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It Takes Two to Tango

Bill starts by sharing tunes with two musical lines, where one line goes up while the other goes down to create a counter melody, to complex sonatas like Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata for violin and piano.  EM will feature remarkable performances of musicians working in tandem playing Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. We’ll also savor the great love duets of Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner. Oh, and, don’t miss the cat duets of Rossini and Ravel!

Program 1

A duo doesn't always have two people. In J.S Bach’s  Inventions Nos. 8 & 6  left and right hand of the piano hold contrapuntal conversations.  Then, listen to how seamlessly No 6 is arranged for violin and cello. A slower tempo, and the interpretation fills with yearning. Our next duo is an unlikely one, marimba and banjo playing Invention No. 13. Surprisingly, the banjo has all the elegance of an acoustic guitar, and the marimba brings an unexpected warmth.

In Telemann's Sonata No. 1 fr. 6 Canonic Sonatas, flute and oboe flirt with unison and harmony. Much like the tango, this duo is all about the tension of coming together and coming apart.  


It’s not long before we’re back to Bach. In his Concerto for Two Violins, harpsichord and strings paint a backdrop for the duet between the violins.

Much of Bach’s music was lost, but thankfully not his Concerto for Violin and Oboe. Hilary Hahn & Allan Vogel play on period instruments.

Our next selection is still from Germany, but a few centuries later with Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin & Cello II. A master of counterpoint, Brahms makes some unexpected choices.


J.S. Bach: Inventions Nos. 8 & 6
Peter Serkin, p.

J.S. Bach: Invention No. 6
Kennedy, v.; Harrel, vc.

J.S. Bach: Invention No. 13
B. Fleck, banjo; Glennie, marimba
Sony 89610

Telemann: Sonata No. 1 fr. 6 Canonic Sonatas
Schulz, fl.; Schellenberger, ob.
Den 8 1757 9614

J.S. Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in d minor
Academy ofAncientMusic/Manze; Manze & Podger, vlns.
HM 907155

J.S. Bach: Concerto for Violin & Oboe, I
L.A.Chamber/Kahane; Hahn, v.; Vogel, ob.
DG 474199

Brahms: Double Concerto for Violin & Cello, II & III
Cleveland/Szell; Oistrakh, v.; Rostropovich, vc.
EMI 66219


Program 2

Bill samples horn fifths on the keyboard, and describes Mozart's additions to the horn's aural vocabulary. Mozart continues to innovate with his use of the bassoon combined with the cello. In the year 1785, Mozart progresses in his opera career by continuing work on Figaro. Here is another playlist of unique duos. 

Mozart: Horn Duo No. 8, K. 487
Ab Koster, Knut Hasselmann hns.
Sony 46702

Mozart: Sonata for Bassoon & Cello, K. 292, II & III
Gary Stucka, vc; Bruce Grainger, bs.
Centaur 2244
4:34, 3:05

Mozart: Sonata for Violin & Piano, K. 481, II
Perlman, v.; Barenboim, p.
DG 431673

Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos, K. 365 (excerpt)
Marlboro Festival Orch/ Schneider; Rudolf and Peter Serkin, pnos.
Sony 46255

Mozart: Excerpts from: The Marriage of Fiagro, Cosi fan Tutti & Don Giovanni
Orchestra del Acadamia Nationale de Santa Cecilia/ Chung; Bartoli, s.; Terfel, bar.
Decca 458 928
10:35, 6:31, 3:08


Program 3

Join Bill as he explores the Sonata, a form which places the piano on equal footing as the instrument. Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss all feature, with a particular stand out in Brahm's first Violin Sonata that perfectly illustrates both the melencholy and majesty of rain with only violin and piano. 

