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.
JULY 22 - Beautiful Brevity in Classical Music
Leroy Anderson: Melody on Two Notes
Our English teachers always told us that great writing is saying what you mean with the fewest number of words. The American composer Leroy Anderson took this to the extreme—he created a melody using only two notes. The melody never gets boring thanks to a lovely harmony that floats peacefully underneath.
JULY 21 - A bendable instrument
Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E flat, S. 49: III.Rondo
In its earliest form, the trumpet was made of everything from ceramic to silver, and they used to be so long and unwieldy that musicians learned how to bend them! Now, though trumpets are available in all shapes and sizes, there’s one standard size—easy to hold, but still incredibly difficult to play!
Learn more about this piece from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's program notes.
JULY 20 - Mozart's Most Organized Fan
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K. 626: Introitus
Mozart was terrible at keeping track of his compositions and even refused to write opus numbers or dates on his sheet music. Thank goodness, then, for Ludwig Ritter von Köchel, who later catalogued all of Mozart’s music, numbering them according to the order in which they were written and categorizing them by subgenre. No one had an idea just how much music Mozart wrote—not even the composer himself—until Köchel’s extraordinary cataloging work.
JULY 19 - 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!
JULY 18 - The Sun King and his Court Musician
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.