Although best known for his virtuosity as a pianist, Franz Liszt was also a prolific composer, writer, and all-around music entrepreneur, who, according to MusiciansWay.com once said, “Beware of missing chances; otherwise it may be altogether too late some day.” –Franz Liszt. Don't miss your chance to learn more about Franz Liszt the week of October 19th.
Week of October 5, 2020 - Leon Fleisher
This week on Exploring Music, we celebrate the life of Leon Fleisher, the man Pierre Monteux called “the pianistic find of the century.” In 2018 Bill sat down with him on the campus of Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he taught for fifty years. Leon reminisced on his childhood in San Francisco, his studies with Artur Schnabel, his health struggle which for decades robbed him of the full use of his right hand, and his triumphant return to two-handed repertoire. Our journey is accompanied by the music of Brahms, Beethoven, Ravel, Mozart, Britten, Copland, Kirchner, and a lovely arrangement of Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are.”
Week of October 12, 2020 - Emotion and Meaning in Music
Is music merely a collection of ordered pitches and vibrations in the air, or is there inherent and universal meaning contained within? Does music convey anger, longing, desire, or humor? This week Bill delves into one of the most mysterious and fundamental qualities of music: its ability to convey emotion to the listener. Starting with Gil Shaham’s performance of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, we’ll also listen to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and end the week with a JS Bach toccata. Bill asks us to listen and ask ourselves, “What do we feel when we listen to this music and why?”
Week of October 19, 2020 - Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Firmly poised on the progressive side of the War of the Romantics, Liszt was on the front lines of the battle to usher in a new musical era: an era of radical dissonances, thematic transformation, and exceptional virtuosity. This week, we'll spend five hours listening to Liszt's music and life story. Some of his music is so familiar, like his Hungarian Rhapsodies, that you will find yourself humming along, while other works you may enjoy discovering.
Week of October 26, 2020 - Orchestral Heroes
This week Bill explores a request from a listener in Philadelphia, who would like to hear solos and concerti from different members of the symphony orchestra. Bill feels orchestras are one of the great creations of humankind. One hundred musicians artfully blend together, but each instrumentalist has their own personality and spirit. Bill creates a fantastic playlist of clarinet, horn, oboe, violin and even saxophone solos played by our favorite orchestral heroes. We’ll end the week with Ravel’s Bolero, where every instrument gets to shine.