Beethoven: Sonata No. 9 in A Major for Violin & Piano,“Kreutzer”I
Perlman, v.; Ashkenazy, p.
Lon 410554

Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 1, I
P. Frank, v.; P.Serkin, p.
Lon 2 89 455 643

Brahms: Sonata for Violoncello & Piano, Op. 99, I
Ma, vc.; Ax, p.
Sony 48191

Strauss: Duet Concertino
CSOMembers/Barenboim; Combs, cl.; McGill, bsn.
Teld 23913



Program 4

Duos develop and a cat fight breaks out on the opera stage to open. But then comes the love between two, which is a theme much pondered in the development of duos. Catch a fresh breath of air in Verdi's "Un di, felice" and "Parigi, o cara." Then give an ear to Shakespeare's mark on the love affair in the famous "Othello." But the panic picks up again with Ravel's Cat Duet.

Rossini: Cat Duet
Schwarzkopf & De Los Angeles, sopranos; Moore, p.
EMI 49238

Verdi: “Un di, felice” & “Parigi, o cara” fr. La TraviataLon 421308-2
National Phil/ Bonynge; Pavarotti & Sutherland, soloists
3:33, 4:55

Verdi: “Gianella notte densa” fr. Othello
Vienna Phil/ Solti; Cosutta & Price, soloists
Lon 421308-2

Verdi: Act II, Scene 1 duet fr. Don Carlos
Covent Garden/ Giulini; Domingo & Milnes
EMI 747701

Wagner: Die Walküre (excerpt)
Vienna Phil/Walter
EMI 61020

Puccini: “Chegelida manina” & “O suave fanciulla” fr. La Boheme
BPO/Karajan; Pavarotti & Freni, soloists
4:39, 4:11

Ravel: Cat Duet
LSO/ Previn; Huttenlocher & Finnie, soloists
EMI 47169


Program 5

From college exams to compositions, listen now to Debussy's modern sounding Sonata for Violoncello as the duo's voices exchange their concerns. Perhaps the sore tones relate to the losses of the first World War. Bill explores music that sounds out a dance, once again providing you with a breath of fresh air, or an ignorance of reality. Nostalgia and culture mix together. 

Debussy: Premiere Rapsodie
Shifrin, cl.; Watts, p.
Del 3167

Debussy: Sonata for Violoncello, I
Gary Hoffman, vc; David Golub, p
Del 3167

Ravel: Duo for Violin and Violoncello, I & II
Laredo, v.; Robinson, vc.
Arabesque 6736

Barber: Souvenirs (excerpts from)
Slatkin, Browning, Pnos.
RCA 60732
10:15, 2:10

Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364(excerpts from)
Vienna Phil/ Harnoncourt; Kremer, v.; Kashkashian, vla.
DG 453043



The Exploring Music streaming website is supported by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and the Richard P. and Susan Kiphart Family.  
You have opened up the world of Classical Music to me, where previously, it seemed too complicated.
Steffen Demeter
This is simply one of the very best radio programmes in the medium!...The study of the people, the times, and the events that inform the music we otherwise enjoy and even, heaven forbid, take for granted, brings the entire world of the music and the composer to life.
Walther Davies
There isn't a program you broadcast on Exploring Music" that isn't of interest. I find them all engaging. It is a combination of variety of subject, intellectual curiosity and your obvious enthusiasm which characterize your satisfying programs.
Michael Sanders
It’s a great way to re-engage myself with consciousness before heading off to work.
I Love this program! I am in 7th grade and I am the complete opposite of the other kids. I am 4th chair in the orchestra and I love to read. But most of all, I LOVE classical music!
Claudia Wertz
Your show has helped open my mind and heart to this world of music, and every show I hear confirms my place in music and gives me new ideas for where I'd like to go with it in the future….I grew up with classical music as a child and always held it in my heart, but I didn't have the confidence to be a good student (or a good violinist.)
Christine Anderson
Listening to you is almost interactive.You invite us in with so many well modulated dramatic and informative comments, enticing, enthusiastic interpretations, and coherent, beautiful presentations. It's a privilege to follow you into the musical space you create.
Sally Rosenbaum
I just love this program. It is soothing and comfortable at the end of the day. I find his comments interesting, but they aren't so dragged out that there is very little music. The balance of both is just right.
Jean Quay
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