct a work by Anthony Davis, plus music composed by Bill's friend Jeffrey Mumford. Our two-week celebration ends with a poem from Langston Hughes as well as music from Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Michael Jackson.
March 31 - April 4, 2014
Portraits in Black, Brown and Beige, Part I – This two-week celebration, named in honor of Duke Ellington's jazz symphony, will explore 400 years of African-American composers and performers. Starting with Call and Response, and Shouts, from the first Africans to arrive on this continent, Bill will introduce us to art songs, symphonies, and traditional spirituals that have become a large part our American musical identity.
March 24 - 28, 2014
A Call for Scores – Music suggested by our colleagues at radio stations around the world.
March 17 - 21, 2014
Bach Sleeps in on Sundays – Bach spent most of his life in serve to the Lutheran Church and his God, but he did write secular music too. Here we focus on a five year period of Bach’s life, the time in which he worked for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Kothen. The cello suites, the violin sonatas and partitas, and the Brandenberg concerti were all composed by Bach, in this five year period.
March 10 - 14, 2014
Latin Carnival – From Padilla and Ponce to Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla, we're exploring music by Latin-American composers.
March 3 - 7, 2014
You and the Night and the Music – Novelists who have built their plots around great music. Join us as we step inside the minds of authors groping for the words to describe the feelings and emotions of the music. We begin with an inspiring mandolin, and the letters of T.S. Eliot. In Thursday’s program Bill tells the story of a violin maker and part-time sleuth with a nostalgic longing for Bach. Dvorák falls in love and an author reminisces about his father’s final journey with Beethoven. We end our travels through literature and music with a dream of the devil and E.M. Forster’s vision of Beethoven from Howard’s End.
February 24 - 28, 2014
Exploring Two Very Different Worlds – Music of Frederick Delius (1862-1934) and Gustav Holst (1874-1934).
February 17 - 21, 2014
Shostakovich, Part II – This week we conclude our two-part series on the life and times of Dimitri Shostakovich.
February 10 - 14, 2014
Shostakovich, Part I – Musicologist David Fanning concludes in Grove's Dictionary that, Shostakovich "forged a musical language of colossal emotional power". This week will be the first half of a ten-part series exploring the life and times of this fascinating composer.
February 3 - 7, 2014
Magnificent Magyars – Surveying 500 years of music in Hungary. This week we’ll delve into the rich musical history of Hungary, starting with ancient sacred music and working our way through Liszt, Kodaly, Bartók and Hungarian gypsy music.
Beethoven at Parnassus, Part II – In the second part of a two-week series, we'll take an in-depth look at this music of a master reaching the pinnacle of his abilities. Bill starts with Missa Solemnis and Consecration of the House and ends in the rarified atmosphere of Mt. Parnassus as we take in Opus 135 performed by the Guarneri Quartet. Robert Schumann said, “[Beethoven’s quartets] stand...on the extreme boundary of all that has hitherto been attained by human art and imagination.” In 1977 his quartets were added to the Time Capsule of Humanity and sent into space in Voyager 1.
Beethoven at Parnassus, Part I – This is a festival of the late music of Beethoven, music from the last ten years of his life. Parnassus refers to the great mountain in Greece that towers over Delphi and is the home of the Muses. In these years from 1816 to 1826, Beethoven soared to almost mythological heights with some of his greatest works—the Ninth Symphony, last four piano sonatas, Missa Solemnis, and his final string quartets. All of these compositions still sit at the top of Mt. Parnassus.
Merrie England – Ready your passport! We’re travelling to Merrie Old England. Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Dowland, all wrote music based on the folk tunes in the country pubs, the pageantry of Royal Albert Hall and Covent Garden, and the images of their beautiful countryside. Come open your ears and walk with us through the pathways of England. Greensleeves, Turtle Doves, and Janet Baker. Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!
Johannes Brahms, Part II – This is the second of a two-week exploration of the music and life of the great German master, including his formative years as a pianist, meeting the Schumanns, the symphonies, his late works for clarinet and more.
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Thanks to Oxford Music Online, the home of Grove® Music Online and the access point for other Oxford online music reference subscriptions.