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, and Patricia Tall-Takacs and Gary Takacs.
JUNE 29 - Pizzicato and Palm Swipe
Leroy Anderson: Plink, Plank, Plunk
The entire family of stringed instruments--violins, violas, cellos--are played by drawing a bow across the strings, making a continuous singing sound. Well...almost all the time: every now and then, composers insert a different effect. In this case, the string section was asked to pluck the strings. Plus, listen for an extra-special effect known as the palm swipe.
JUNE 28 - 1,001 Nights of Stories
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op. 35: I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship
Rimsky-Korsakov’s fascination with Eastern culture is seen in this piece, inspired by a story about an evil Sultan who vows to kill each of his wives after the first night of the wedding. This piece is the musical story of one wife who escaped her fate by telling the Sultan a riveting story that ended on a cliffhanger each night—for 1,001 nights in a row! Finally, on the last night, the Sultan gives up his horrible plan altogether and lets his wife live.
JUNE 27 - "If it's rubbish they want, it's rubbish they'll get!"
Georges Bizet: Carmen: "Votre toast...je peux vous le render"
Believe it or not, this world-famous opera was once loathed…by the performers who premiered it! Word has it the male and female leads both hated the showpiece arias Bizet had written for them and demanded he rewrite them. The French composer scrambled to rewrite the now-ubiquitous aria “Votre toast…he peux vous le render,” reportedly grumbling all the while, “If it’s rubbish they want, it’s rubbish they’ll get!”
JUNE 26 - Plucky Pieces
Léo Delibes: Sylvia: Pizzicato Polka
The entire family of stringed instruments is played by drawing a bow across the strings, making a continuous singing sound...most of the time. Every now and then, composers insert a different effect such as pizzicato, the act of plucking the strings. Delibes' Pizzicato Polka
asks the instruments to pluck their strings the whole way through, a rare find in classical music!
JUNE 25 - The Bartók Pizzicato
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No. 4, Sz. 91: IV. Allegretto pizzicato
Can you hear a difference between Johann Strauss’ “Pizzicato Polka” and this movement? That’s the sound of the strings being plucked so hard that they’re slapping against the instruments’ fingerboards—a sound effect Bartók himself pioneered.