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.
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.
NOVEMBER 27 - Vaudevillian Softshoe in the Orchestra
Leroy Anderson: Sandpaper Ballet
Percussionists are great at making sounds on hundreds of different instruments—even those that aren’t normally seen outside of the hardware store! In this piece, Leroy Anderson asks percussionists to imitate the sound of vaudevillian softshoe with two knobbed blocks covered in sandpaper.
NOVEMBER 26 - The British master of light music
Billy Mayerl: Waltz for a Lonely Heart
Composers needn’t be living in the same era to find inspiration on one another. After all, Prokofiev composed his “Classical” Symphony No. 1 two centuries after Haydn had died. Sometimes the influence comes from many directions at once. The music you hear in this clip might sound like Tchaikovsky…or Gershwin…or Borodin. But no—it’s British master of light music, Billy Mayerl!
NOVEMBER 25 - The Mozart Effect
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C, K.551 "Jupiter": IV. Finale
Several studies have shown that listening to classical music, including Mozart, has positive effects on the human brain. But what about the effects it has on…food? One Japanese fruit company claims its bananas ripen better when Mozart is playing. Even crazier, a sake brewery claimed its rice wine tasted milder and smelled richer when it was exposed to Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in the brewing process!
NOVEMBER 24 - The Doghouse Bass
Giovanni Bottesini: Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B minor: I. Allegro moderato
The lowest and biggest instrument in the orchestra is, of course, the double bass—also called string bass, upright bass and—though we don’t know why—doghouse bass! At about six feet tall, it stands higher than its average player and has an enormous range, though is most familiar to us when it’s playing low notes.