December 26 - 30, 2011
Bach's Christmas Oratorio – An exploration of the six cantatas, premiered at Leipzig’s St. Thomas and St. Nicholas Churches in 1734, that mark the period from Christmas to Epiphany.
December 19 - 23, 2011
Arias and Barcarolles – Taking a cue from President Eisenhower's famous remark to Leonard Bernstein, this week is a sampling of arias, overtures, barcarolles and other melodic delights that deserve more time on the airwaves.
December 12 - 16, 2011
Beethoven Quartets – Join us as we savor Beethoven's sixteen seminal contributions to the string quartet form, plus the Grosse Fuge.
December 5 - 9, 2011
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.
November 28 - December 2, 2011
Carl Nielsen – A weeklong look at the the life and music of Carl Nielsen, who rose from humble beginnings to become Denmark's greatest composer.
November 21 - 25, 2011
Schubertiade, Part I – What a scene in Vienna: business owners, intellectuals and scholars offering a 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 music.
November 14 - 18, 2011
Proud Tower, Part II – More music from the Gilded Age to the Great War. Bill picks up his exploration of music from the “banquet years” in the early 1900's in Russia with music from Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninov. We then travel to Paris to hear Cécile Chaminade and conclude in Austria with Mahler and Lehár. Our journey ends with The Rite of Spring, and as we approach the precipice of war, we hear a piece from George Butterworth, who died in the Battle of the Somme.
November 7 - 11, 2011
Proud Tower, Part I – Bill gains his inspiration for these two weeks of Exploring Music from Barbara Tuchman’s book The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914. This was a gilded age for music that brought us boldly into the 20th century. We will listen to music from many composers and their countries—Elgar from Britain, Schoenberg from Austria, and Bill closes this first week with French composer Claude Debussy’s La Mer.
October 31 - November 4, 2011
Demons, Spooks and Other Things That Go Bump In The Night – Darkness descends on Exploring Music as we investigate composers' fascination with ghosts, goblins, Mephistopheles and other phantasmagoria.
October 24 - 28, 2011
Franz Liszt – Firmly poised on the progressive side of the War of the Romantics, Franz Liszt was on the front lines of the battle to usher in a new musical era- an era of radical dissonances, thematic transformation and exceptional virtuosity. This week, we'll spend five hours listening to Liszt's music and looking at his life in celebration of his 200th birthday.
October 17 - 21, 2011
Autumn Leaves – Works inspired by sights, sounds and smells of nature at summer’s end, including selections by Vivaldi, Piazzola, Delius and Schubert.
October 10 - 14, 2011
A Green and Pleasant Land – With William Blake’s famous words as a stepping-off point, we’re traversing the pastoral musical landscapes of the British Isles.
October 3 - 7, 2011
Clowning Around – Musical buffoonery.
September 26 - 30, 2011
Mendelssohn, Schumann & Brahms String Quartets – This week we open to one of the most delightful and storied chapters of the string quartet's history, centering around the works of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms.
September 19 - 23, 2011
A Little Traveling Music, Please – Rivers, boatmen, water-borne vessels and wanderers, farewells, fair maidens and sight-seers on the move. This week, Bill calls up "A Little Traveling Music" from the pens of Handel, Smetana, Duke Ellington and more.
September 12 - 16, 2011
Bach Sleeps in on Sundays – Bill McGlaughlin explores the instrumental music composed by Bach while not holding a church job.
September 5 - 9, 2011
Antonín Dvořák – A five-part biography on the life of Bohemia’s most celebrated composer to mark his 170th birthday.
August 29 - September 2, 2011
The Symphony, Part VIII – Bill's exploration of the symphony continues with music of composers born around 1880.
August 22 - 26, 2011
Vienna, Part II – We're continuing 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.
August 15 - 19, 2011
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.
August 8 - 12, 2011
Benjamin Britten – Benjamin Britten’s works can be edgy, or they can be warm and accessible. On Monday we learn about Britten's childhood, and the deep bond between him and his teacher, Frank Bridge. As the week continues, Bill introduces us to the influential people in his life, including Britten’s lifelong partner, tenor Peter Pears. We will hear Pears sing with virtuoso horn player Dennis Brain in the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. On Friday, two slain soldiers from opposite sides meet in the underworld to sing "Libera Me" from the War Requiem. Then we sample some folksongs, and end on a bright note: Britten's how-to guide for young classical music listeners, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
August 1 - 5, 2011
Nadia Boulanger – Virgil Thomson once said, “In every town in the United States you find a five-and-dime and a Boulanger student," and he wasn't far off. Nadia Boulanger taught and influenced an entire generation of musicians, from Aaron Copland and Astor Piazzolla to Philip Glass and Quincy Jones. This week we'll hear some of her own compositions, works by her talented sister, Lily, and performances of works by prolific students. Bill features Nadia conducting her close friend Igor Stravinsky’s composition Dumbarton Oaks and ends this retrospective listening to Piazzolla’s Oblivion.
