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 5 - 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.
MAY 4 - Irony in Opera
Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto: "La donna è mobile"
One of the most famous arias of all time is also one of the best examples of irony in popular culture. In this aria from the opera “Rigoletto,” the Duke of Mantua complains that the woman he tries to woo is fickle, too often flitting from man to man. Ironic, since the Duke himself is indecisive when it comes to women!
MAY 3 - Expression Without Words
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachiana Brasileira No. 5
Sometimes, music says it best when it says nothing at all. Such is the case in Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Bachiana Brasileira No. 5,” which calls for a soprano soloist to sing an entire aria on the sound “ah.” Who knew so few words could evoke such strong emotion?
Read more about the diva who sang this and more, Anna Moffo.
MAY 2 - The Ultimate Bass Aria
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Abduction from the Seraglio, K.384: "O, wie will ich triumphieren"
Mozart composed one of the highest arias of his time in “The Magic Flute,” and it’s recognizable worldwide. Though he’s less touted for it, he also composed one of the lowest arias in the history of opera in “Abduction from the Seraglio.” The aria calls for a bass soloist to sing a low D. Listen and marvel!
MAY 1 - Europe's Oldest Music
Anonymous: Ut queant laxis
Exactly how old is Gregorian chant? So old that it is literally the source of all European classical music following its invention. Before Gregorian chant, which began to crop up in monasteries around 600 AD, it was widely believed that music was simply impossible to notate. It’s thanks to chant that modern-day musicians can glance at lines and dots on a page and make wonderful music.