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.
OCTOBER 10 - Verdi's Birthday
Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto: La donna e mobile
One of the most famous arias of all time is also one of the best examples of irony in popular culture. In this aria from the opera “Rigoletto,” the Duke of Mantua complains that the woman he tries to woo is fickle, too often flitting from man to man. Ironic, since the Duke himself is indecisive when it comes to women!
OCTOBER 9 - Saint-Saëns' Birthday
Camille Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals: The Swan
Camille Saint-Saens captured the incredible sight of a gorgeous white swan moving effortlessly across the surface of a mirror-like lake by using the simplest of tools: A violin playing a sustaining melody gliding quietly, beautifully, effortlessly, over the gently paddling notes of the piano.
OCTOBER 8 - A ticking rhythm
Leroy Anderson: The Syncopated Clock
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 typewriters, sleigh bells and more in the orchestra to subvert audiences’ expectations. Here’s a favorite Anderson composition, featuring a “clock” (it’s really a set of temple blocks) with an unexpected ticking rhythm.
For a definition of syncopation read here.
OCTOBER 7 - The whistling march
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!
OCTOBER 6 - The little flute that could
Antonio Vivaldi: Piccolo Concerto in C
What instrument in the orchestra is by far the smallest, yet can easily be heard above the fray of even the largest ensembles? The piccolo, of course! It’s invaluable for its ability to produce extremely high notes. One of the most familiar compositions using the piccolo is the Sousa march “Stars and Stripes Forever,” but before Sousa was even born, the piccolo was immortalized in a series of concertos written by Vivaldi. Give one of them a listen!
For information on the history of the piccolo read here.