July 25 - 29, 2011
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!
July 18 - 22, 2011
Latin Carnival – From Padilla and Ponce to Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla, we're exploring music by Latin-American composers.
July 11 - 15, 2011
Sounds of the City of Light – Music in Paris from Berlioz to Debussy, from 1830 to the early 1900s.
July 4 - 8, 2011
Ottorino Respighi – There's much more to Ottorino Respighi than Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome. This week we'll hear his connections with the music of Brazil, touch on his experiences in war-torn Europe, and see how this intriguing violinist, musicologist and composer artfully moved Italian music into the 20th century.
June 27 - July 1, 2011
The Wind Quintet – We’ll explore some of the glorious music written for flute, clarinet, oboe, horn and bassoon.
June 20 - 24, 2011
Under the Hood, Part I – How’s this thing work? For some people, the mechanics of a symphony are as unfathomable as the engine of an automobile is to others. Join us as we take a closer look at the nuts and bolts of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius.
June 13 - 17, 2011
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.
June 6 - 10, 2011
I Didn't Know About You – The making of Exploring Music constantly unearths hidden gems and unexpected delights. This week, Bill shares some of his own musical discoveries and solicits suggestions from listeners.
May 30 - June 3, 2011
Music in Time of 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 23 - 27, 2011
Homage – This week centers on the gift of immortality, given 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.
May 16 - 20, 2011
Unfinished Symphonies – Schubert wasn't the only composer who passed from this earth with an incomplete symphony on his shelf. Elgar, Mahler, Bruckner, and other symphonists left fantastic but tantalizingly unfinished material that Bill will feature. Varied and unusual stories explain why each one of these works remained unfinished and buried deep in the back of our composers’ minds.
May 9 - 13, 2011
An Invitation to the Dance, Part II – This week, we’ll focus on ballet music by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Schubert – even Beethoven!
May 2 - 6, 2011
Beethoven and the Piano – 200 years after the composition of Beethoven’s five piano concertos, they’re still the giants in the repertoire. Join us for a concerto a day, plus some of his more intimate works for the instrument.
April 25 - 29, 2011
Sergei Prokofiev – A look at the life and music of one of Russia's most talented and controversial composers, Sergei Prokofiev, in celebration of his 120th birthday.
April 18 - 22, 2011
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.
April 11 - 15, 2011
Child's Play – For hundreds of years of music-making, childhood has remained an inexhaustible inspiration. This week we’ll hear some of the ways that composers from Purcell to Prokofiev have been influenced by the energy and excitement of youth.
April 4 - 8, 2011
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.
March 28 - April 1, 2011
Schubert String Quartets – Bill continues his in-depth look at the string quartet's history with the music of Franz Schubert. His quartets are unique and remarkable. From his early teens, Schubert loved composing quartets with surprising key relationships and complicated rhythms. These “tone puzzles” can be heard within quartet movements and throughout the complete piece. On Friday’s program Bill adds an extra cello to feature Schubert’s final chamber work, the String Quintet in C Major. This “Cello Quintet” was composed just a few months before Schubert’s death.
March 21 - 25, 2011
Béla Bartók – We'll follow the life and musical development of one of Hungary's greatest composers to celebrate his 130th birthday.
March 14 - 18, 2011
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 score to the film Henry V. Bill also finds time to fit in a few different musical interpretations from the timeless legend of Romeo and Juliet.
March 7 - 11, 2011
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!
February 28 - March 4, 2011
American Masters, Part II – The second in a multi-week series celebrating American composers in the first half of the 20th century.
February 21 - 25, 2011
George Frederic Handel – We'll have a week-long look at the life and music of England's most celebrated German composer.
February 14 - 18, 2011
It Was A Lover and His Lass – Composers influenced by the elixir of love.
February 7 - 11, 2011
Life Among the Dead: Requiem 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, Dvořák and Duruflé.
January 31 - February 4, 2011
William Walton – Inspired by a composer that was in the vanguard of British music in the 20th century, Benjamin Britten once wrote that hearing William Walton's music was a "great turning point in his musical life." We'll trace the arc of Walton's life and his associations with the greatest artists of his time, including Heifetz, Hindemith, Olivier, and Beecham.
January 24 - 28, 2011
Mozart's Birthday Bash – We're celebrating Mozart's 255th birthday with some of his most enduring and cherished compositions, including the C Minor Mass, Haffner Symphony, and Clarinet Quintet.
January 17 - 21, 2011
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.
January 10 - 14, 2011
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!
January 3 - 7, 2011
A Little Night Music – As we approach the winter solstice, the nights grow longer and the moon becomes so bright that the sky seems to sparkle in its glow. Night sounds also become clear and close in the cold winter air. Composers love capturing these sounds and reflecting them in their music. This week, in an homagé to Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon, voices fade away into the musical dreams of a winter night.