December 24 - 28, 2007
George Frideric Handel – We’ll have a week-long look at the life and music of England’s most celebrated German composer. Handel has been regarded as on of the greatest composers of the Baroque era with many of his works played every year since their first hearing almost 400 hundred years ago.
December 17 - 21, 2007
Venice: The Glories of – Exploring Music focuses on sounds of the city, water, and love in Venice. Bill explores the magical city that inspired music of the late Renaissance, Baroque, and the beginning of Italian opera. From Monteverdi and Orlando di Lasso, Bill includes religious and secular music and continues with two major Venetian influences: Adrian Willaert of Dutch descent and the Roman composer Palestrina. Other composers featured in the week are Gabrieli, Vivaldi, Verdi, and more.
December 10 - 15, 2007
Orpheus in the New World – With communications and travel offering cultural exchange like never before, today’s composer draws from an enormous palette, giving voice to the amazing era in which we live. You’ll find tonality and melody are most decidedly in style, while originality and diversity reign. From Schwantner and Adams to Neikrug and Beach, we'll listen to and celebrate their music.
December 3 - 7, 2007
Symphony, Part I – In the beginning, there were Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, or so we thought. That is until we uncovered a whole world of instrumental music so varied, so wonderful and so woefully unknown, we decided to take out time in that glorious place. Starting with a Sinfonia by Biaggio Marini from 1618, we slowly make out way through the seventeenth century, the eighteenth century and finish at the brink of the Romantic era with the Second Symphony by Beethoven.
November 26 - 30, 2007
Autumn Leaves – As greens, twinkling lights and Santa Clauses appear on every corner, let us not forget that this is the season of Autumn: the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” This week on Exploring Music, we’ll enjoy works inspired by sights, sounds and smells of nature at season’s end, including selections by Vivaldi, Delius and Schubert.
November 19 - 23, 2007
Les Six – It’s the anti-Wagner and anti-Impressionist tour de force. Join us for the delightfully irreverent bad boys, and girl, of 1920’s Montparnasse, with Auric, Durey, Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc and Tailleferre.
November 12 - 16, 2007
An Intelligent Conversation: String Quartets – Goethe once wrote, “When I listen to a string quartet, it makes me feel as if I am eavesdropping on a conversation between four intelligent people.” This week we are going to listen to string quartets composed over a period of about two and a half centuries. From Joseph Haydn, the father of the string quartet, all the way to Aaron Jay Kernis, a Pulitzer prize-winning present-day composer.
November 5 - 9, 2007
Johannes Brahms, Part II – This is the second of two weeks exploring the music and life of the great German master. Brahms’s love of Hungarian Gypsy music and folksongs allowed him to create music that speaks to our inner souls. Scholars think Brahms threw away more works than he published, so let us treasure the music we have from him.
October 29 - November 2, 2007
Johannes Brahms, Part I – The first of a two-week biography exploring the music and life of a defining voice of the German Romantic Era. In his formative year as a pianist, Brahms befriends Robert and Clara Schumann, and with their support and later with the violinist Joseph Joachim, develops his musical voice. Bill speaks of Brahms’ struggles to publish symphonies on the heels of Beethoven‑ his two orchestra serenades were played publicly twenty years before his four symphonies. We end this first part of Brahms’ story with the German Requiem.
October 22 - 26, 2007
Through the Mail Slot – All media outlets have a special place for unsolicited materials. This week we’ll explore unexpected musical treats that were delivered to Bill’s doorstep. This week’s music is a collection of eclectic and colorful works which deserve their very own week.
October 15 - 19, 2007
I Lost it at the Movies – From swashbuckling pirates, to robotic dogs, to that old sled Rosebud, there's a soundtrack behind every great movie scene, and a story behind every sound. Bill tells about the origins of film music in Paris, sails the high seas with Korngold, and takes a trip to Sherwood Forest. Saint-Saens, Mahler, Korngold, and Waxman are featured.
October 8 - 12, 2007
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.
October 1 - 5, 2007
Hector Berlioz – As one of the developers of the symphonic form, Hector Berlioz lived a life full of drama and color. Born in France to parents with plans for him to become a doctor, he pursued everything but medicine. He wrote: “Beethoven opened before me a new world of music, as Shakespeare had revealed a new universe of poetry.” Join us on this amazing journey following the life of Hector Berlioz through musical selections from works such as Lelio, Romeo and Juliet, and Les Troyens.
September 24 - 28, 2007
Strings Plus One – This week, we’ll feature small string groups with a special guest addition.
September 17 - 21, 2007
Espana – Bill takes on the confluence of cultures, languages, and terrains in the country of Spain. Monday’s program starts with the religious music of early Spain during a time in which Islam, Judaism, and Christianity existed side by side, to 1492, when the Jews and Moors of Spain were banished from the country. We continue through the next 400 years, and this week concludes with music from present day Spain.
September 10 - 14, 2007
Ninth Symphonies – The curse of the ninth! Why did so many of music’s great symphonists die after completing their Ninth Symphony? We’ll sample five landmark compositions: the Ninth symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner, Dvorak and Mahler.
