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.
JULY 28 - Buried musical treasure
Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in D Minor
Everyone loves Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. But what about this excellent violin concerto, which Yehudi Menuhin resurrected after the piece had lain dormant for 130 years? Word has it the piece was passed down through generations of Mendelssohns, barely noticed, until a rare books dealer took interest in the manuscript and showed his violinist friend. The rest is history: now this electrifying concerto is beloved in classical circles!
JULY 27 - Great Conductors in Classical Music
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125: II. Molto vivace - presto
Watch the legendary Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini conduct one of Beethoven’s most famous works. At its premiere in 1824, the piece was considered modern, dissonant and slightly controversial, but in the present day, the composer’s last symphony is considered one of the greatest classical works of all time.
JULY 26 - 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.
JULY 25 - 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.
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.