December 30, 2013 - January 3, 2014
Johannes Brahms, Part I – The first of a two week biography exploring the music and life of the great German master, including his formative years as a pianist, meeting the Schumanns, the Symphonies, his late works for clarinet and more.
December 23 - 27, 2013
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 16 - 20, 2013
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.
December 9 - 13, 2013
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.
December 2 - 6, 2013
Too Darn Big – This week we're ascending some of the most colossal musical mountains in existence- works like Schoenberg's Gurrelieder and Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony that are (usually) too big to program on Exploring Music.
November 25 - 29, 2013
Camille St-Saëns – A child prodigy that was later hailed by Liszt as "the greatest organist in the world," Camille Saint-Saëns led a fascinating life filled to the brim with music. We'll explore his life, compositions, and influence in this five-part series.
November 18 - 22, 2013
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.
November 11 - 15, 2013
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.
November 4 - 8, 2013
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.
October 28 - November 1, 2013
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. We will listen to Malcolm Arnold leading a pair of drunken bassoonists through a dark foggy peat bog, Henry Cowell conjuring a banshee from the piano, and Paganini flirting with the devil. Beware, this week will put you in the mood for Halloween.
October 21 - 25, 2013
Wind Quintets – We’ll explore some of the glorious music written for the popular chamber music combination of flute, clarinet, oboe, horn and bassoon. Bill will also focus on each instrument alone so we can identify the sound and character that makes it unique.
October 14 - 18, 2013
Verdi, Part II – Join us for the second part of our two-week series featuring Verdi with more of his operas and other works, both iconic and underappreciated. Verdi takes on Italian painters, Egyptian princesses, and composes perhaps the grandest requiem ever written. Rumor has it that at Verdi's funeral a hundred thousand voices rose in song as Arturo Toscanini conducted the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from his opera Nabucco.
October 7 - 11, 2013
Verdi, Part I – This week we begin a ten-part series investigating the life and music of Giuseppe Verdi, a towering figure in Italian art and perhaps the greatest composer of 19th-century opera. We'll explore the nooks and crannies of Verdi's repertoire, including a trip to Medieval Spain, Shakespeare's Scotland, and even France! Despite Verdi being known for his work in opera, an art form intimately connected with language, his music transcends words. To end our first week on Verdi, we will listen to his overtures and as Bill would say, "Man, that boy wrote a lot of music!"
September 30 - October 4, 2013
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.
September 23 - 27, 2013
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.
September 16 - 20, 2013
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.
September 9 - 13, 2013
Gitana: Gypsy Music and its Influences– For thousands of years the Romany people journeyed through Europe and beyond. Native music and that of these travelers combined to create an energetic and exotic confluence unlike anything else. Brahms and many other composers took hold of these sounds creating music “alla zingarese,” or in the gypsy style. When Yehudi Menuhin was a student, his teacher George Enescu took him to live in Gitana camps to learn from these creative musicians. Menuhin credits this experience as a fundamental part of his violin technique and music making.
September 2 - 7, 2013
It Takes Two to Tango– This week, we will explore the world of musical duos. First, we will listen to instruments working in tandem to obtain unexpected performances. Then we will focus on composers who collaborated or worked against each other such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. We’ll also savor the great love duets of Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner.
August 26 - 30, 2013
Sounds of the City of Lights – Paris, the City of Lights, is illuminated by many musical stars. No time was this more true than in the period between Berloiz's birth and Debussy's death. In this edition of Exploring Music, Bill McGlaughlin discovers what made luminaries such as Bizet, Gounod and Alkanshine.
August 19 - 23, 2013
Symphony, Part IX – In this next chapter in our survey of the symphony, we will turn to Germany, Austria, and France during the turbulent years after the Great War. Bill will introduce us to symphonies by Hans Pfitzner, Albert Roussel, Franz Schmidt, and we will also hear a wonderful performance of Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin’s My Ship, sung by Dawn Upshaw.
August 12 - 16, 2013
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.
August 5 - 9, 2013
Get the Picture – Begin hearing your way through plenty of famous paintings and poems. Listen to self-portraits of visual artists like Francisco Goya, through his own fingerings on the guitar. Music inspired by the visual arts, including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, and Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead.
July 29 - August 2, 2013
Mendelssohn, Schumann and 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.
July 22 - 26, 2013
New Releases, Part II – In "New Releases," part II, Bill looks at new discoveries among the many recordings that are sent to him.
July 15 - 19, 2013
Arias & 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. Bill will spin tunes like Lawrence Welk’s “Bubbles in the Wine” and Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians performing Jerome Kern’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” This is a week to just sit back and enjoy.
July 8 - 12, 2013
Gustav 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!
July 1 - 5, 2013
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.
June 24 - 28, 2013
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Sergei Rachmaninoff – The finest example of late Russian Romanticism. This Russian composer held on to being a romantic composer well into the twentieth century, a time when his fellow composers like Stravinsky and Prokofiev were forever reinventing classical music. We will dedicate this week to explore the private life and music of this lyrically gifted pianist and composer. Rachmaninoff once said, “If you want to know me, you must know my music."
