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, and Jean Viereck.
OCTOBER 4 - The glorious tuba
Ralph Vaughan William: Tuba Concerto in F minor: I. Allegro moderato
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Tuba Concerto in F minor: I. Allegro moderato
Tubas are best known for bellowing out those low “oom-pah” sounds you hear from the back of large orchestras, so Vaughan Williams was at first maligned for his idea to compose an entire concerto centered on this large instrument. But Vaughan Williams got the last laugh: today, his tuba concerto is among his most popular compositions.
For information on the history of the tuba read here.
OCTOBER 3 - A plucking piano
Léo Delibes: Sylvia: Pizzicato Polka
The pizzicato technique isn’t just for stringed instruments! The staccato, or short, sound of a plucked string can be imitated by a piano player, too, as shown here.
For a sneaky little grey mouse version watch here.
OCTOBER 2 - The licorice stick
Leroy Anderson: Clarinet Candy
What’s about 26 inches long, uses a single reed and is often called a licorice stick? The clarinet! This instrument has found its way into jazz halls, symphonies, marching bands and klezmer bands due to its versatile sound. It can sound sad and soulful, sensual and acrobatic, or just plain silly, as in Leroy Anderson’s piece “Clarinet Candy.”
For information on the history of the clarinet read here.
OCTOBER 1 - Horowitz's birthday
Frédéric Chopin: Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op.66
When legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz, heard here, played a comeback concert in New York, 57th Street was lined with hordes of fans hoping to score a ticket. When Horowitz heard about the crowd waiting outside in the cold, he immediately ordered hundreds of cups of coffee to thank them for their undying support!
SEPTEMBER 30 - Anniversary of the premiere of The Magic Flute
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Magic Flute, K.620: Queen of the Night's Aria
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. For a 14 year-old boy singing this very challenging aria watch here.