Alexander Scriabin: Symphony No.4, Op.54 “The Poem of Ecstasy”
Scriabin composed a piece so powerful, so emotional, so hair-raising, that even controversial writer Henry Miller said he “flipped out” when he first heard it. “For weeks, I was in a trance,” he said. “It was like a bath of ice and rainbows.” Pretty crazy stuff! Anyone can hear what Henry Miller tried to describe at the end of the piece, which positively explodes with sound.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata in D for two pianos, K.448: I. Allegro con spirito
While we’ve all heard of the Mozart Effect—that listening to Mozart’s music can boost intelligence—it seems that one piece in particular offers the biggest dose of brain food. Apparently, listening the Sonata for Two Pianos, K. 448, for just 10 to 15 minutes can raise one’s spatial-temporal IQ by nine points. Even if you’re skeptical, there’s no reason NOT to listen, right…?
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op.33
There are little romantic secrets everywhere on earth, but some air their personal lives for all to see. When cellist Mstislav Rostropovich visited NBC’s Today Show, host Gene Shalit said, “It’s been said your courtship with your wife was unusually short—only a week.” To which Rostropovich replied: “Yes, that was big mistake.” Shallot was at a loss for words but managed to stammer back, “Really? A mistake?” “Yes,” the cellist replied, “that was one week lost.” Talk about wearing his heart on his sleeve!
Billy Mayerl: Waltz for a Lonely Heart
Composers needn’t be living in the same era to find inspiration on one another. After all, Prokofiev composed his “Classical” Symphony No. 1 two centuries after Haydn had died. Sometimes the influence comes from many directions at once. The music you hear in this clip might sound like Tchaikovsky…or Gershwin…or Borodin. But no—it’s British master of light music, Billy Mayerl!
Johann Sebastian Bach: Fugue in C minor, BWV 847
What is architecture? The design of buildings might be what comes first to mind, but there is architecture in many things, including music! In music, architecture takes the shape of organizing forms and principles. In this episode of Explore Music, Lisa Bergman presents one common pattern of musical organization: the fugue!
Debussy “La Mer”
Hydrology in Classical Music? Elements of nature are more common than you might think in classical music – particularly the theme of water. Debussy’s “La Mer” is an ironic masterpiece. It is a rich, musical description of the ocean, with incredible orchestration and color – composed by a man who was desperately prone to seasickness, and avoided sea travel at all costs!
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Sultan: The Flight of the Bumblebee (arr. Cziffra)
Some classical superstars are famous not only for their musical prowess, but also for overcoming tremendous setbacks to achieve greatness. Join KING FM’s Lisa Bergman on this episode of Explore Music as she delves into the life of one such master, who was known as “The Magical Hungarian Improviser.”
Arthur Pryor: The Whistler and His Dog
Arthur Pryor was a world-famous bandleader, trombonist and composer, known in part for his novelty marches. One of the most “novel” of all is this piece, which calls for a whistle and a barking dog in the orchestra!
Christian Sinding: A Rustle of Spring, Op.32/3
Brahms, Mendelssohn, Grieg and Schubert wrote a whole bunch of “Intermezzos,” but when it came time to score the 1936 Ingrid Bergman film “Intermezzo,” Hollywood chose none of these old standbys. Instead, they chose “A Rustle of Spring” from the obscure Norwegian composer Christian Sinding, launching him into unexpected fame.