June 17 - 21, 2013
Intimate Voices – This week Bill has conversations with two chamber musicians with over 100 years of great music-making experiences between them: Samuel Rhodes, former violist of the Juilliard Quartet, and David Finckel, former cellist of the Emerson Quartet and co-Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Rhodes describes the musical dialogues exchanged by the Juilliard Quartet, and we will listen to them performing Ravel, Carter, and Brahms. Then Bill turns to Finckel, who tells us about his admiration for violinist Oscar Shumsky and German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The Emerson and Juilliard quartets will both play music of Bartok for us. Lastly, Finckel will describe the devastation that lies deep within Shostakovich’s string quartets.
June 10 - 14, 2013
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.
June 3 - 7, 2013
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.
May 27 - 31, 2013
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 20 - 24, 2013
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.
May 13 - 17, 2013
Richard Wagner – "The greatest genius that ever lived" proclaimed WH Auden, while Rossini said that Wagner had "beautiful moments but awful quarters of an hour." Love him or hate him, Wagner is an undeniable force who stretched tonality and orchestration to their utmost limits. This week (and next) we celebrate Wagner's 200th birthday in grand style with programs filled to the brim with his music.
May 6 - 10, 2013
Schubertiade II – The title refers to a type of “home-made” music making that became popular during Schubert's time, chamber music. This week we continue to hear chamber music compositions by one of the foremost composers and namesake of this intimate genre, Franz Schubert himself!
April 29 - May 3, 2013
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.
April 22 - 26, 2013
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.
April 15 - 19, 2013
The Roaring '20s – This week we are delving into the world of French composer Maurice Ravel. We will explore the many influences that shaped Ravel’s music such as his Spanish and Russian heritage, WWI, and his affinity for late night Parisian Jazz parties in the roaring 20’s. Some works featured in this program include Le Tombeau de Couperin, Boléro, and Rapsodie espagnole.
April 8 - 12, 2013
Symphony, Part VII (Russian) – Part VII of a massive series on examining the concept of a symphony, widely considered the most important form of classical music. Our exploration of the symphony continues with a look at Russia's contributions, from Rubinstein and Rimski through Glazunov and Gliere.
April 1 - 5, 2013
Gabriel Fauré – Recognized as the greatest French composer of his generation, Gabriel Fauré bridged the Romantic era and the 20th century with a sophistication that heralded the arrival of a significant new voice. From his art songs to the Requiem and beyond, we'll cover his life and music in this 5-part series.
March 25 - 29, 2013
Bach's Not-So-Minor B-Minor Mass – On this edition of Exploring Music, we examine Bach's B minor Mass, a not-so-minor masterpiece of tremendous proportions. Along the way, as we hear the mass itself, we'll explore some of Bach's earlier masses, composers who inspired Bach, and work from the future by Haydn, Beethoven, and Strauss that would draw from Bach's example.\
March 18 - 22, 2013
Distant Neighbors – This week we’ll explore the music of Mexico and Central America. Though we share a very long border with Latin America, we live in two very different worlds. Their history is thousands of years old, and ours is younger. Come on this journey with us to the deep and rich musical history of our neighbors to the south.
March 11 - 15, 2013
Haydn and Mozart Quartets – Mozart's six "Haydn" Quartets were dedicated and lovingly handed to Joseph Haydn, like a father entrusting his sons to a friend to protect and guide them. When Haydn first started composing for the string quartet, the first violinist was the star, actually standing in front of the other three players. Ninety-nine Haydn string quartets later, the form had evolved into four equal voices. Bill will share with us the brief time in history when Mozart and Haydn enjoyed each other’s company, playing and composing string quartets together.
March 4 - 8, 2013
Felix Mendelssohn – German composer Felix Mendelssohn finds himself at the center of this week's episode of Exploring Music. He has been hailed as one of the greatest musical minds of all time. We venture from his precocious youth to his early death. His great body of work is still in the repertories of chamber groups and orchestras. And it’s the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto that is loved by all. The same love and devotion is true for his String Octet and Italian Symphony.
February 25 - March 1, 2013
Portraits in Black, Brown and Beige, Part II – Bill's exploration of the music of African-American composers continues this week. We will hear Bill conduct a work by Anthony Davis, plus music composed by Bill's friend Jeffrey Mumford. Our two-week celebration ends with a poem from Langston Hughes as well as music from Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Michael Jackson.
February 18 - 22, 2013
Portraits in Black, Brown and Beige, Part I – This two-week celebration, named in honor of Duke Ellington's jazz symphony, will explore 400 years of African-American composers and performers. Starting with Call and Response, and Shouts, from the first Africans to arrive on this continent, Bill will introduce us to art songs, symphonies, and traditional spirituals that have become a large part our American musical identity.
February 11 - 15, 2013
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.
February 4 - 8, 2013
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.
January 28 - February 1, 2013
Symphony, Part VI (French) –The symphony has been fertile ground for composers throughout history and around the world. This week, we'll follow its development in France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Your listeners will enjoy Georges Bizet’s well-liked Symphony in C through to the lesser-known Symphony in C of Paul Dukas.
January 21 - 25, 2013
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.
January 14 - 18, 2013
Leos Janacék – One of the most influential (and underrated) Czech composers, Leoš Janáček created a deeply original style of composition that infused his operas, string quartets, and symphonic music with Moravian and Slavic folk influences. We start this week listening to his charming intimate Nursery Rhymes, White Goat Gathers Pears and Beetroot Was Getting Married, performed by The Netherlands Wind Ensemble. Each hour of the week continues with a wonderful sample of Janáček’s works handpicked by Bill McGlaughlin.
January 7 - 11, 2013
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!
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