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 1 - The Clamor and the Clangor
Leroy Anderson: The Classical Jukebox
Orchestras have as many as 33 different kinds of instruments, but sometimes composers go wild and pull even more “instruments” into the mix, adding to the clamor and clangor. Leroy Anderson, clever as ever, composed a piece that creates musical imagery of a jukebox changing records and even getting stuck on one musical passage when the needle stops moving!
MARCH 31 - The Triangle
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird: Finale, "General Rejoicing"
The percussion section has an entire treasure trove of weird instruments at its disposal. The triangle, for example, produces a handful of different noises depending on how forcefully or quickly a musician strikes it. Listen for its magisterial bell-like noise at the end of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” finale.
Learn more about the triangle, and hear a rendition of the Nutcracker Suite played exclusively on bicycle parts.
MARCH 30 - The Presidential Medal of Freedom
Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Aaron Copland knew a thing or two about the power of brevity. In this piece, dedicated to those who fought in World War II, he used only percussion and brass, creating a starkly moving sound that won him the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
MARCH 29 - Gus Painter, John S. Brook, and Fred Sour Cream
Bedrich Smetana: My Country: II. The Moldau
Some composers' names might be hard to pronounce, but they sure sound better than they would in English. Giuseppe Verdi’s name, for example, would be Joe Green; Gustav Mahler would be Gus Painter; and Johann S. Bach would be John S. Brook. And in this same alternate universe, Czech composer Bedrich Smetana’s name is Fred Sour Cream! In Fred’s honor, here is an excerpt from his famous “Moldau,” a piece inspired by the Czech river running through hundreds of miles of dairyland.
MARCH 28 - Tambourine Virtuosi
Georges Bizet: Carmen: Bohemian Dance
Those who believe just about anyone can play the tambourine clearly haven’t heard the Bohemian Dance from Bizet’s spectacular opera “Carmen!” Most people have trouble picking up this deceptively simple-looking instrument without making a sound, so one can only imagine what talent it takes to play this gypsy-inspired passage.