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, and Jean Viereck.
AUGUST 1 - Underwater Music
Camille Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium
We’ve learned about catgut strings and insects in classical music—and as it turns out, fish and seaweed also have a place in the classical world! In his “Carnival of the Animals: The Aquarium,” he uses only strings, two pianos, and the shimmering glockenspiel to capture images of liquid light and undulating waves.
JULY 31 - The Classical Zoo
Leroy Anderson: The Waltzing Cat
Who says classical music is stiff and formal? With all its oils, rosins and spit valves, and its instrumental materials ranging from elephant tusks to pipes of wood from the jungles of Brazil, classical music sounds like a cross between a zoo and an automotive garage if you ask us! And hey, with all those pieces emulating animal sounds, calling it a zoo isn’t far off. In this piece, “The Waltzing Cat,” the strings slip and slide between notes to achieve sounds of meowing, hissing and scratching.
JULY 30 - Bendable Brass
Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E flat, S.49: III. Rondo
In its earliest form, the trumpet was made of everything from ceramic to silver, and they used to be so long and unwieldy that musicians learned how to bend them! Now, though trumpets are available in all shapes and sizes, there’s one standard size—easy to hold, but still incredibly difficult to play!
JULY 29 - The Music of Angels
Maurice Ravel: Introduction and Allegro
What instrument in the orchestra makes the music of angels, plays up to seven octaves, has seven pedals, and can take up to 47 minutes—one minute per string—to tune? The harp! In its early stages, the instrument was quite small and popular among folk musicians. Its larger, louder, more modern incarnation has made its way into compositions from all the key composers starting in the late 18th century.
JULY 28 - Buried musical treasure
Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in D Minor
Everyone loves Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. But what about this excellent violin concerto, which Yehudi Menuhin resurrected after the piece had lain dormant for 130 years? Word has it the piece was passed down through generations of Mendelssohns, barely noticed, until a rare books dealer took interest in the manuscript and showed his violinist friend. The rest is history: now this electrifying concerto is beloved in classical circles!