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.
NOVEMBER 26 - The British master of light music
Billy Mayerl: Waltz for a Lonely Heart
Composers needn’t be living in the same era to find inspiration on one another. After all, Prokofiev composed his “Classical” Symphony No. 1 two centuries after Haydn had died. Sometimes the influence comes from many directions at once. The music you hear in this clip might sound like Tchaikovsky…or Gershwin…or Borodin. But no—it’s British master of light music, Billy Mayerl!
NOVEMBER 25 - The Mozart Effect
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C, K.551 "Jupiter": IV. Finale
Several studies have shown that listening to classical music, including Mozart, has positive effects on the human brain. But what about the effects it has on…food? One Japanese fruit company claims its bananas ripen better when Mozart is playing. Even crazier, a sake brewery claimed its rice wine tasted milder and smelled richer when it was exposed to Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in the brewing process!
NOVEMBER 24 - The Doghouse Bass
Giovanni Bottesini: Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B minor: I. Allegro moderato
The lowest and biggest instrument in the orchestra is, of course, the double bass—also called string bass, upright bass and—though we don’t know why—doghouse bass! At about six feet tall, it stands higher than its average player and has an enormous range, though is most familiar to us when it’s playing low notes.
NOVEMBER 23 - ...And They Lived Happily Ever After
Louis Spohr: Sonata in G for Violin and Harp, Op.115: I. Allegro
German violinist Louis Spohr was busy composing, conducting and inventing—but was he too busy for love? Not on your life! He married harpist Dorette Schiedler on the promise that they’d play violin and harp duets together forevermore. It’s because of this promise that he composed gobs of duets for these two instruments, which happen to go great together when the violin is tuned a half step below its default key.
NOVEMBER 22 - A Plucky Musical Technique
Johann Strauss, Jr.: Pizzicato Polka
Can you spot the difference between this and other orchestra pieces? What’s missing from the musicians’ hands? That’s right—the bow! The technique of playing a stringed instrument by plucking its strings is called “pizzicato.”