Part of the WFMT Radio Network

2008 Archive



December 29, 2008 - January 2, 2009

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.


December 22 - 26, 2008

Bach Christmas Oratorio – An exploration of the six cantatas performed in Leipzig’s St. Thomas and St. Nicholas churches in December 1734. These six Bach cantatas were written to correspond with the days of the Lutheran church year, and are collectively referred to as the "Christmas Oratorio". We start the week with Cantata No. 1 (For the First Day of Christmas) and we will end with Cantata No. 6 for Epiphany.


December 15 - 19, 2008

In a Family Way – This week we’ll listen to families making music through the generations, each with their own stories and traditions to share.


December 8 - 12, 2008

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.


December 1 - 5, 2008

Get the Picture? – Listen your way through the works of composers inspired by well-known paintings and poems. Pianist Alicia de Larrocha will perform Goyescas, by Enrique Granados, a musical transcription of Francisco Goya’s paintings. This week’s music includes Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter), and Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead. Many of these musical works have gone on to be the inspiration for new artistic creations. Art and music are one!



November 24 - 28, 2008

Beethoven and the Piano – 200 years after the composition of Beethoven’s five Piano Concertos, they’re still the giants of the piano world.  Join us for a concerto a day, plus some of his more intimate works for the instrument.


November 17 - 21, 2008

Merrie England – Ready your passport! We’re travelling to Merrie Old England. Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Dowland, all wrote music based on the folk tunes in the country pubs, the pageantry of Royal Albert Hall and Covent Garden, and the images of their beautiful countryside. Come open your ears and walk with us through the pathways of England. Greensleeves, Turtle Doves, and Janet Baker. Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!


November 10 - 14, 2008

Poland – We'll examine the history of Poland through the eyes of her best composers, including the likes of Chopin, Hakenberger, Gomolka and more.


November 3 - 7, 2008

I Hear America Singing – As our nation turns our minds and hearts to vote we here at Exploring Music celebrate America's unique voice in music. Bill takes on the music and poetry of America, from Walt Whitman to Aaron Copland.



October 27 - 31, 2008

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.


October 20 - 24, 2008

Shakespeare – We’ll sample from the wealth of music inspired by the Bard’s verse, including a suite from Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and excerpts from William Walton’s film score to the film “Henry the V”.  Bill also finds time to fit in a few different musical interpretations from the timeless legend of Romeo and Juliet.


October 13 - 17, 2008

Nobody Ever Builds a Statue to a Critic – An exploration of composers’ critiques, evaluations, and responses to their contemporaries.


October 6 - 10, 2008

Bach Sleeps in on Sundays – Bach spent most of his life in serve to the Lutheran Church and his God, but he did write secular music too. Here we focus on a five year period of Bach’s life, the time in which he worked for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Kothen. The cello suites, the violin sonatas and partitas, and the Brandenberg concerti were all composed by Bach, in this five year period.



September 29 - October 3, 2008

Russian Five: The Mighty Handful – Five prominent composers; Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Cui, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov all worked to help form the Russian National School of Composers, which later was named The New Russian School. These five composers, led by Mily Balakirev, all lived in Saint Petersburg and collaborated from 1856 to 1870. Throughout these programs Bill will research each of these composers and demonstrate some of their most prominent works.


September 22 - 26, 2008

Mahler, Part II – For a second week we continue with the life and works of Gustav Mahler.

This week features Kindertotenlieder sung by Kathleen Ferrier; Symphony of a Thousand; and tenor Fritz Wunderlich singing the Drinking Song of the Earth’s Sorrow from Das Lied von der Erde. This is to name just a few highlights- you don’t want to miss this week!


September 15 - 19, 2008

Gustav Mahler, Part I – An Austrian composer who thought, “A symphony should be like the world: it must embrace everything.”  With his ten-plus symphonies, Mahler’s world extended horizons beyond anything known to concert audiences.  His vision stretched the boundaries of the orchestra, of the symphonic form and even this radio show!  Join us for two full weeks on the symphonies of Gustav Mahler.


September 8 - 12, 2008

You Asked For It...  –


September 1 - 5, 2008

España – 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.



August 25 - 29, 2008

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.


August 18 - 22, 2008

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!


August 11 - 15, 2008

The Symphony, Part II – Exploring the symphonic form, we’ll sign off from the classical period with the Beethoven 2nd and explore the rich repertoire of the next 50 years.


August 4 - 8, 2008

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?



July 28 - August 1, 2008

Outward Bound – Afoot and lighthearted Bill takes to the open road with the world before him. In the steps of Walt Whitman he explores the relationship of man to nature as expressed in music. Works include Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, Strauss' Alpine Symphony, and Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras. Join us on this musical path.


