- Program List
Below are many of the more than 200 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). For complete access to all of the shows, click here to become a subscriber. To sort through the shows by composers Click Here. 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 II Autumn Leaves Autumnal Masterpieces BBach Sleeps in on SundaysBach 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 Piano Sonatas (FREE)Beethoven Quartets Berlioz, HectorBernstein, LeonardBill's Keepers Boulanger, NadiaBrahms, Johannes, Part IBrahms, Johannes, Part II Britten, Benjamin Bruckner, Anton CCall for ScoresCarnegie Hall, Part 1 (FREE)Carnegie Hall, Part 2 (FREE)Cello 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, EdwardEmotion and Meaning in MusicEnescu, GeorgesEspanaFFamilies of Instruments Family Matters: All in the FamilyFauré, GabrielFit for a KingFour SeasonsFranck, CésarFrom 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 IIHHindemith, PaulHit or MythHoliday CelebrationHomageHow Strange the Change from Major to Minor, Part IHow Strange the Change from Major to Minor, Part IIII Didn't Know About YouI Hear a Rhapsody I Hear America Singing I Lost it at the MoviesIn a Family WayIncidentally SpeakingIntimate Conversations: Conversations with Samuel Rhodes and David FinckelInvitation 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 SouvenirsJJanáček, LeošKKeyboard SmorgasbordLLatin CarnivalLes Cinq PlusLes SixLife Among the Dead: Requiem MassesListener's Choice, Part IIListener's Choice, Part III Liszt, FranzLittle Night Music Little Traveling Music, Please London, The Music of, Part 1London, The Music of, Part 2MMaestro, Part IMaestro, Part IIMagnificent MagyarsMahler, Gustav, Part IMahler, Gustav, Part IIMaiden Voyages Mendelssohn, FelixMendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms String QuartetsMerrie EnglandMozart at his ZenithMozart 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 SymphoniesPiano ConcertosPolandPorts of Call, Part I Ports of Call, Part II Poulenc, FrancisProkofiev, SergeiProud Tower, Part I (FREE)Proud Tower, Part IIRRachmaninoff, SergeiRavel, 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, IgorString 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 10Symphony, Part 11TTchaikovsky, Peter, Part I (FREE)Tchaikovsky, Peter, Part II (FREE)The Big Five I: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Part IThe Big Five II: New York Philharmonic, Part IThe Big Five II: New York Philharmonic, Part IIThe 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 Symphonies VVariationsVaughan Williams, RalphVenice: The Glories ofVerdi, 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
- Listen to the Show
- About Exploring Music
Please click here to find out more.
Mozart at his Zenith Purchase Now
Beginning in 1786 at the first hearing of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro, we’ll explore the stream of masterpieces, including operas, symphonies, piano concertos, and chamber works that Mozart wrote in the last five years of his life. He was in his early thirties and navigating the political life of a court composer in Vienna while partying with the passion of the young man that he was, and all the while producing one masterpiece after another. On November 20, 1791, Mozart took to his bed, and still he brought in one of his protégés to write notes and phrases down. On December 5 Mozart died, with his requiem mass unfinished. From these years alone, Mozart left a body of work that expresses a universe of imagination and emotions.
We begin on May 1786 at the first hearing of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro. The work was originally a play by Pierre Beaumarchais from France, however, the play was banned and Beumanchais was thrown in jail. Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte turned the work into an opera after Da Ponte received approval from Emperor Joseph II.
In June of 1786, Mozart wrote the Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 4 in E flat Major for his friend Joseph Leutgeb. He wrote four concertos for Leutgeb.
The program concludes with the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 25 in C Major. This piece was conpleted on December 4, 1786.
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492 (excerpts)
London Phil/Solti; Ramey, bs.; Popp, s.; Allen, bar.; Te Kanawa, s.
Mozart: Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 4 in Eb Major, K. 495, II & III
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Marriner; Tuckwell, hn.
Mozart: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 25 in C Major, K. 503, I
Cleveland Orch/Szell; Fleisher, p.
On December 6, 1786, Mozart wrote that he began work on a symphony for Prague. Starting in January of 1787, he spent four weeks there, and supervised a performance of the Marriage of Figaro while he was there.
