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 28 - A Baritone's Ultimate Challenge
Gioachino Rossini: The Barber of Seville: Largo al factotum
This aria from Rossini’s comic opera “The Barber of Seville” is perhaps the most demanding few minutes of singing for any baritone. The range is wide, the tempo is fast…and the words present quite a difficult tongue-twister! Perhaps that’s why the aria’s repeated “Figaro” passage is one of the only operatic moments to make its way into popular culture.
MAY 27 - Setting a Musical Speed Record
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Sultan: The Flight of the Bumblebee (trans. Heifetz)
Earlier in this series, we learned how Niccolò Paganini started a violin revolution with his killer playing. Today we’re featuring violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who can play a whopping 16 notes per second! Believe it or not, that’s nothing compared to the honeybee’s wings, which beat about 8 times faster.
MAY 26 - Violin Divas
Niccolo Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor, Op.7 "La Campanella": III. Rondo
As a soloist, Paganini used to purposefully break two or three of his violin strings during performances, playing an entire piece on just one or two strings and wowing his audience. It’s awe-inspiring to imagine the Italian composer playing “La Campanella” with one string—most violinists find the piece challenging even with unbroken violins!
MAY 25 - An Empire Unto Herself
Douglas Moore: The Ballad of Baby Doe: "Gold is a fine thing"
Belle “Bubbles” Miriam Silverman was the busiest soprano in the world for a time. She sang one role 64 times in the space of two years. She appeared on multiple talk shows all over the world, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was called “an empire unto herself,” and took over as general director of the New York City Opera after her “retirement.” So why doesn’t that name ring a bell? Because it’s her birth name, not the stage name by which everyone in the world knows her: Beverly Sills.
MAY 24 - Unusual Instruments in the Orchestra
Hans Christian Lumbye: Champagne Galop
What is an instrument, anyway? Orchestras have as many as 33 different kinds of instruments--and sometimes composers go wild and add even more "instruments." Around New Year's Eve, one such instrument wannabe pops up pretty often. Listen to the clip and see if you can guess what it is!