Classics For Kids

By 90.9 WGUC & The Charles H. Dater Foundation

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Subscribers: 529
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Episodes: 182

 Apr 3, 2019
excellent! and not only for kids


Introduce children to classical music in a fun and entertaining way.

Episode Date
Ralph Vaughan Williams 5: Winter in Music
It's December, and winter has officially begun. This is a program of music with wintery themes.
Dec 31, 2022
Ralph Vaughan Williams 4: Christmas Carols in Classical Music
In celebration of the Christmas season, some classical compositions that have Christmas carols in them.
Dec 24, 2022
Ralph Vaughan Williams 3: Turn of the 20th Century English Composers
Ralph Vaughan Williams arrived on the scene just as a definite English classical music sound was being established. His three main teachers at the Royal Academy of Music were Arthur Sullivan, Hubert Parry, and Charles Stanford. Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst also had an influence on Vaughan Williams.
Dec 17, 2022
Ralph Vaughan Williams 2: Musical Fantasies
Originally, a musical fantasy was a piece that instrumentalists made up as they went along. Eventually, fantasies evolved into pieces that composers built out of various melodies they liked -- like the Scottish folk tunes that Max Bruch put into his Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra.
Dec 10, 2022
Ralph Vaughan Williams 1: About Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams was one of the most important 20th century English composers. He spent years traveling the country collecting English folk songs, writing them down, and publishing them. Many of those melodies wound up in his music.
Dec 03, 2022
Charles Ives 4: American Hymns in Classical Music
Charles Ives loved to put hymns into his music. Several other composers borrowed hymn tunes; here are several examples from 20th Century American compositions.
Nov 26, 2022
Charles Ives 3: Folk Tunes in Classical Music
The Country Band March has 12 recognizable popular and folk tunes in it. But Ives was not the only composer to put borrowed tunes in his music. Many classical composers -- including Ludwig van Beethoven, Mily Balakirev, and Percy Grainger -- used folk music in the pieces they wrote.
Nov 19, 2022
Charles Ives 2: Marching Through the Country Band March
Charles Ives wrote the Country Band March about amateur musicians -- people who make music for the love of it. In the Country Band March Ives combines a tune that he wrote with bits and pieces of many other popular and folk tunes. See how many of them you can recognize.
Nov 12, 2022
Charles Ives 1: About Charles Ives
The music that Charles Ives wrote was greatly influenced by his father, George. From the time he was a kid, Ives heard his father experiment with sound. George Ives always told Charlie to "stretch his ears," and Charlie did that with every piece of music he wrote.
Nov 05, 2022
Igor Stravinsky 5: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.
Oct 29, 2022
Igor Stravinsky 4: Composer Teachers and their Students
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov spent years as a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Many of his students became famous composers themselves: Anatol Liadov, Alexander Glazunov, and Igor Stravinsky. A lot of famous composers studied with each other.
Oct 22, 2022
Igor Stravinsky 3: Fire Music
To go with this month's music from Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird, some more music by composers who were playing with fire.
Oct 15, 2022
Igor Stravinsky 2: The Firebird
Igor Stravinsky based his ballet The Firebird on a Russian folk tale about an evil demon named Kashchei, who has thirteen princesses under his spell. A prince who wanders into Kashchei's garden to hunt the Firebird winds up defeating Kashchei and freeing the princesses -- with the help of the Firebird's magic feather.
Oct 08, 2022
Igor Stravinsky 1: About Igor Stravinsky
Russian composer Igor Stravinsky had a big hit with his first ballet, The Firebird. Stravinksy kept on writing ballets, followed by operas, and orchestral and choral music.
Oct 01, 2022
Georg Philipp Telemann 4: The "Gigue" is Up!
"Gigue" is the French word for jig -- a lively dance in triple time. The jig started out as folk dance in Ireland, Scotland, and northern England, before finding its way into classical music.
Sep 24, 2022
Georg Philipp Telemann 3: Self-Taught Composers
Georg Philipp Telemann never studied composition - he taught himself how to write music. There are quite a few composers who taught themselves, including Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Edward Elgar, Francis Poulenc, Scott Joplin and others.