After that, he returned to Vienna and his wife and family. One of his most popular pieces, Eine Kliene Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) was written there in 1787. It is heard here in its original setting for string quartet and double bass.
In October of 1787, Mozart returned to Prague with his opera Don Giovanni. The opera is difficult to categorize because of how funny and also how tragic it is.
Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D Major, Prague, K. 504, I
Mozart: Serenade No. 13 in G major, K. 525, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, II & IV
Guarneri Quartet, Levine, db.
Mozart: Don Giovanni, K. 527 (excerpts)
London Phil/Solti; Pertusi, bs.; Terfel, bs. bar.; Groop, ms.; Fleming, s.; Lippert, ten.; Scaltriti, bar.
5:25, 1:26, 2:53, 3:35, 7:41
Though Mozart didn't write any operas in 1788, this was largely due to politics and the Viennese ecomomy. Austrian Emperor Joseph II made the mistake of taking on the Ottoman Empire, and the Viennese economy went into a tailspin causing all the opera houses to close. This forced Mozart to focus on other kinds of composition.
Mozart in fact wrote three public pieces without a commission in 1788, including his Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major. This piece was completed on June 26. Also completed on the very same day is his Adagio and Fugue in c minor for Strings.
Next, Mozart improves his fugue writing and includes one in his Symphony No. 41 in C major, better known as Jupiter.
The final piece of the program, Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello in E-flat major is dedicated to Michael Puchberg. Though Puchberg was Mozart's friend and fellow mason, he was also his financier. Mozart was never able to repay his loans to Puchberg, though he did dedicate several pieces to him.
Mozart: Adagio in b minor, K. 540
Mozart: Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543, I
Mozart: Adagio and Fugue in c minor for Strings, K. 546 (excerpt)
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K. 550, I
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551, Jupiter, IV
Mozart: Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello in E flat major, K 563, VI
Kremer, v.; Kashkashian, vla.; Ma, vc.
Despite his very busy schedule, Mozart always found time for his friends. One of his closest friends was clarinetist Anton Stadler, and Mozart wrote a lot of music for him. Performed here is the first movement of the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A Major. It was written in 1789.
Next, we hear several excerpts from Cosi fan Tutti which translates roughly to "that's what they all do." This opera premiered and was conducted by Mozart on his 34th birthday on January 26, 1790. Lorenzo Da Ponte was again the librettist, but Cosi fan Tutti is the last time he worked with Mozart on an opera. Mozart did go on to compose two more.
Jumping ahead one year to January 1791, the program ends with Mozart's final piano concerto, Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major.
Mozart: Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A Major, K. 581, I
BSO Chamber Players; Wright, cl.
Mozart: Cosi fan Tutti (excerpts)
Philharmonia Orch/Böhm; soloists
4:45, 3:05, 18:34
Mozart: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 27 in B-flat Major, K. 595, I
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Marriner; Brendel, p.
Mozart was incredibly prolific during the last year of his life, 1791. He was working on two operas, The Magic Flute and The Clemency of Titus. Additionally, he was composing instrumental pieces and was given a downpayment to write a requiem mass from a mysterious stranger who came to his house.
On November 20, 1791, Mozart took to bed and never recovered. There is still debate about what caused his untimely death, but the most likely answer is rumatic fever. Mozart was still in the process of writing the requiem mass, and brought in one of his proteges so that he could dictate the music to him. On Decmeber 5, Mozart passed away, leaving the piece unfinished. What is played in today's show is the material that Mozart was likely to have written himself (not later completed by students).
Mozart: Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello No. 6 in E flat major, K. 614, I
Guarneri Quartet; Kashkashian, vla.
Mozart: Ave verum corpus in D major, K. 618
Vienna Volksoper Chamber Orchestra/Harrer; Vienna Boys Choir
Mozart: “Der Vogelfanger bin ich ja” fr. Magic Flute
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Marriner; Bär, bar.
Mozart: Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K 622, II
Berlin Phil/Abbado; Meyer, cl.
Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K. 626 (excerpts)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Shaw; Augér, s.; Ziegler, ms.; Hadley, ten.; Krause, bs.