April 29 - May 3, 2019
Marlboro Music – Each summer in Vermont, the sign that greets everyone coming to Marlboro Music is "Caution: Musicians at Play." A BBC journalist said, if there were a banner across the entrance, it should say "Espressivo." These two signs— the actual and the imagined— describe the musical experiences at Marlboro. Artistic director Mitsuko Uchida explained to Bill that Marlboro, founded in 1951, has a historic link that goes back directly to composers of the Second Viennese School, to Brahms, and all the way to Mozart and Haydn. Exploring Music’s visit this summer reminded us of Mozart’s spirit when he dedicated six quartets to Papa Haydn: “Please… receive them kindly and be to them a father, guide, and friend!” Listen for this spirit of entrusting and sharing chamber music with this multi-generational family of Marlboro Music.
April 22 -26, 2019
Cello Concertos – “What a sound the cello makes!” Bill opines. The cello started to gain popularity in the 17th and early 18th centuries when it was found to be very good at accompanying singers at the opera, such as Bach cantatas. And it became the vehicle for numerous great and famous compositions in many different settings: by Haydn, Prokofiev, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Villa-Lobos and others. Bill of course includes Elgar’s Cello Concerto in the mix to make the week a triumph for what used to be considered an unwieldy instrument
April 15 - 19, 2019
Bach's Not-So-Minor B-Minor Mass – “There’s so much that’s mysterious about Bach’s Mass,” Bill says, and this week he attempts to demystify Bach’s grand work by setting its context in history, tracing relevant antecedents: Bach was writing a Latin mass despite his orientation as a Lutheran. Bill surmises that Bach went back to his musical heroes from the Renaissance. “They composed masses in Latin, and so would he.” Bill illustrates pertinent influences in Beethoven, Strauss, and Haydn as well as how Bach reformed some of his own work to inform his mass.
April 8 - 12, 2019
The Symphony, Part 13 – Spend a profound week with some haunting, powerful, and peaceful symphonies from the years around World War II. Beginning in 1939 with the first symphony of Darius Milhaud and concluding with Aaron Copland’s third symphony from 1946, which includes the iconic “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Along the way we’ll hear the ninth symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich, written in 1945 and the last of his “war trilogy” symphonies, and two pieces with text from the Latin mass — Benjamin Britten’s “Sinfonia da Requiem” and Howard Hanson’s Symphony #4. And we’ll contrast the power of the sixth symphony of Roy Harris, which he dedicated to the memory of the American armed forces, with the pastoral serenity of Vaughan Williams fifth symphony.
April 1 - 5, 2019
Ballad of East and West – Borrowing this week's title from the Rudyard Kipling poem, "The Ballad of East and West" will explore the music of Asia. Traveling to China, Japan, and Indonesia, we will listen to instruments, sounds, folk tunes and poetry. Some that are the unique musical voices that define a country's identity, some that are shared in common and many that are borrowed by western composers.
March 25 - 29, 2019
Strings Plus One – “Mozart wrote for ‘strings plus’ -- just one more instrument to genius -- “probably better than anyone,” Bill says to begin a week of chamber music with great string playing and plus something else. Mozart courses through the week, but Episode Two blends Mozart into works by Barber, Hindemith, and Mahler, while Episode Three features Bartók (played by ”king of swing” clarinetist Benny Goodman) and Schumann. Bill ends the week with Brahms’s chamber music with strings and clarinet but also featuring American composer Joan Towers’s Petroushskates played by the eighth blackbird ensemble.
March 18 - 22, 2019
The 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.
March 11 - 15, 2019
Clash of Titans – Titans in Greek Mythology were great divine beings that descended from the Gods, hence someone who dominates his field. This week Exploring Music examines the lives and music-making of two such divine beings, Leopold Stokowski and Arturo Toscanini, who both captured the minds and hearts of us at a crucial part in our countries development.
March 4 - 8, 2019
Sweet Spot – As Bill explains: “I’ve spent my life as a classical musician devoted to the great body of standard repertoire, which began about 1685 with the birth of Bach and Handel and continued though Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven on to the present. I loved that music as a youngster and I still do, but there are occasions, especially when I’m least expecting it, when music composed roughly between 1550 and 1650 will take my breath away. ‘You know,’ I murmur to myself, ‘music really never got any better than this.’" Madrigalists and other Italian composers, giants like Palestrina, the Gabrielis, and Orlando di Lasso. We will be listening to Renaissance composers from France, Spain, Germany, and England.
