- 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).
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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 I American 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 Oratorio Bach's Not-So-Minor B-Minor MassBallad of East and West Baltic MusicBarber, SamuelBartok, BelaBeethoven and that Danged MetronomeBeethoven and the PianoBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IBeethoven at Parnassus, Part IIBeethoven Quartets (FREE)Berlioz, HectorBernstein, LeonardBill's Keepers Boulanger, NadiaBrahms, Johannes, Part IBrahms, Johannes, Part II Britten, Benjamin Bruckner, Anton CCall for ScoresCello Concertos Child's PlayChopin, FredericClash of the Titans Clowning AroundCopland, Aaron Corigliano, JohnCzech out those Bohemians DDebussy, Claude Demons, Spooks and Other Things That Go Bump in the NightDirector's ChoiceDistant Neighbors Don't Shoot the Piano PlayerDvořák, AntoninDvorak, Tchaikovsky & Borodin String Quartets EElgar, Edward (FREE)Emotion and Meaning in MusicEnescu, GeorgesEspanaFFamilies of Instruments Family Matters: All in the FamilyFauré, GabrielFit for a KingFour Seasons (FREE)From 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 InfluencesGreen and Pleasant Land Grieg and SibeliusHHandel, George FridericHaydn and Mozart QuartetsHaydn SymphoniesHidden Gold, Part IHidden Gold, Part IIHindemith, PaulHHit or MythHoliday CelebrationHomageII Didn't Know About YouI Hear a Rhapsody I Hear America Singing I Lost it at the MoviesIn a Family WayIncidentally SpeakingIntimate VoicesInvitation to the Dance, Part IInvitation to the Dance, Part II Invitation to the Dance, Part IIIIt Takes Two to TangoIt Was a Lover and His Lass Italian SouvenirsJJanacek, LeosKKeyboard SmorgasbordLLatin CarnivalLes SixLife Among the Dead: Requiem MassesListener's Choice, Part IIListener's Choice, Part III Liszt, Franz Little Night Music Little Traveling Music, Please MMaestro, Part IMaestro, Part IIMagnificent MagyarsMahler, Gustav, Part IMahler, Gustav, Part IIMaiden Voyages Mendelssohn, FelixMendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms String QuartetsMerrie EnglandMozart at his Zenith Mozart Piano ConcertosMozart's Birthday BashMozart: Bright Lights, Big CityMusic for the MassesMusic from the Magic Box Music in 19th Century Paris: Waterloo to Bismarck Music in the Time of WarMusic of ScandinaviaMusical CryptogramsMusical LandscapesNNationalismNew Releases, Part INew Releases, Part IINew Releases, Part III, week 1 of 2New Releases, Part III, week 2 of 2 New Wine in Old Bottles Nielsen, Carl Ninth SymphoniesNobody Ever Builds a Statue to a CriticOOrpheus in the New World Outward BoundPPastoral Symphonies (FREE)Piano ConcertosPolandPortraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part I Portraits in Black, Brown, & Beige, Part II Ports of Call, Part I Ports of Call, Part II Poulenc, FrancisProkofiev, SergeiProud Tower, Part IProud Tower, Part IIRRachmaninoff, SergeiRRavel, Maurice Respighi, OttorinoRimsky-Korsakov and His PupilsRoaring 20's Russian Five: The Mighty Handful SSchool DaysSchubert String QuartetsSchubertiade, Part ISchubertiade, Part IISchuman, WilliamSchumann, Robert Shakespeare Shostakovich, Dmitri, Part I Shostakovich, Dmitri, Part IISlipped Through the Cracks Sounds of the City of Lights SoundtracksSpanish SchoolSpring is Here St-Saëns, Camille St. Matthew PassionStrauss, RichardStravinsky, Igor (FREE)String Quartets from Fibich to SibeliusStrings Plus OneSweet Home Chicago Symphony, Part 01Symphony, Part 02Symphony, Part 03Symphony, Part 04Symphony, Part 05Symphony, Part 06 (French)Symphony, Part 07 (Russian)Symphony, Part 08Symphony, Part 09Symphony, Part 10TTchaikovsky, Peter, Part ITchaikovsky, Peter, Part IIThe Big Five, Part I: Chicago Symphony Orchestra The Big Five, Part I: New York PhilharmonicThe Big Five, Part II: New York PhilharmonicThe Gathering Storm: Music from the Great Depression to WWIIThrough the Mail SlotTo the Finland Station, Part ITo the Finland Station, Part IITone Poems Too Darn BigTriple PlayTudor MusicTwo Very Different Worlds Delius and HolstUUnder the Hood, Part IUnder the Hood, Part II Unfinished SymphoniesVVariationsVaughan Williams, RalphVenice: The Glories of Verdi, Giuseppe, Part IVerdi, Giuseppe, Part IIVienna, Part IVienna, Part II ViolaViolin Concerto Virtuoso, The World ofVoices from the East WWagner's Ring CycleWagner, RichardWalton, WilliamWater MusicWhat Else Ya Got?Wind QuintetsWunderkinder, Part IWunderkinder, Part IIYYin and Yang: The Play of Opposites, Part 1Yin and Yang: The Play of Opposites, Part 2You and the Night and the Music