Sep 17, 2022
Georg Philipp Telemann 2: Go for Baroque
Georg Philipp Telemann composed during the Baroque period, which ran from about 1600 to 1750. Suzanne Bona, host of the National Public Radio program Sunday Baroque, talks with Naomi Lewin about Baroque music.
Sep 10, 2022
Georg Philipp Telemann 1: About Georg Philipp Telemann
Telemann loved to write. He wrote more pieces of music than any other composer, and he also wrote not one, not two, but THREE autobiographies.
Sep 03, 2022
Johann Strauss, Jr. 4: Musical Conversation
Tritsch-Tratsch -- the title of a polka by Johann Strauss, Jr. -- is Austrian slang for "chit-chat." A lot of composers used music to portray people making sounds: talking, laughing, crying -- even sneezing!
Aug 27, 2022
Johann Strauss, Jr. 3: The Waltz
The waltz is a dance in 3/4 time that was very popular in Vienna, Austria in the 19th century. But the roots of the waltz go back to the German Dance of Mozart's day. After the waltz became popular on the dance floor, it moved onto the concert stage, the ballet stage and the opera stage.
Aug 20, 2022
Johann Strauss, Jr. 2: Other Members of the Strauss Family
Johann Strauss, Sr. had three musical sons: Johann, Jr.; Josef; and Eduard. Sometimes they worked together as musicians, but other times, there was bitter rivalry.
Aug 13, 2022
Johann Strauss, Jr. 1: About Johann Strauss, Jr.
Johann Strauss, Jr. was the son of a very successful violinist and orchestra leader. Eventually, Johann, Jr. was in competition with his father, conducting an orchestra of his own. When the older Strauss died, people began to realize that the son was an even better musician and composer.
Aug 06, 2022
Aaron Copland 5: Classical Music in Pop
What do Frank Sinatra, Blood Sweat and Tears and John Denver have in common? They all used classical music in some of their pieces. After Aaron Copland composed his Fanfare for the Common Man, the piece was also adapted by several popular musicians. Let's explore some more classical music that made the transition to pop.
Jul 30, 2022
Aaron Copland 4: What's in a Name
In 1942, Eugene Goossens, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony, invited two dozen or so composers to write fanfares honoring those serving in World War II. Hear some more of those fanfares, and take a guess why Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man is the only one that's still regularly performed.
Jul 23, 2022
Aaron Copland 3: Tiptoe Through the Fanfare
A look at exactly what's going on musically in Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.
Jul 16, 2022
Aaron Copland 2: What is a Fanfare
The word fanfare comes from a French word that means to blow trumpets. Fanfares have been used for centuries to announce someone or something important. Presidential inaugurations, movies, the Olympics -- they've all had special fanfares written for them.
Jul 09, 2022
Aaron Copland 1: About Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was a 20th century American composer from Brooklyn, New York. Copland is known for writing very American music, but he actually studied in France. His teacher, Nadia Boulanger, helped Copland find his way to an American sound in classical music.
Jul 02, 2022
Giuseppe Verdi 4: What's it like to be an Opera Singer?
Opera singer Denyce Graves talks with Naomi Lewin about what it's like to be an international opera star.
Jun 25, 2022
Giuseppe Verdi 3: The Story of Aida
Giuseppe Verdi composed Aida for a new opera house in Cairo, Egypt that opened around the time as the opening of the Suez Canal. Aida is the story of an Ethiopian princess being held captive by Egyptians. One of the Egyptian generals is desperately in love with her, and she's in love with him -- but so is the daughter of the Egyptian king.
Jun 18, 2022
Giuseppe Verdi 2: What's an Opera?
An opera is like a play in which the characters sing all their lines. Opera singers do not use microphones -- their voices are trained, and can fill a whole theater with sound without any amplification. All operas have solo singers and an orchestra -- and a lot of operas have a chorus, too. Operas have been written in many different languages, including English.
Jun 11, 2022
Giuseppe Verdi 1: About Giuseppe Verdi
Guiseppe Verdi -- "Joe Green," in Italian -- was a great opera composer and Italian patriot. His music became part of the Italian fight for independence and unity.
Jun 04, 2022
Frederic Chopin 4: Famous Pianist-Composers
From the time Frederic Chopin was a child, audiences loved to hear him play the piano. A lot of composers were famous as keyboard players, too: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt...
