Explore Music

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Tune in every night at 6 for a two-minute listening adventure packed with fun facts and stories about great classical music! Have questions, comments or ideas? Email the Explore Music host, Lisa Bergman.

Support for KING FM’s Explore Music is made possible by the generosity of Diana Carey, Suzanne Poppema and John Cramer, Cookie and Ken Neil, Jim Roark, Sheila and Craig Sternberg, Patricia Tall-Takacs and Gary Takacs, and Jean Viereck.


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November 14 – Copland’s Birthday

Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Aaron Copland knew a thing or two about the power of brevity. In this piece, dedicated to those who fought in World War II, he used only percussion and brass, creating a starkly moving sound that won him the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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November 15 – Special Effects

Maurice Ravel: Bolero
In 1928, Maurice Ravel was commissioned to compose a new ballet score as an experiment. It was meant to be almost entirely uniform in its melody, harmony and rhythm, with the only element of variety to be supplied by the orchestral crescendo. It became a worldwide sensation, much to Ravel’s embarrassment. He said of his most famous piece, “It seems I have written only one masterpiece, the Bolero. Unfortunately, there is no music in it at all.”

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November 16 – Mozart for the Brain

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…?

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November 17 – Little Romantic Secrets

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!

November 18 – Heavenly Hybrid

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!

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November 19 – Architecture

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!

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November 20 – Water in Classical Music

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!

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November 21 – Classical Superstars

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.”

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November 22 – Instrument Wannabe

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!