July 21 - 25, 2008

An Invitation to the Dance, Part III (Balanchine) – 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.


July 14 - 18, 2008

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.


July 7 - 11, 2008

The Big Five, Part II: The New York Philharmonic – We continue to look at the unique history of the New York Philharmonic. Just think about the audiences who were there before you: from Walt Whitman's  “silent sea of faces and the unbared heads” listening to the funeral march from Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony as Abraham Lincoln laid in state at City Hall, to the orchestra’s televised tribute to JKF led by Leonard Bernstein, and later still, the premiere of the John Adams On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned by the Philharmonic to remember the victims of September 11, 2001. In celebration and in mourning, the New York Philharmonic has been there.



June 30 - July 4, 2008

The Big Five, Part I: The New York Philharmonic – Bill begins a two-week series on our oldest orchestra, the New York Philharmonic. Their doors opened December 7, 1842 and Bill plays several pieces the Philharmonic included in its opening season— the overture to Weber’s Oberon and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. This orchestra was conducted and cultivated by Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler, and their influence along with many other musicians is still heard in every note the orchestra plays. Many of the works they premiered have become standard orchestral literature.  Bill interviews musicians, explores the orchestra’s archives, and features some of its most memorable performances.

June 23 - 27, 2008

Piano Concertos – 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.


June 16 - 20, 2008

Under the Hood, Part I – How does this thing work?  For some of us, the inner workings of a symphony are as unfathomable to comprehend as the engine of an automobile is to others.  Bill McGlaughlin lifts the “bonnet” or hood on a handful of symphonies to explore the mechanics of large-scale compositions. Join us as we take a closer look at the  musical scores by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius.


June 9 - 13, 2008

Vienna, Part II – This week, we’ll continue our exploration of one of the world’s great musical capitals with music of the great Romantics, the renegades of the last century and beyond.  Composers include Johann Strauss, Jr., Mahler and Schoenberg.


June 2 - 6, 2008

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.



May 26 - 30, 2008

Music in Time of War – Pieces inspired by, reacting to, written in memoriam for, or written in protest to war. This week’s program will focus on composers' reactions to armed conflict, including the great War Requiem by Benjamin Britten.  We'll also feature music by Beethoven, Haydn and Shostakovich.


May 19 - 23, 2008

Vienna, Part I – This week we’ll explore the rich culture of this great musical capital, reaching back to the Roman Empire and beyond.  Composers include Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn, Johann Strauss and Mahler.


May 12 - 16, 2008

Water Music – In the 5th Century BC, water was classified as one of the four essential elements.  Over the centuries artists, poets, philosophers and composers have returned again and again to the mysteries of water for inspiration. This week, we’ll focus on Water Music with works by Vaughan Williams, Mahler, Debussy and (of course) Handel.


May 5 - 9, 2008

Grieg and Sibelius – We’ll explore the lives and music of the two Scandinavian greats: Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius.  Music spanning almost one hundred years includes a number of chamber works, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, the Norwegian Dances and several Sibelius symphonies.



April 28 - May 2, 2008

New Wine in Old Bottles – It’s a week of transcriptions.  We’ll sample the creative efforts of gifted composers who gave life and vitality to existing music by transforming it into something new.  Selections include music by Bach, Copland, Liszt and Ravel.


April 21 - 25, 2008

Tchaikovsky, Part II – This week, we’ll continue our exploration of Peter Tchaikovsky, focusing on the latter part of his life, including his symphonies, ballets, and life at the Moscow Conservatory. Bill picks up in 1876 with Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op.33 for Cello and Orchestra and we close the week with his Symphony No. 6 in b minor, Pathetique, written in 1893 and premiered just days before his death. This week, Bill tells the story of Tchaikovsky’s failed marriage and his unusual relationship with his patroness Nadezhda von Meck.


April 14 - 18, 2008

Haydn Symphonies – Dear old Papa Haydn, as he was known in 18th century Vienna, was a fatherly figure to the finest musicians of his day.  He is also the father of the symphonic form.  This week we’ll sample some of his 104 symphonies, following their development from modest orchestral pieces to expressions of wit, humor, and drama.


April 7 - 11, 2008

Hidden Gold, Part II – Have you ever had a friend steer you toward terrific music you’d never heard before? This week, Bill has solicited suggestions from a number of radio friends for great pieces of music that almost never get played. Join us for a Celtic Symphony by Bantock and lesser known pieces by Mahler, Wagner, Rodrigo. Get ready to discover your next favorite piece of music!



