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.
AUGUST 22 - Strange Instruments in the Orchestra
Leroy Anderson: The Typewriter
What is an instrument, anyway? In a typical symphonic piece, you’ll probably hear strings, winds and brass. But composer Leroy Anderson loved to use ticking clocks, sleigh bells and more in the orchestra to subvert audiences’ expectations. One of Anderson’s biggest instrumental surprises was a typewriter, heard here.
AUGUST 21 - Setting a Musical Speed Record
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Sultan: The Flight of the Bumblebee (trans. Heifetz)
Earlier in this series, we learned how Niccolò Paganini started a violin revolution with his killer playing. Today we’re featuring violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who can play a whopping 16 notes per second! Believe it or not, that’s nothing compared to the honeybee’s wings, which beat about 8 times faster.
AUGUST 20 - Mozart as a Child Composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Flute Sonata No. 4 in F, K.13: I. Allegro
Mozart was so young when he wrote his first piece for violin and piano that he needed his father’s help—not to write the music, but to hold the pencil! Listen to this piece played on a harpsichord, which Mozart used for playing and composing at home before the modern piano was invented. The harpsichord sounds different because its strings are plucked, whereas on a piano, the strings produce sound when little hammers strike them.
AUGUST 19 - Musical Impressionism
Maurice Ravel: "Une barque sur l'océan"
Elements of nature are more common than you might think in classical music--particularly the theme of water. This piece is a masterful example of impressionism, an artistic style portraying impressions of sight, sound, smell and taste in a sensuous haze. It really captures the movement of the ocean, the tiny glimmers of sunlight on top of waves, the storms surging, the calm glassy surface. It's so effective that you'll want to keep your dramamine handy!
AUGUST 18 - Romantic Secrets
Georges Bizet: Carmen: "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée"
Lisa Bergman’s own romantic secret: If Plácido Domingo is singing, she becomes a complete and instant pushover! Even better, if you take “Carmen,” an opera composed by a hopeless romantic, set it to a libretto in the language of love, and assign the role to a Spanish heartthrob, she’s putty in your hands!