May 2016 programs on Exploring Music

May 2016 programs on Exploring Music

Weeknights at 7:00 p.m.

The sometimes controviersial Wagner is the subject of Exploring Music during the week of 5/16.

This month Bill McGlaughlin continues his exploratinon of the symphony, celebrates over 200 years of Wagner and nods to Beethoven, Vaughan Williams and Richard Strauss.

Week of May 2, 2016 - The Symphony, Part VIII  Continuing our massive series in examining the symphony, widely considered one of the most important forms of classical music. Our exploration this week continues with music from composers born around 1880. Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Vaughan Williams will be featured.

Week of May 9, 2016 - I Hear a Rhapsody  We've borrowed our title from the 1941 jazz standard, but what is a rhapsody? In music, Grove defines a rhapsody is "an episodic instrumental composition of indefinite form." The word originates in the epic poetry of Ancient Greece, although the musical origins are traced back only as far as humble ballads in 18th century Hausmusik. Rhapsodies came to be based on popular and folk melodies, and composers in the 19th century began writing Rhapsodies for chamber music and large-scale nationalistic orchestral epics. There are Hungarian Rhapsodies, Slavonic Rhapsodies, Blue Rhapsodies, Rhapsodies of Fire, and Bohemian Rhapsodies. Spend a week with us as Bill riffs on rhapsodies, and together we'll explore what it is about this "indefinite form" that has attracted composers from around the world and across the centuries.

Week of May 16, 2016 - Richard Wagner  "The greatest genius that ever lived," proclaimed WH Auden, while Rossini said that Wagner had "beautiful moments but awful quarters of an hour." Love him or hate him, Wagner is an undeniable force who stretched tonality and orchestration to their utmost limits. This week we celebrate over 200 years of Wagner in grand style with programs filled to the brim with his music.

Week of May 23, 2016 - Pastoral Symphonies  Featuring music inspired by bucolic nature scenes, including Pastoral symphonies by Beethoven and Vaughan Williams, and Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony. We’ll also feature readings from the American naturalist John Muir.

Week of May 30, 2016 - A Keyboard Smorgasbord  It’s a lot more than just pianos. We’ll follow the story of the musical keyboard, from the ancient Greeks all the way to synthesizers, examining music for many different types — clavichords, harpsichords, fortepianos, organs, harmoniums, accordions, dulcimers, cimbaloms, melodicas, and mallet instruments from Java to jazz. This is a large and interesting family!