May 28, 2022
Frederic Chopin 3: Military Music
In his Military Polonaise, Frederic Chopin uses the piano to imitate the drums that accompanied armies marching into battle. A lot of composers have put battle sounds into their music.
May 21, 2022
Frederic Chopin 2: The Polonaise
The polonaise is a dance that was fashionable in the Polish court. Since Polish nobility used to like to speak French, the name "polonaise" is French. Eventually, the polonaise caught on all over Europe, and even migrated to America. Lots of operas contain polonaises, and after a while, composers began to use the polonaise as a form for non-dancing, instrumental pieces.
May 14, 2022
Frederic Chopin 1: About Frederic Chopin
Frederic Chopin was one of the greatest pianists of his day. Every single piece of music he wrote used the piano. The name Chopin doesn't sound very Polish because Chopin's father was born in France. Even though he was fiercely proud of being Polish, Frederic Chopin wound up moving to France, and never returned to Poland.
May 07, 2022
Benjamin Britten 5: The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 2
Benjamin Britten was asked to compose music for a film that explained the instruments of the orchestra to children. Britten borrowed a tune by one of his favorite composers, Henry Purcell, to create his Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. This show uses Britten's Guide to introduce the instruments of the brass and percussion families.
Apr 30, 2022
Benjamin Britten 4: The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 1
Benjamin Britten was asked to compose music for a film that explained the instruments of the orchestra to children. Britten borrowed a tune by one of his favorite composers, Henry Purcell, to create his Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. This show uses Britten's Guide to introduce the instruments of the woodwind and string families.
Apr 23, 2022
Benjamin Britten 3: Pizzicato and Other Musical Terms
Pizzicato is the Italian word for "plucked" -- it tells string players how to play their instruments at a given spot in the music. A lot of musical "traffic signals" are in Italian. This show has explanations and examples of some more of them.
Apr 16, 2022
Benjamin Britten 2: The Simple Symphony
Benjamin Britten composed his Simple Symphony when he was twenty, but he based it on music that he'd written much earlier -- some of it when he was only 10! The "Simple Symphony" has four movements, each of which has a very catchy name: Boisterous Bouree, Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande, and Frolicsome Finale.
Apr 09, 2022
Benjamin Britten 1: About Benjamin Britten
After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, Benjamin Britten got a job writing film music. Then he went on to compose choral music, chamber music, songs, and quite a few operas, including some for major events in British history. In addition to being a composer, Britten was an excellent pianist and conductor.
Apr 02, 2022
Women's History Month 4: What's It Like to Be a Conductor?
A program featuring acclaimed conductor JoAnn Falletta, who talks about her early love of music, how seeing her first symphony concert inspired her to become a conductor, and all the listening and preparation that goes into being successful at her job.
Mar 26, 2022
Women's History Month 3: Contemporary Women Composers
There are many women composers these days, and this program introduces some of them: Caroline Shaw, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Lera Auerbach, Kaija Saariaho, Chen Yi, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Missy Mazzoli, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Tania Leon.
Mar 19, 2022
Women's History Month 2: Women Composers of the Past
Though many societies either forbade or looked down on women who wanted to be composers, many persevered. This show highlights Francesca Caccini, Elizabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Louise Farrenc, Cecile Chaminade, Germaine Tailleferre, Hildegard von Bingen, Marianna Martines, Fanny Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, Florence Price, and Queen Lili'oukalani.
Mar 12, 2022
Women's History Month 1: Women in History and Classical Music
How women in world history - Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II, Aphra Behn, Joan of Arc, Emmeline Pankhurst, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, and Grace Hopper - inspired classical music compositions.
Mar 05, 2022
Scott Joplin 4: Black Composers of Classical Music
Music by composers with all kinds of hyphens to their African heritage: African-French, French-Cuban, African-English, and African-American.
Feb 26, 2022
Scott Joplin 3: Classical Music and the Movies
Lots of movies use classical music. Sometimes, that music is such a big part of the movie that the two become linked forever.
Feb 19, 2022
Scott Joplin 2: Ragtime Music
Ragtime music is truly African-American music. It combines rhythms that were brought to this country by slaves, with musical forms brought over to the United States from Europe. Ragtime uses syncopated rhythms -- that is, the accents in the melody are shifted away from the strong beats in the bass line underneath.
