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.
SEPTEMBER 21 - The most famous intermezzo
Christian Sindig: A Rustle of Spring, Op. 32 No. 3
Brahms, Mendelssohn, Grieg and Schubert wrote a whole bunch of “Intermezzos,” but when it came time to score the 1936 Ingrid Bergman film “Intermezzo,” Hollywood chose none of these old standbys. Instead, they chose “A Rustle of Spring” from the obscure Norwegian composer Christian Sinding, launching him into unexpected fame.
SEPTEMBER 20 - Nature in Classical Music
Felix Mendelssohn: The Hebrides Overture: Op. 26 "Fingal's Cave"
In 1830, Mendelssohn sent his sister, also a composer, a letter containing the opening phrase of this piece during a trip to Fingal’s Cave on an island off the coast of Scotland. The cave is a mass of beautiful basalt columns, and one can hear mysterious echoing noises from inside. In the letter, Mendelssohn wrote: "In order to make you understand how extraordinarily The Hebrides affected me, I send you the following, which came into my head there.”
SEPTEMBER 19 - Great Conductors in History
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67: II. Andante con moto
So you want to be a conductor? Lest you think it’s as easy as counting to four, think about the musical background of some of history’s greatest composers: Eugene Ormandy was a former violinist; Toscanini a cellist; and Seattle’s own Gerard Schwarz a trumpeter. Before they found their ultimate calling, these men all achieved excellence on the other side of the stage!
SEPTEMBER 18 - Expression Without Words
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachiana Brasileira No. 5
Sometimes, music says it best when it says nothing at all. Such is the case in Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Bachiana Brasileira No. 5,” which calls for a soprano soloist to sing an entire aria on the sound “ah.” Who knew so few words could evoke such strong emotion?
Read more about the diva who sang this and more, Anna Moffo.
SEPTEMBER 17 - Europe's Oldest Music
Anonymous: Ut queant laxis
Exactly how old is Gregorian chant? So old that it is literally the source of all European classical music following its invention. Before Gregorian chant, which began to crop up in monasteries around 600 AD, it was widely believed that music was simply impossible to notate. It’s thanks to chant that modern-day musicians can glance at lines and dots on a page and make wonderful music.