Peter Warlock - I saw a fair maiden
Johannes Brahms Schaffe In Mir, Gott, Op.29/2
Zoltan Kodaly Veni, veni Emmanuel
Modeste Mussorgsky (orch. Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition
Ketty Nez Beyond Release
Explore Music 
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.

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DECEMBER 22 - Write What You (Don't) Know
Robert MacGimsey: Sweet Little Jesus Boy

 
 

“Sweet Little Jesus Boy” sounds like it was written by someone pious and familiar with the ways of gospel music, doesn’t it? Ironically, the composer, Robert MacGimsey, had never composed a spiritual before and got the inspiration for this song while walking home from bawdy night out at New York City’s speakeasies. 



 

DECEMBER 21 -  From the Von Trapps to the Black Eyed Peas
Katherine Kennicott Davis: Carol of the Drum

 
 

Ever done background checks on Christmas Carols? A little research reveals that our beloved “Little Drummer Boy” came from the piece “Carol of the Drum,” composed by American composer Katherine Kennicott Davis. The famous Von Trapp Family recorded Davis’ piece a decade later and catapulted it into worldwide fame, and since then, more than 220 versions of the song have been performed by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Bing Crosby to the Black Eyed Peas.

Hear the Little Drummer Boy played on oboe...or, for something completely different, hear Bing Crosby and David Bowie team up for a rendition!
 

 

DECEMBER 20 -  The Instrument of Angels
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Op. 71: Waltz of the Flowers

 
 

What instrument in the orchestra makes the music of angels, plays up to seven octaves, has seven pedals, and can take up to 47 minutes—one minute per string—to tune? The harp! In its early stages, the instrument was quite small and popular among folk musicians. Its larger, louder, more modern incarnation has made its way into compositions from all the key composers starting in the late 18th century.

Learn more about the harp, and find out what local harpists are up to right now.
 

 

DECEMBER 19 - 1,001 Nights of Stories
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op. 35: I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship

 
 

Rimsky-Korsakov’s fascination with Eastern culture is seen in this piece, inspired by a story about an evil Sultan who vows to kill each of his wives after the first night of the wedding. This piece is the musical story of one wife who escaped her fate by telling the Sultan a riveting story that ended on a cliffhanger each night—for 1,001 nights in a row! Finally, on the last night, the Sultan gives up his horrible plan altogether and lets his wife live.

Learn more about the story behind Scherazade, and watch an animated feature set to Rimsky-Korsakov's music.

 

DECEMBER 18 - Swan Song
Camille Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals: The Swan

 
 

Camille Saint-Saens captured the incredible sight of a gorgeous white swan moving effortlessly across the surface of a mirror-like lake by using the simplest of tools: A violin playing a sustaining melody gliding quietly, beautifully, effortlessly, over the gently paddling notes of the piano.

Learn more about Camille Saint-Saëns.

 



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