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June 29 – Anderson’s Birthday

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.

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June 30 – Instrument Wannabe

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!

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July 1 – Classical Superstars

Chopin: Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op.66
When legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz, heard here, played a comeback concert in New York, 57th Street was lined with hordes of fans hoping to score a ticket. When Horowitz heard about the crowd waiting outside in the cold, he immediately ordered hundreds of cups of coffee to thank them for their undying support!

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July 2 – Classical Superstars

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.

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June 21 – Passione

Leo Delibes: Lakmé: Flower Duet
There are thousands of examples of passion and romance in classical music. But Delibes’ opera “Lakmé” is so romantic that the thick canopy of jasmine described in this hypnotic duet seems to exude both sound and scent. It’s a miracle of melody—two delicate lines interwoven almost as one, accompanied by the gentle pizzicato of strings.

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June 22 – Recycling

Milhaud: Scaramouche, Op.165b
Sometimes, just like the rest of us, composers are on a deadline.  When this is the case, they do what others sometimes do: they cut corners.  Join KING FM’s Lisa Bergman on this episode pf Explore Music to hear about one such circumstance in the life of composer Darius Milhaud and its unexpected consequences!

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June 23 – Classical Superstars

Johann Strauss, Jr.: On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op.314 (arr. Gearhart)
Some performers make their way in the classical music world by carving out their own unique niche.  On this episode of Explore Music, join Lisa Bergman as she shares the story of one such musical team that performed as a piano-four-hands duo, doing things unlike anyone else!

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June 24 – Special Effects

Georges Bizet: Carmen: Bohemian Dance
Those who believe just about anyone can play the tambourine clearly haven’t heard the Bohemian Dance from Bizet’s spectacular opera “Carmen!” Most people have trouble picking up this deceptively simple-looking instrument without making a sound, so one can only imagine what talent it takes to play this inspired passage.

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June 25 – What’s in a Name

Villa-Lobos: Dance of the White Indian (from Ciclo Brasileiro)
Composers have been able to get away with some seriously questionable claims.  Take for instance Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos’s claim that he had native Brazilian ancestry, despite the fact that he almost certainly had 100% Spanish ancestry.  Furthermore, regarding his piece on the subject, he claimed that it was a dance… which it isn’t.  Yeesh.