February 25 - March 1, 2019
Latin Carnival – Latin America has a five-century musical history forged by many different indigenous peoples clashing with Spain and Portugal, both ambitious colonial powers. Bill has conducted music from Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina and has a deep appreciation for Latin America’s vast and varied musical landscape. He insists “we can hear the echoes of those collisions” into our era. Highlighting Padilla and Ponce as well as Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla, among others, Bill begins with harmonies from Mexico and extends throughout the region’s diverse orchestral and operatic works.
February 18 - 22, 2019
Nobody Ever Builds a Statue to a Critic – As Hollywood mogul Samuel Goldwyn said, “Don't pay any attention to the critics - don't even ignore them.” Bill reminds us: “Sibelius said, ‘They never built a statue for a music critic.’” But instead of pillorying critics for being wrong, Bill goes positive with those who could hear and write clearly about music that not only was good on arrival but would also endure. For example, Robert Schumann, who was both composer and critic; he gave strong support to Chopin. In addition to the music, Bill interviews several esteemed music critics about their role in shaping culture. And for this week, Mahler gets the last sound.
February 11 - 15, 2019
Wunderkinder, Part 2 – More performers and composers whose exceptional musical gifts emerged at an early age are our subject this week. It’s amazing to think that many of these musicians, like Mendelssohn, are still best known today for works that they composed in their early teens. Conductor Eugene Ormandy said that all his violinists were prodigies, so we end the week with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee played by the entire first and second violin sections of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Please enjoy this week of wunderkinder playing the works of wunderkinder.
February 4 - 8, 2019
Wunderkinder, Part 1 – Blazing talents whose remarkable and sometimes-perilous lives overflowed with natural gifts at a young age, and audiences couldn’t get enough of them. Starting with compositions by Mozart and Mendelssohn, all played by today’s whiz kids. We continue with Niccolò Paganini performed by violinist Julia Fischer, and by violinist Julian Sitkovetsky with his mother, Bella Davidovich, accompanying him on the piano. Bill ends the week with a full hour devoted to Frédéric Chopin performed by some of the great prodigy-pianists of today— Maurizio Pollini, Garrick Ohlsson, and Frederic Chiu. Bill says when these musicians were children they were like gifts from above.
January 28 - February 1, 2019
Pacific Overture, Part 2 – Oo-ee baby - won't ya let me take you on a sea cruise… for a trip around the Pacific Rim! We’ve borrowed the title from Stephen Sondheim’s 1976 musical, and you’ll hear a selection from that when our tour reaches Asia. But first we start where we left off last week, in Chile and Columbia, then we head up into Mexico where we’ll hear Silvestre Revueltas and Carlos Chávez, before motoring to the Pacific Northwest and Canada, where we’ll hear music written by Glenn Gould’s piano teacher! Then everybody back on the boat for a long, long sail all the way down to the Philippines, to Java, to China, Korea, and Japan, and finally, because after a trip like this we could use a break, we land in the Hawai’ian Islands.
January 21 - 25, 2019
Pacific Overture, Part 1 – Oo-ee baby - won't ya let me take you on a sea cruise… for a trip around the Pacific Rim! This is a two-week long adventure, and we’re starting off in a Land Down Under. In Australia we’ll hear Aboriginal music along with pieces from Percy Grainger and Peter Sculthorpe, then Maori music plus Dame Gillian Whitehead and Kiri Te Kanawa in New Zealand, and then we’ll continue sailing west to South America and hear music from Argentina and Chile. It’s a two part show, so tune in next week to see where else we’re going!
January 14 - 18, 2019
The Symphony, Part X: Alexander Scriabin to Samuel Barber – 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 with symphonies written between 1900 through 1920. Bill focuses on works rarely heard in concert, or on the radio for that matter: Alexander Scriabin’s Symphony No. 3 conducted by Riccardo Muti, an important interpreter of the Scriabin color wheel; George Enescu’s Symphony No. 2; and Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1, conducted by Marin Alsop.
January 7 - 11, 2019
Beethoven Quartet – Studying Ludwig van Beethoven through his magnificent 16 string quartets played by well-established ensembles from around the world: the Guarneri, Takács, Tokyo, and Alban Berg string quartets. The string quartets offer well-defined early, middle, and late stages both in his life as well as the string quartet as a form, including the Grosse Fuge, Op.133 (which Beethoven wrote while he was stone deaf), and the Cavatina from String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major.
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