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Sounds of the City of Lights

Paris, the City of Lights, is illuminated by many musical stars. No time was this more true than in the period between Berloiz's birth and Debussy's death. In this edition of Exploring Music, Bill McGlaughlin discovers what made luminaries such as Bizet, Gounod and Alkan shine.

Program 1

We begin with a scherzo so diabolical that only the composer could play it, and then move to more pensive music with works from Franck.

Alkan: Scherzo Diabolico, Op. 39 No. 3
Ringeissen, p.
Naxos 8.555495

Franck: Symphony in d minor, II & III
NY Phil/Masur
Apex 741372

Alkan: Saltarelle in e minor (excerpt)

Ringeissen, p.
Challenge 72154

Program 2

We discover what squaring the hexagon means, and dip our toes into Faust and the culture of the Paris conservatory in the early 19th century. 

Gounod: Petite Symphonie for Winds, I
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra/Hogwood
Decca 430231

Lalo: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in d minor, I
Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin/Chailly; Harrell, vc.
Lon 414387

Program 3

In this episode we feature the fluid, beautiful music of Faure, with special emphasis on his Requiem. 

Fauré: Pelléas Et Mélisande Suite, Op. 80, I-III
Montreal Symphony/Dutoit
Decca 421440

Fauré: Requiem, Op. 48, IV-VII
Montreal Symphony Orchestra/Dutoit; Te Kanawa, s.;
Milnes, bar.
Decca 421440

Fauré, trans. Ronchini: Serenade Toscane
Shaham, p.; Eguchi, p.
Vanguard 1239

Program 4

Join Bill as he uncovers some of Bizet's hidden treasures, as well as old favorites.

Bizet: L’Arlésienne Suite (excerpts)
DG 874602

Bizet: Carmen Suite #1 & #2 (excerpts)
NY Phil/Bernstein
Sony 63081

Program 5

   We finish the week with Saint-Saëns, whose excotic orchestral textures transport the listener to far-away lands. 

Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 in b minor, Op. 61, II
Orchestre de Paris/Barenboim; Perlman, v.
DG 445549

Saint-Saëns: “Mon Coeur S’Ouvre A Ta Voix” fr. Samson Et Dalila
Bastille Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Chung; Domingo, ten.; Meier, s.
EMI 54470


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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