September 3 - 7, 2007
Tudor Music – On this edition of Exploring Music, we look at some wonderful English music from the time of the Tudors. Though the Tudor poets may be more well known than the composers, the composers have left quite a legacy. From the sacred, secular, and consort music of William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, to Henry VIII, who himself wrote a number of pieces!
August 27 - 31, 2007
School Days – The energy behind the start of a new school year inspires a week dedicated to children's songs and young composers and performers.
August 20 - 24, 2007
Nationalism – Nationalism on its own is a dangerous force, but it has led to a number of wonderful bits of music. This edition of Exploring Music examines what happens when a powerful pride in national identity winds its way into a composer's head.
August 13 - 17, 2007
Cello Concertos – For many music lovers, the cello's melodic capacity and deep timbre represent the pinnacle of musical expression. This week we'll explore some of the great works written for this instrument and the musicians that made them famous.
August 6 - 10, 2007
Mozart at his Zenith – 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.
July 30 - August 3, 2007
Listener's Choice, Part 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!
July 23 - 27, 2007
Clowning Around – This week's focus is musical buffoonery! Music is a language, and like all others it has its jokes, witticisms, and puns. For composers, clowning around with music takes the same skills as writing a great symphony. And, these fun, charming works show the genius of the composers who have written them.
July 16 - 20, 2007
Symphony, Part III – Part three in our continuing series on that most revered of classical music forms: the symphony. Starting in Denmark with Niels Gade’s first symphony, Bill will introduce us to the mid-nineteenth century orchestral music of Rubenstein, Raff, and Dvořák. We’ll also hear the Brahms Serenade No. 1 for orchestra, composed in six movements and published many decades before his four symphonies.
July 9 - 13, 2007
Tone Poems – In a literal case of art imitating life, symphonic music is freed from its traditional structures and takes a programmatic turn. Generally one movement, Tone Poem’s illustrate or describe with music a poem, a painting or other non musical source. Bill invites us to sit with him as he describes and listens to this image evoking dramatic music.
July 2 - 6, 2007
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.
June 25 - 29, 2007
Latin Carnival – From Padilla and Ponce to Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla, we’re celebrating music by Latin-American composers.
June 18 - 22, 2007
Poland – We'll examine the history of Poland through the eyes of her best composers, including the likes of Chopin, Hakenberger, Gomolka and more.
June 11 - 15, 2007
Beethoven and that Danged Metronome – This week we’ll celebrate some of the exquisite music written for this “inner voice”. The viola is the middle sister of the stringed instruments, sitting between the violins and the cellos, and playing in a clef written devised just for her. The viola is often misunderstood and mistaken for a “larger violin” or sometimes either forgotten about or made the butt of jokes. But, the viola sings with a dark richness that composers loved! Mozart, Brahms, and Dvorak, to name just a few composers, played the viola, and oh, Hindemith did too. And these composers, plus many more figured out how to let this instrument have her day in the sun with concertos, tone poems, and orchestral solos. Listen and you too will fall in love with this instrument.
June 4 - June 8, 2007
Variations – Exploring Themes and Variations. In one of his pensees, Pascal says, “That man lives between the abyss of the infinitely large and the abyss of the infinitely small. The voyage of variations leads to the other infinitude, into the infinite diversity of the interior world lying hidden in all things.” Bill leads us on this voyage through a theme and it’s variations.
May 28 - June 1, 2007
Sergei Prokofiev – A look at the life and music of l’enfant terrible, Sergei Prokofiev. A look at the life and music of one of Russia's most talented and controversial composers, Sergei Prokofiev.
May 21 - 25, 2007
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 music composed for the films ET, Zorba the Greek, and Robin Hood plus many more great musical scores.
May 14 - 18, 2007
Invitation to the Dance, Part III – This third installment of our series on dance music will center on the charmed life of George Balanchine, the chief choreographer of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Born in St. Petersburg, Balanchine became a dancer and accomplished pianist, and we will listen to the music that inspired him to choreograph his iconic dance movements. We will listen to music by Bach, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Balanchine’s longtime friend, Igor Stravinsky.
May 7 - 11, 2007
Ralph Vaughan Williams – Composer of nine masterful symphonies, editor of the English Hymnal, an ambulance driver in WWI and great-nephew to Charles Darwin, Ralph Vaughan Williams was a prolific and intriguing figure who was at the vanguard of English music in the early 20th century. This week, we'll look at his life and sample his music.
April 30 - May 4, 2007
Families of Instruments – This week we will explore the sections of the modern orchestra, instruments that are hit, plucked, blown through, fingered, and bowed. Bill will point out the unique colors that are achieved by each instrument and the never-ending combination of sounds from the strings, winds, brass, percussion, and keyboards.
April 23 - 27, 2007
Invitation to the Dance, Part II – This week, we’ll focus on ballet music by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Schubert – even Beethoven! On Wednesday’s program alone we will dance to Bartok’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite and The Wooden Prince, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, and a charming suite of dances from Manuel de Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat.
