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.
APRIL 26 - The Mount Everest of Arias
Gaetano Donizetti: The Daughter of the Regiment: "Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête"
This aria from Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” is considered to be the Mount Everest for tenors: it ain’t no picnic to climb, but there’s an immense sense of satisfaction awaiting anyone who reaches the top. Donizetti cruelly places a string of nine high Cs in a row right smack in the middle of the solo, which few tenors can sing passably. But guess which portly Italian opera legend used to knock it out of the park? That’s right: Luciano Pavarotti.
Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (whew!) has to have the longest name of all the famous composers—and that’s saying something! But when it came to composing, Puccini seemed to know that the simplest melodies made for the most unforgettable music. Just listen to the tenor aria “Nessun Dorma” from his opera “Turandot,” familiar to nearly everyone in the world. The soloist moves audiences to tears just by singing the same note in different octaves in the first two phrases.
APRIL 24 - Music for Naptime
Leopold Mozart: Toy Symphony
How do parents get the baby to stop crying? They bounce the little tykes up and down, tell jokes…or write lively symphonies! Leopold Mozart was just like any other dad—he just wanted baby Wolfgang Amadeus to stop crying! He composed his famous “Toy Symphony” when W.A. Mozart was just three years old, though there’s no proof that the symphony did its job in shushing the baby prodigy.
APRIL 23 - Tick, Tick, Tick
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.
APRIL 22 - Novelty Music
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!