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.
MARCH 26 - The Gong in Classical Music
Carl Orff: Carmina Burana: O Fortuna
Few sounds can make the hair on the back of one’s neck stand up without fail. The sound of a huge gong is one of them! Gongs come in all different sizes, measuring anywhere from 20 inches to six feet in diameter. Listen for the gong in this passage from Carl Orff’s cantata “Carmina Burana” and try to guess how big it is.
MARCH 25 - The Bartók Pizzicato
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No. 4, Sz. 91: IV. Allegretto pizzicato
Can you hear a difference between Johann Strauss’ “Pizzicato Polka” and this movement? That’s the sound of the strings being plucked so hard that they’re slapping against the instruments’ fingerboards—a sound effect Bartók himself pioneered.
MARCH 24 - Stage Names
Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana: "Voi lo sapete, o mamma"
It should come as no surprise that many of classical music’s big names were born with, well, different names. Eugene Ormandy started life as Jenö Blau, Beverly Sills as Belle Silverman and Richard Tucker as Rivn Ticker. It’s not always clear why public figures change their names, but in the case of legendary soprano Maria Callas, the reason is obvious. Her birth name was—are you ready?—Anna Maria Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulou!
MARCH 23 - Part-Time Composers
John Alden Carpenter: Adventures in a Perambulator: The Lake
With unemployment figures constantly in the news, some aspiring composers out there might be wary to take on such a risky profession as composing. But don’t forget, composing doesn’t have to be a full-time job—it can also be a hobby on the side! There are plenty of noteworthy part-time composers, such as scientist Alexander Borodin, Emperor Fredrick II the Great, and John Alden Carpenter, who graduated from Harvard and oversaw his family’s mill supply company.