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.
FEBRUARY 27 - One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure
Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 83: II. Allegro appassionato
Seems like that tired expression is true: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Brahms’ contemporaries didn’t have very nice things to say about his second piano concerto. Hugo Wolf called the piece “the nutritional equivalent of window glass, cork stoppers and stove pipes.” Upon hearing the piece, Tchaikovsky exclaimed of Brahms, “what a giftless so-and-so!” Yikes! Despite its initial reception from composer peers, Brahms’ piano concerto No. 2 went on to become one of the most popular solo piano works of all time.
FEBRUARY 26 - Versailles' Composer in Residence
Jean-Baptiste Lully: Noble Dances
Jean-Baptiste Lully loved to incorporate social commentary into his compositions. In this satirical ballet, the composer pokes fun at the snobbish high society of 17th century France. Ironically, Lully was the official composer for Louis XIV and was in complete control of royal music at the palace of Versailles. Louis XIV earned his nickname, The Sun King, when he danced the role of Apollo in Lully’s ballet of the same name.
Learn more about the "Sun King" in this Wikipedia article.
FEBRUARY 25 - The Mississippi Saxophone
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Romance
A musical “Romance” might evoke scenes of an English countryside, complete with sheep, rolling hills, a sunrise and…a harmonica?! Only a genius composer such as the English Ralph Vaughan Williams could take the ol’ Mississippi Saxophone and make it sound downright pastoral!
FEBRUARY 24 - Felix and Fanny
Fanny Mendelssohn: Song Without Words, Op. 8 No. 3
Felix Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny, grew up with equal encouragement and support from their loving parents. She became an accomplished pianist and composer as a child and went on to write some 500 pieces. But there was one big problem: because she was a woman, no one would publish her music. So she cut a deal with her brother: after writing a series of "Songs Without Words," she asked Felix to publish the set for her. Musicologists still have a hard time figuring out which of these songs were composed by her and which were written by Felix.
FEBRUARY 23 - Strange Instruments in the Orchestra
Leroy Anderson: The Typewriter
What is an instrument, anyway? In a typical symphonic piece, you’ll probably hear strings, winds and brass. But composer Leroy Anderson loved to use ticking clocks, sleigh bells and more in the orchestra to subvert audiences’ expectations. One of Anderson’s biggest instrumental surprises was a typewriter, heard here.