March 31 - April 4, 2008

Tchaikovsky, Part I – Bill launches into the first part of a two part series on the Russian Romantic composer Peter Tchaikovsky. Though shunned by some other Russian composers as sounding “too Western”, Tchaikovsky was loved throughout the world as a great Russian composer. Caught between East and West, he created his own sound— a sound that to this day is still treasured and that Russians are proud to call their own. Bill starts with Mikhail Glinka, who broke from the Italian school to create the Russian school of music, and ends with excerpts of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Don’t miss this week and next, where we continue with the music of Peter Tchaikovsky.


March 24 - 28, 2008

Homage – The gift of immortality through the hands of great composers. How would you like to be the subject of a composition by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, or Mozart? In many cases, the fame of the music has outlasted that of its honoree, but we’ll explore some of these heartfelt gestures and the composers who made them. Works include Handel’s Water Music and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.


March 17 - 21, 2008

St. Matthew Passion – Composed in 1727, it’s one of two surviving J.S. Bach accounts of the last days of Jesus. Bill begins by examining the history of the Lutheran church in Germany and the early musical representations of Christ’s last days, including Bach’s earlier St. John Passion. Before the week is over we will also sample Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ and Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión Según San Marcos.


March 10 - 14, 2008

Don't Shoot the Piano Player —He is doing the best he can.  -Oscar Wilde

Starting with the earliest piano trios from Joseph Haydn, Bill will present the best of chamber music that includes the piano— piano trios, quartets, quintets, and more. The piano is a versatile instrument in the chamber music world. Pianists can be members of an established group or featured guests, and composers add them to compositions as the “glue” that joins instruments together. Mozart, Dvôrák, and Brahms all wrote chamber music and then played "musical chairs” to fill the empty seat to join in on the fun. Chamber music written to include the piano continues through the 20th century with Bartok and Messiaen, and on to today with Joan Tower and her colleagues. Bill just touches the surface of this world, and will return to it in the future, so please, take care of our piano players!


March 3 - 7, 2008

Igor Stravinsky – By his early thirties, Igor Stravinsky had captured the world stage with The Firebird, dazzled audiences with Petrushka and incited riots with The Rite of Spring.  Before the First World War, he had earned his place as a seminal figure of the 20th century.  We’ll explore this fascinating life and sample his works.



February 25 - 29, 2008

Triple Play – It’s trios on Exploring Music!  Piano trios, string trios, operatic trios and many others. Trios have their own set of challenges for composers and performers, and this week Bill will demonstrate on the piano pointing out to us through their complex structure of voice harmonies.  We will hear Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, the trio from Act III of Der Rosenkavalier and, finally Bill will play a wonderful treat from Porgy and Bess performed by the Bill Evans Trio. Join us for a delightful week of music for three, where the odd man is not left out.


February 18 - 22, 2008

Viola – 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.


February 11 - 15, 2008

Invitation to the Dance, Part I – Which came first, the composition or the dance? Can we even pull them apart? It’s hard to say, but this week we’ll follow the dance through solo works, the opera, and the symphony.  Highlights include music by Bach, Beethoven and Mahler.


February 4 - 8, 2008

Antonin Dvorak – A five-part biography on the life of Bohemia’s most celebrated composer. We start with a look at Dvořák's early life and works, as well as music from one of Dvořák's first influences, Bedřich Smetana, and continue with his travels to America where he helped define our early musical identity.We will hear works such as Symphony No. 7, Requiem, and New World Symphony.



January 28 - February 1, 2008

Italian Souvenirs – We all would like to have a holiday in Italy, and your desire will just grow and grow as you listen to this week of EM. The composers inspired by the great beauty of Italy include Berlioz, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Elgar. And let us not forget Mozart’s visit as a teenager that changed the course of opera forever.


January 21 - 25, 2008

Life Among the Dead: Requiems Masses – This week we’ll venture into hallowed territory with some of the most profound music in the literature, including requiems by Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz, Fauré, Dvorak and Duruflé.


January 14 - 18, 2008

Magnificent Magyars – Surveying 500 years of music in Hungary. This week we’ll delve into the rich musical history of Hungary, starting with ancient sacred music and working our way through Liszt, Kodaly, Bartók and Hungarian gypsy music.


January 7 - 11, 2008

Bach to Beethoven – Exactly 100 years separates Bach’s B Minor Mass and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony – crowning achievements of two very distinct voices.  This week, we’ll journey through Italy, France, Germany, and England, tracing inspirations in harmony, rhythm, orchestration and form.


December 31, 2007 - January 4, 2008

George Gershwin – A true American original.  Join us for a week-long look at the life and soulful music of George Gershwin, including his Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris and Porgy and Bess.


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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