April 16 - 20, 2007
Spring is Here – Spring is in the air as we celebrate the coming of flowers and sunshine from under the melting winter ice here on Exploring Music. We will hear Spring from Vivaldi Four Seasons, Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, Strauss, and this time of year can’t be complete without a little rain, so from Chopin, Prelude in D flat, Op. 28 No. 15, or commonly known as “the Raindrop”
April 9 - 13, 2007
Schubertiade, Part I –
What a scene in Vienna: business owners, intellectuals and scholars offering their home for a concert, a meal, a place to sleep or a room with a piano—all to support the friend they loved and admired, Franz Schubert. It was a Bohemian life, rich with music and conversation. This week, we’ll dip into those legendary house concerts for an enchanting week of chamber music.
April 2 - 6, 2007
The Big Five, Part I: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra – We’ll reach back into the history, growth and development of one of America’s great musical institutions, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We will touch on the composers, conductors, patrons, and musicians who all had a hand in making this orchestra a vital and thriving world treasure.
March 26 - 30, 2007
Fit for a King – This relationship between the King and his musical subjects was intimate deep and lasted for hundreds if not thousands of years. From Bach to Bridge this week we will listen to the rich and intriguing world of the European court composer.
March 19 - 23, 2007
Samuel Barber – Samuel Barber was only 28 years old when Arturo Toscanini premiered his Adagio for Strings in 1938 with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He was an overnight success and became the most performed composer in the United States: His music is mostly unaffected by the modern tendencies of his time – he was out of step during the first half of the 20th century. Samuel Barber was as much a cosmopolitan as a romantic lyricist, and his writing unmistakably has its fixed stars: Bach, Brahms, and Fauré. We’ll explore his world, life, and music in this week’s program and finally face the inevitable question: A huge success at such a young age – a blessing or a curse?
March 12 - 16, 2007
Music of the Masses – No, we're not talking about the proletariat--this is music set to the traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Catholic liturgy, which expands over 800 years from the earliest of composers to the most modern.
March 5 - 9, 2007
Richard Strauss – Richard Strauss - whose musical life spanned nine decades, two world wars, and the Third Reich - was one of Germany’s most gifted and controversial figures. We’ll explore his tone poems, operas, and both his public and private lives. We end this five-part biography with his four last songs performed by Jessye Norman.
February 26 - March 2, 2007
What Else Ya Got? – Have you ever wondered about composers who succeeded in writing one smashing piece, but were otherwise forgotten? This week, we’ll get to know some of these immortals for their other compositions, including Dukas, Orff and Glière.
February 19 - 23, 2007
Maiden Voyages – A composer’s first symphony can bring on the hardest challenges and greatest rewards. This week, we take a look at three composers’ maiden voyages out into deep, musical oceans. Bill explores the trials and tribulations that Haydn, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn experienced while composing their first symphonic works.
February 12 - 16, 2007
Listener's Choice, Part II – Back again! Last year we gave an entire week to listener requests, but the suggestions just kept on coming. This all-new edition includes African-American composers, a Japanese Koto ensemble playing Handel, and traditional Hawaiian pieces
February 5 - 9, 2007
Claude Debussy – Claude Debussy, who once said he learned more from poets and painters than from the music conservatory, is considered the figurehead of Impressionist music (though he would vehemently argue against it). Influenced by Bach's arabesques and the romantic Chopin, the Frenchman made his mark in music with his otherworldly compositions, beginning with "Danse Bohemienne". While we listen to his compositions Bill reflects on Debussy's peculiar upbringing, studies in the Paris conservatory, and his Prix de Rome win.
January 29 - February 2, 2007
Wagner's Ring Cycle – For most operas, a five-hour survey would more than cover every measure, every note – but not this one, Wagner’s crowning achievement. Bill helps us understand and enjoy this long and fanciful journey, with richly textured music that continues to grow in complexity as the operas proceed. Wagner spent a quarter of a century writing the libretto and composing the music that follows the struggles and dramas of gods, heroes, and mythical creatures. We will listen to orchestral preludes, arias, and more from The Rhinegold, The Valkylie, Siegfried, and Twilight of the Gods.
January 22 - 26, 2007
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!
January 15 - 19, 2007
Beethoven Quartets – This week on Exploring Music, we’ll be tracing the life of Ludwig van Beethoven through his string quartets and analyzing key movements in this magnificent body of chamber music. We’ll take a tour through all 16 quartets; his early, middle, and late quartets plus the story behind his stand alone Grosse Fuga.
January 8 - 12, 2007
Hidden Gold, Part I – On this edition of Exploring Music, we examine some works that are absolutely fantastic - every bit as fantastic as the pieces we hear all the time - but relatively unknown by comparison. Guides to finding some of this hidden treasure are the on-air hosts at WFMT, who have a rich wealth of knowledge when it comes to unearthing musical gold.
January 1 - 5, 2007
Leonard Bernstein – On this edition of Exploring Music, we focus on the works of Leonard Bernstein, the great American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer and pianist. We will enjoy his unique contributions to our American sounds; West Side Story, Candide, sonatas, symphonies, and more!
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