March 20 - 24, 2017
Virtuoso, The World of – What distinguishes a virtuoso from a merely great musician? This week we feature these musicians who had it all. We start in the 16th century with the development of violin and keyboard instruments that brought the rise of the virtuoso. Composers created music for artists who claimed these instruments as their own. Generations of musicians forever challenged and one-upped those who led the way, playing concertos to delight us. Join Bill as he follows his ear through the centuries from Sephardic composer Thomas Lupo, played by violinist Andrew Manze, through Niccolò Paganini performed by Michael Rabin, to the present day with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra playing The Octet for Wind Instruments by Igor Stravinsky.
March 13 - 17, 2017
Music for the Masses – No, we're not talking about the proletariat--this is music set to the great Latin Masses, which expand over 800 years from the earliest of composers to the most modern.
March 6 - 10, 2017
Russian Five: The Mighty Handful – Five prominent composers; Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Cui, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov all worked to help form the Russian National School of Composers, which later was named The New Russian School. These five composers, led by Mily Balakirev, all lived in Saint Petersburg and collaborated from 1856 to 1870. Throughout these programs Bill will research each of these composers and demonstrate some of their most prominent works.
February 27 - March 3, 2017
Family Matters: All in the Family – Musicians, are like that proverbial apple, they too do not fall far from the tree. With musicians marry musicians their children are bound to be musical. This week features composers and their kin, including the Bachs, Scarlattis, Schumanns and others.
February 20 - 24, 2017
Soundtracks – Since the beginning of cinematography, classical music has been there to enhance the narrative and drama of the silver screen. For the next five days we will listen to the soundtracks composed for the films E.T., Zorba the Greek, and Robin Hood, plus many more great musical scores.
February 13 - 17, 2017
Yin and Yang, the Play of Opposites, Part 2 – This week we continue to hold on to the dragon’s tail listening to the pull of musical opposites. Starting with Samuel Barber and Francisco Tárrega, only Bill knows where this week's musical yin and yang will end! Heaven, Earth, or the abyss!
February 6 - 10, 2017
Yin and Yang, the Play of Opposites, Part 1 – The idea for this two-week exploration came from a listener who suggested we explore music of "great calm", music which seems to gently pick us up and float us away from this earth. Bill liked the idea very much and immediately started sketching a week of the Romantics, from Berlioz to Mahler. But as he went along, he started to feel a tug in the opposite direction — what about music that picks up and drives us like a mad coachmen, hurtling us toward conclusion or chaos, music of sound and fury and joy and lots of noise? And so, here we are: The Play of Opposites. Think of Frost's Fire or Ice, or Eliot's Bang or Whimper. Opposites, it seems, may contain the whole.
January 30 - February 3, 2017
Grieg and Sibelius – We’ll explore the lives and music of the two Scandinavian greats: Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius. Music spanning almost one hundred years includes a number of chamber works, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, the Norwegian Dances and several Sibelius symphonies.
January 23 - 27, 2017
Mozart Piano Concertos – This week we will explore Mozart’s piano concerti and all of the relationships that influenced him, especially his one with Johann Christian Bach. While exploring various sounds, the teenage Mozart was so heavily inspired by J.C. Bach's writing that he made it his own. Bach and Mozart bonded over music, as well as over tricky keyboard games.
January 16 - 20, 2017
Aaron Copland – For some, Aaron Copland conjures images of covered wagons and endless frontiers. For others, he evokes Olympic athletes, astronauts and fallen heroes. From waves of grain to stars and stripes, Aaron Copland defined the soundtrack to everything American. This week, we’ll trace his trek from the heart of Brooklyn to the heart of a nation. Featured works include Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man and Billy the Kid.
January 9 - 13, 2017
Haydn Symphonies – Dear old Papa Haydn, as he was known in 18th century Vienna, was a fatherly figure to the finest musicians of his day. He is also the father of the symphonic form. This week we’ll sample some of his 104 symphonies, following their development from modest orchestral pieces to expressions of wit, humor, and drama.
January 2 - 6, 2017
Listeners’ Choice III – Your emails arrive in our comment box with wonderful musical requests! This week Bill features your email comments with music that you asked to hear. This includes a festival overture from a little-known Australian composer, fun transcriptions and original works for trombone, plus more. Monday never sounded better!
The Exploring Music streaming website is made possible by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and Susan & Richard Kiphart.
Thanks to Oxford Music Online, the home of Grove® Music Online and the access point for other Oxford online music reference subscriptions.