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Piano Concertos Purchase Now
The piano concerto is one of the most beloved genres of the concert hall. After all, it was the thundering virtuosity of some of the great composer/pianists that gave rise to music's first superstars! To name just a few of our stars we'll explore their world and the great music of Mozart and Rachmaninoff.
In the first part of the piano concerto series Bill goes back to the very roots of the concerto form and genre and its evolution from Vivaldi’s concerti grossi. Concerto grosso is the father of the concerto genre in which one or multiple soloists (concertino) are set up against the body of the orchestra (repieno). Bill walks the listener through the first few steps of the evolution of the concerto demonstrating with Vivaldi’s concerto grosso, Bach`s 5th Brandenburg concerto, Bach`s d minor piano concerto, and Mozart`s concerto in Bb major K456. We can hear two versions of the 5th Brandenburg concerto : one on harpsichord and one on piano. Bill explains the different ways these two instruments express themselves in baroque music.
Rachmaninov: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2, I (excerpt)
Concertgebouw/Haitink; Ashkenazy, p.
Vivaldi: Concerto No. 1 fr. L’Estro Armonico, R. 549, III (excerpt)
Vivaldi: Concerto No. 11 fr. L’Estro Armonico, R. 565, I (excerpt)
J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, BWV 1050, I
J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, I (excerpt)
Elysium String Quartet; Mann, fl.; Feeney, db.; Foss, p.
J.S. Concerto for Harpsichord in d minor, BWV 1052
Bach: Foss, p.
Mozart: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 18, K. 456, III
Academy of Ancient Music/Hogwood; Levin, fp.
J.S. Bach: Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano in f minor, BWV 1056, II
Elysium String Quartet; Foss, p.
Beethoven: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 1, I (excerpt)
Cleveland Orch/Szell; Fleisher, p.
Beethoven: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 4 in G Major, Op. 73, I
Cleveland Orch/Szell; Fleisher, p.
Mendelssohn: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 1 in g minor, I
Academy of St. Martinin-theFields/Marriner; Perahia, p.
Liszt: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 1 in E flat Major, I
New York Phil/Bernstein; Watts, p.
Chopin: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 2 in f minor, I & II
RCA Symphony of the Air/Wallenstein; Rubinstein
Yesterday`s broadcast introduced us to piano concertos written by composers who were also great pianists. The early 19th century marked the birth of the concept of the "touring virtuoso", which Paganini and Liszt are great examples for. There became more focus on virtuosity and technique at that time.
Today Bill talks about only two composers: Schumann and Brahms. Their goal was not to impress the listener with technical difficulty, but to express themselves as deeply as possible and touch the listener on the deepest level.
Schumann`s piano concerto in A minor was premiered by his wife and love, Clara, who was his inspiration for this concerto and many of his other compositions as well. Bill explains the secret code of the piece; Clara’s name is hidden in the music. This concerto is a love letter to her.
The first piece we hear from Brahms is the 2nd movement from his first piano concerto. He wrote this after Schumann’s suicide attempt, as a requiem. Brahms, in his attempt to write symphonies ended up with a lot of large, colorful orchestral music. These ”attempts” ended up in his large symphonic works. In today’s broadcast we can hear an anecdote about Glenn Gould playing Brahms’ first concerto, and experts from Brahms’ 1. and 2. concertos.
