Part of the WFMT Radio Network

2014 Archive



December 29, 2014 - January 2, 2015

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.


December 22 - 26, 2014

Holiday Celebration – All around the world, winter holidays are celebrated, and their music is wonderful to hear, regardless of which tradition you observe. Bill gets us started with Nova Stella, medieval Italian Christmas music with a very early staging of the nativity.  We will enjoy Christmas in Paris with music from Debussy, Charpentier and Poulenc and a Polynesian traditional hymn, Anau Oia Ea, plus an excerpt from Amahl and the Night Visitors from the original television production. Bill plays us one of his favorites from Ernest Bloch, Sacred Service. On our final day we will listen to Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and this week’s celebration will end with more holiday cheer from David Bowie and Bing Crosby.


December 15 - 19, 2014

Beethoven Quartets – An exploration of these rare bodies of work.  We’ll take a tour through all 16 quartets, plus the Grosse Fuga.


December 8 - 12, 2014

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.


December 1 - 5, 2014

Incidentally Speaking – For as long as art forms such as theatre, ballet, and other entertainments have graced the stage, composers have been there to enhance the dramatic action through music. This week Bill explores some of the not-so-incidental music that has resulted.



November 24 - 28, 2014

Francis Poulenc – A master of wit and elegance, equal parts boulevardier and enfant terrible, Francis Poulenc's melodic gifts and prolific output made him one of the 20th century’s most enduring composers.


November 17 - 21, 2014

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


November 10 - 14, 2014

Poland – A five-part history of music in Poland.


November 3 - 7, 2014

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!



October 27 - 31, 2014

The New York Philharmonic: The Big Five, Part II – 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.

October 20 - 24, 2014

The New York Philharmonic: The Big Five, Part I – 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.


October 13 - 17, 2014

From This Mighty River: The Music of the Children of J.S. Bach  – Music flowed from the Bach family in a seemingly unending torrent for generations, and the three sons of Johann Sebastian were no exception. This week we'll listen to the music of Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Phillip Emanuel and Johann Christian Bach as they continued their father's legacy into the Classical era.


October 6 - 10, 2014

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.



September 29 - October 3, 2014

Life Among the Dead – 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.


September 22 - 26, 2014

String Quartet Composers From Fibich to Sibelius – Bill continues his in-depth look at the string quartet’s history and development this week, with a focus on late 20thcentury composers Zdeněk Fibich, Jean Sibelius, and their contemporaries, all born in the 1850s and 1860s. After quartets of Hugo Wolf and Claude Debussy, we will venture across the pond to another form of chamber music, a piano trio by American composer Amy Beach.


September 15 - 19, 2014

Autumn Leaves – Works inspired by sights, sounds and smells of the world at summer's end, including selections by Vivaldi, Piazzola, Delius and Schubert.


September 8 - 12, 2014

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.


September 1 - 5, 2014

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.



August 25 - 29, 2014

Venic: 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.


August 18 - 22, 2014

Homage – 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 Pictures at an Exhibition.


August 11 - 15, 2014

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.


August 4 - 8, 2014

Frédéric Chopin  – A five-part biography to celebrate the 200th birthday of Chopin, whose invention and innovation had an indelible effect on the world of Romantic music and the piano.



July 28 - August 1, 2014

Emotion and Meaning in Music  – Is music merely a collection of ordered pitches and vibrations in the air, or is there inherent and universal meaning contained within? Does music convey anger, longing, desire or humor? This week Bill delves into one of the most mysterious and fundamental qualities of music: its ability to convey emotion to the listener. Starting with Gil Shaham with the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Samuel

Barber’s violin concerto, we will listen to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and end the week with JS Bach’s E minor Toccata. Bill asks us to listen carefully and ask ourselves, “what do we feel when we listen to this music and why?”


July 21 - 25, 2014

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.


July 14 - 18, 2014

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 7 - 11, 2014

Four Seasons – From the boundless majesty of the summer sun in Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten to the frosty snow and shivering winds of Vivaldi's Winter, this week is dedicated to music inspired by the changing seasons.



June 30 - July 4, 2014

American Masters, Part IV – From the east coast to the west, American composers developed a singular identity in the 20th century that continues to energize and influence classical music.  In this latest in a multi-part series, we’ll take a listen to more of these musical trailblazers in the United States.


June 23 - 27, 2014

Artists in Exile, Part II Bill continues to reflect on artists in exile, beginning with music from Paul Hindemith. In his escape from Nazi Germany, Hindemith traveled to Turkey, England, and Switzerland before coming to America. We will listen to his Symphony for Concert Band and When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. Bill then considers the plight of composers who faced deportation from America because of their political views. We finish this two-week series with composers from Asia and Latin America. Glorious music from Chen Yi and Gabriela Lena Frank, as well as Tan Dun’s title song for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.


