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 28 - Mozart's Unusual Instruments
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Adagio and Rondo in C minor, K.617
Sometimes, composers feel like venturing outside the traditional realm of classical music. Even those who typically wrote music for standard instruments—strings, woodwinds, brass, piano—liked to experiment every now and then. In this piece, Mozart spices things up with a glass harmonica, which produces a sound akin to a set of tuned wine glasses!
Watch more glass harmonica performances here and here.
APRIL 27 - A Lofty Operatic Challenge
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Magic Flute, K.620: "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen"
Operatic sopranos sure can sing high, but few are up to the lofty challenge of this aria—the Queen of the Night’s “Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,” or “The Vengeance of Hell Boils in my Heart.” The aria reaches a high F, which in the opera of Mozart’s time was virtually unheard of. These days, the Queen of the Night’s aria is considered the biggest highlight in the world’s most widely performed opera.
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.