Schumann: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in a minor, Op. 54, I
Philadelphia Orch/Ormandy; Serkin, p.
:56, :33, 14:51
Brahms: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1, Op. 15, II
CSO/Reiner; Rubinstein, p.
Brahms: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1, I (excerpt)
Berlin Phil/ Rattle; Zimerman, p
for Piano and Orchestra No. 1, I (excerpt)
New York Phil/ Bernstein; Gould, p.
Brahms: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in Bb Major, Op. 83, I
New York Phil/Bernstein; Watts, p.
The legacy of classical music comes from Germany and Austria. (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, etc.) Today Bill introduces 3 non-German nationalist composers: Dvorák, Grieg and Tchaikovsky. All three had some kind of relationship with Germany.
First we will hear a movement from a piano concerto by Dvorák, a Bohemian composer supported and helped by Brahms. The recording of Dvorák’s very Czech sounding G minor concerto also features a Czech pianist: Firkusny. Bill tells his story.
Grieg, a great Norwegian pianist and composer wrote his concerto in 1868, a few years before Dvorák wrote his. The recording is played by the also Norwegian Andsnes and Grieg’s hometown orchestra: the Bergen Philharmonic.
Tschaikovsky was never really accepted in Russia by all his contemporary nationalistic composers: Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimskij-Korsakov, etc. They claimed he was too ”European”, meaning he paid too much attention to the Austrian tradition, writing symphonies and concertos, while they were writing tone poems on Russian themes.
Tchaikovsky asked Nyikolaj Rubinstein to revise the concerto from a technical pianistic perspective, since Tchaikovsky himself was not a pianist. Rubinstein told him it was unplayable and asked him to revise and change the whole concerto, which offended Tchaikovsky. He refused to change anything and intended on publishing the concerto the way it was. Bill reads the story from Tchaikovsky’s letter.
Dvorák: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in g minor, Op. 33, I
Czech Phil/ Neumann; Firkusny, p.
Grieg: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in a minor, Op. 16, finale
Bergen Phil/ Kitayenko; Andsnes, p.
Tchaikovsky: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in b-flat minor, Op. 23, I
RCA Symphony Orchestra/Kondrashin; Cliburn, p.
The last broadcast of this week will focus mainly on Rachmaninov (1873-1943), a Russian composer and excellent pianist. His music did not change very much after 1900 and was undervalued in his time, not taken seriously as classical music. He was 18 when he wrote his first piano concerto in 1891. We will hear Rachmaninov’s first concerto in his own performance, recorded many years later.
In 1897 his first symphony was performed and got terrible reviews. He fell into depression and didn’t write a note for years. He only found relief through hypnosys. Ten years later Rachmaninov wrote his beautiful second piano concerto in c minor.
Being a great and successfull conductor and pianist as well, Rachmaninov struggled finding time for composing after his second concerto, but he managed to write his second symphony.
In 1908 he got his first invitation to North-America to play and conduct. First he did not accept but after thinking it through he agreed and made his American debut at Smith College, then moved on to Philadelphia to conduct the first American perf of his second symphony. In 1909 Rachmaninov went to New York to conduct the New York Symphony , and he wrote a new piece (his third piano concerto) for the occasion.
The next concerto Bill talks about was written by the Italian Ferruccio Busoni. His piano concerto consists of 5 movements, and is written for piano, orchestra and male chorus, reminding the listener of Beethoven 9th symphony.
The last piano concerto of this week is Ravel’s concerto for piano and orchestra in G major.
Rachmaninov: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in f# minor, II
Philadelphia Orch/Ormandy; Rachmaninov, p.
Rachmaninov: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in c minor, I
Concertgebouw/Haitink; Ashkenazy, p.
Rachmaninov: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in d minor, III
St. Petersburg Phil/Temirkanov; Lang, p.
Busoni: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 39, IV
Cleveland Orch/Dohnányi; Ohlsson, p.
Ravel: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G Major (excerpt)
Montreal Symphony Orch/Dutoit; Thibaudet, p.
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