June 16 - 20, 2014

Artists in Exile, Part I Our two-week series titled Artists in Exile pays homage to Joseph Horowitz’s book that focuses on "how refugees from 20th-century war and revolution transformed the American arts.” In this program, you will hear stories of appreciation for a new country, but also of terrible loneliness that comes from being forced from one's home by political strife. Bill begins this week with a vacationing artist, Antonín Dvořák, before playing music from Serge Prokofiev, who fled the Soviet Union. This week will end with Hungarian Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, written in America.


June 9 - 13, 2014

Richard Strauss – 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 life both public and private in this five-part biography.


June 2 - 6, 2014

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, Ponchielli and Glière.



May 26 - 30, 2014

Symphonies, Part X – Even after being stretched to its limits, the symphony remained the pinnacle of achievement for many 20th century composers.  This week, Bill McGlaughlin continues his multi-part exploration of this vibrant, exciting musical form


May 19 - 23, 2014

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.


May 12 - 16, 2014

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.


May 5 - 9, 2014

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.



April 28 - May 2, 2014

Musical Cryptograms –  This week we'll discover and decipher codes, messages and meanings that have been hidden within pieces of classical music over the centuries.


April 21 - 25, 2014

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.


April 14 - 18, 2014

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 7 - 11, 2014

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.



March 31 - April 4, 2014

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.


March 24 - 28, 2014

A Call for Scores – Music suggested by our colleagues at radio stations around the world.


March 17 - 21, 2014

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.


March 10 - 14, 2014

Latin Carnival – From Padilla and Ponce to Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla, we're exploring music by Latin-American composers.


March 3 - 7, 2014

You and the Night and the Music –  Novelists who have built their plots around great music. Join us as we step inside the minds of authors groping for the words to describe the feelings and emotions of the music. We begin with an inspiring mandolin, and the letters of T.S. Eliot. In Thursday’s program Bill tells the story of a violin maker and part-time sleuth with a nostalgic longing for Bach. Dvorák falls in love and an author reminisces about his father’s final journey with Beethoven. We end our travels through literature and music with a dream of the devil and E.M. Forster’s vision of Beethoven from Howard’s End.



February 24 - 28, 2014

Exploring Two Very Different Worlds – 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.


February 17 - 21, 2014

Shostakovich, Part II – This week we conclude our two-part series on the life and times of Dmitri Shostakovich.  From his later symphonies to the Jazz Suite No. 2, Bill explores all forms of Shostakovich’s writing. Starting with Shostakovich’s  Four Romances after Pushkin, Op. 46, and his Symphony No. 5, The Market Place from The Gadfly, Op. 97, Bill ends the week with Kim Kashkashian playing a beautiful performance of the Viola Sonata with Robert Levin.


February 10 - 14, 2014

Shostakovich, Part I "He forged a musical language of colossal emotional power" says Grove’s Dictionary.  This week will be the first of a two-part series exploring the life and times of Dmitri Shostakovich. From his four-note "D-Es-C-H" signature to the musical sounds of the KGB knocking on his door, Bill will help us understand these hidden meanings in his music. Born in Tsarist Russia and living through the establishment of the USSR, his music reflects all of these political changes with emotional depth for the world to hear. Also, having his ear to the ground for music from other places, we will hear his Tahiti Trot and waltzes.


February 3 - 7, 2014

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 27 - 31, 2014

Beethoven at Parnassus, Part II – In the second part of a two-week series, we'll take an in-depth look at this music of a master reaching the pinnacle of his abilities. Bill starts with Missa Solemnis and Consecration of the House and ends in the rarified atmosphere of Mt. Parnassus as we take in Opus 135 performed by the Guarneri Quartet. Robert Schumann said, “[Beethoven’s quartets] stand...on the extreme boundary of all that has hitherto been attained by human art and imagination.” In 1977 his quartets were added to the Time Capsule of Humanity and sent into space in Voyager 1.


January 20 - 24, 2014

Beethoven at Parnassus, Part I – This is a festival of the late music of Beethoven, music from the last ten years of his life. Parnassus refers to the great mountain in Greece that towers over Delphi and is the home of the Muses. In these years from 1816 to 1826, Beethoven soared to almost mythological heights with some of his greatest works—the Ninth Symphony, last four piano sonatas, Missa Solemnis, and his final string quartets. All of these compositions still sit at the top of Mt. Parnassus.


January 13 - 17, 2014

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 6 - 10, 2014

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.

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
Newsletters Thank You!