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.
MAY 23 - A Bone-Chilling Instrument
Camille Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre, Op. 40
Good composers can paint pictures of just about anything with the right orchestration. Camille Saint-Saëns, in his genius, used xylophones in his “Danse Macabre” to make listeners think of skeletons. What is it about the xylophone that makes us think of bones?
Learn more about Camille Saint-Saens here. Still not sure about the difference between xylophones and marimbas? Read up here.
MAY 22 - Resolutions in Classical Music
Richard Wagner: Tristan and Isolde: Prelude
Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Classical music makes tons of resolutions all year long, but they have little to do with diet or exercise! But just like a massage, they resolve tension…harmonic tension, that is! In the Prelude from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” for example, the entire 111-bar opening is one gooey, voluptuous string of question marks. But just when you feel like Sherlock Holmes ready to pounce on a resolution, one note slips, and you lose your toehold, swimming once again in the deep end. Not all building tension results in resolution…sometimes it just seduces the listener into the next question mark!
MAY 21 - Professional Procrastination
Gioachino Rossini: The Thieving Magpie: Overture
Famous for his speed in composing, Rossini once said, "Give me a laundry list, and I will set it to music." But he was also famous for his procrastination. The producer of Rossini's opera, "The Thieving Magpie," was so desperate for the overdue overture that he locked Rossini in a hotel room so he'd finish it on time. Rossini threw each finished page out the window and onto the street so the copyists could rush to finish scores for the waiting orchestra. His most quotable quote might just be this: "Nothing primes inspiration more than necessity."
MAY 20 - A Love Letter to Spain
Manuel de Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain: I. In the Generalife
Spanish composer Manuel de Falla magically captured the essence of Spain with rhythm, melody and texture. This three-movement work is actually a piano concerto, but the piano is more a source of color than a spotlight showpiece, accompanying strings in a love ballad and imitating the sounds of Spanish fountains and castanets.
MAY 19 - Melodic Miracles
Leo Delibes: Lakmé: "Sous le dôme épais"
There are thousands of examples of passion and romance in classical music. But Delibes’ opera “Lakmé” is so romantic that the thick canopy of jasmine described in this hypnotic duet seems to exude both sound and scent. It’s a miracle of melody—two delicate lines interwoven almost as one, accompanied by the gentle pizzicato of strings.