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.
JANUARY 31 - The Original "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Variations in C on "Ah, vous dirai-je, maman," K.265
You probably recognize the melody in the first part of this piano piece—but did you know that song wasn’t originally called “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”? The English nursery rhyme we’ve all heard is actually based on a French folk song called “Ah, vous dirai-je, maman,” first heard when Mozart was a child.
JANUARY 30 - The Mozart Effect
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata in D for two pianos, K. 448: I. Allegro con spirito
While we’ve all heard of the Mozart Effect—that listening to Mozart’s music can boost intelligence—it seems that one piece in particular offers the biggest dose of brain food. Apparently, listening the Sonata for Two Pianos, K. 448, for just 10 to 15 minutes can raise one’s spatial-temporal IQ by nine points. Even if you’re skeptical, there’s no reason NOT to listen, right…?
JANUARY 29 - 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.
JANUARY 28 - Great Conductors in Classical Music
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125: II. Molto vivace - presto
Watch the legendary Hungarian 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.
JANUARY 27 - A Bedpost with Indigestion
Carl Maria von Weber: Hungarian Fantasy, Op. 35 J.158
The bassoon is a soulful, humble instrument. It seems to have found its niche buried in the back of the orchestra, and it is often the butt of jokes: it was once said the bassoon is nothing more than a bedpost with indigestion! So it’s a pleasant surprise to hear seldom-composed bassoon solos like this one.