Monday – Friday at 7:00 pm
Exploring Music is an adventure — an expedition through the world of classical music. We pick a theme each week and follow the music wherever it leads us. Over the years we’ve explored Shakespeare and music, have followed the lives of many composers (a sort of five-part mini-series), and visited the music of various locales — Paris, Venice, Spain, Hungary, the Pacific Rim. Each five-episode program is a musical journey that focuses on a particular, genre, music festival, or classical theme. It’s a sort of Outward Bound for music, with Bill McGlaughlin as our guide to make sure we all get home safe and sound.
Listeners' emailed suggestions have played a very important role in choosing themes. We’ve recorded over two hundred adventures, and the ideas keep turning up. We don’t think we’ll exhaust the possibilities. Exploring Music is familiar and welcoming, and is where you feel at home on your first visit and can’t wait to get back to sample what the series has come up with for its next five-episodes.
The player below features a continuous five hour loop of the most recent Exploring Music episode.
Game of Pairs, Part II
November 18, 2019
Our two-week series focusing on legendary partnerships between composers continues. This week starts in Paris with French impressionist composers Debussy and Ravel, focusing on their respective quartets. Bill then explores the friendship between Béla Bartôk and Zoltan Kodály, in particular their love of Hungarian folk music. In the middle of the week Bill tips his hat to the title of ...
Game of Pairs, Part I
November 11, 2019
Haydn and Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms, Copland and Bernstein — these are just a few of the legendary artistic partnerships that have changed the course of musical history. Bill explores the ways in which composers learn from the musicians who came before them. We’ll hear music from Vivaldi and how he influenced a young J.S. Bach, including in the Brandenburg ...
Dona Nobis Pacem
November 4, 2019
“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Leonard Bernstein said these words in response to the assassination of JFK. Sadly, half a century later, tens of thousands of people are killed by guns in the United States every year. This week Exploring Music borrows its title, Dona Nobis ...
The Gathering Storm: Music from the Great Depression to WW II
November 25, 2019
“Brother, can you spare a dime?” To ask this question is begging for money, but to sing these words expresses the deep personal hardships of the Great Depression. With the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression settling in, orchestras and record companies closed their doors, composers stopped getting commissions, and musicians joined the unemployment lines. Interestingly, during ...
Invitation to the Dance, Part II
December 2, 2019
Five hours of music composed for the stage, opera, and ballet — or music composed for dramatic representations. We start with Jean-Baptiste Lully, an Italian-born French composer, instrumentalist, and as Bill says, “the most ‘dancingist’ composer who ever lived. ” We’ll also focus on ballet music by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Schubert and even Beethoven! On Wednesday’s program we will dance to ...
I Hear a Rhapsody
December 16, 2019
We’ve borrowed our title from the 1941 jazz standard, but what is a rhapsody? In music, Grove defines a rhapsody as “an episodic instrumental composition of indefinite form.” Rhapsodies came to be based on folk melodies, and composers in the 19th century began writing rhapsodies for chamber music and for symphonic orchestras. There are Hungarian Rhapsodies, Slavonic Rhapsodies, Blue Rhapsodies, ...
Handel, George Frideric
December 23, 2019
GF Handel, born the same year as JS Bach and Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti — 1685 — had a distinct sound that married his German roots with his new country of England. We’ll have a weeklong look at the life and music of England’s most celebrated German composer. Since the Baroque era, many of his works are played every year since ...