Feb 12, 2022
Scott Joplin 1: About Scott Joplin
From a very early age, Scott Joplin supported himself as a performing pianist. Eventually, he earned a living selling his compositions, too. Thanks to Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, the most famous of all piano rags, Joplin became known as the King of Ragtime Writers.
Feb 05, 2022
Franz Joseph Haydn 5: Patriotic Songs By Classical Composers
Many countries around the world have national anthems and other patriotic songs that were written by classical composers. Haydn, Elgar and Verdi are just a few you'll explore here.
Jan 29, 2022
Franz Joseph Haydn 4: Minuets
The minuet is a dance that started in the 1700's in the French court. Gradually, the minuet began to be used for non-dancing purposes, as a musical form -- especially as the third movement of symphonies. Minuets found their way onto the stage, too, in operas, plays, and ballets.
Jan 22, 2022
Franz Joseph Haydn 3: The Farewell Symphony
Every year, when the weather turned nice, Prince Esterhazy -- Franz Joseph Haydn's employer -- moved his entire household to his summer palace. When it turned cold again, everyone moved back to the main palace in the city. But one fall, it stayed warm for a very long time, and the prince didn't budge. The musicians in his orchestra wanted to go home, and Haydn found a musical way to tell the prince it was time to go: the Farewell Symphony.
Jan 15, 2022
Franz Joseph Haydn 2: Father of the Symphony
Franz Joseph Haydn never had any children, but the musicians who worked for him liked him so much they called him Papa Haydn. And Haydn is also known as the "Father of the Symphony." He wasn't the first person to compose symphonies, but he did help the symphony to grow up as a musical form.
Jan 08, 2022
Franz Joseph Haydn 1: About Franz Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn spent over thirty years working as music director for the Esterhazy family. By the end of his life, Haydn was both rich and famous, and he had gotten along well with his employers - pretty unusual for a composer of that time.
Jan 01, 2022
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 4: Traditional Christmas Classical Music
George Frederick Handel's Messiah wasn't written for Christmas -- it was first performed in April. Hear some other pieces of classical music that traditionally get played during the Christmas season.
Dec 25, 2021
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 3: The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is based on a story by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. In The Nutcracker, a Christmas present -- a nutcracker -- comes to life as a handsome prince. He takes the young girl who received him as a present on some fantastic adventures.
Dec 18, 2021
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 2: Ballet
Ballet is a theatrical performance that tells a story using music, costumes, sets, and dance. Victoria Morgan, artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet, talks with Naomi Lewin about ballet and ballet terms.
Dec 11, 2021
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 1: About Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Some composers in Tchaikovsky's day didn't think his music sounded "Russian" enough, but Tchaikovsky was Russian through and through. Tchaikovsky wrote symphonies, operas, songs, chamber music -- and of course, several wonderful ballets.
Dec 04, 2021
Leonard Bernstein 4: American Composers with a Boston Connection
Leonard Bernstein grew up in the Boston area. Here are some more composers who spent time in and around that city.
Nov 27, 2021
Leonard Bernstein 3: Operettas in English
Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" is an operetta. An operetta is like an opera, with one big difference. In opera, everything is sung, but in operetta, there are spoken lines between the singing.
Nov 20, 2021
Leonard Bernstein 2: Bernstein and Musical Theater
When he was growing up, Leonard Bernstein loved to put on operas and other musical shows with his friends. That interest in musical theater continued all through his life, and produced such great Broadway musicals as "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."
Nov 13, 2021
Leonard Bernstein 1: About Leonard Bernstein
American-born Leonard Bernstein became famous all over the world as a composer, a conductor, and a pianist. In addition to writing classical music, composed classic Broadway musicals, including West Side Story.
Nov 06, 2021
Edvard Grieg 5: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.
Oct 30, 2021
Edvard Grieg 4: Incidental Music
Incidental music creates a mood, or illustrates the action for what is going on in a play, movie or television show.
Oct 23, 2021
Edvard Grieg 3: Other Scandinavian Composers
Music by composers from the three official Scandinavian countries -- Norway, Denmark and Sweden -- and a couple of unofficial ones -- Finland and Iceland!
Oct 16, 2021
Edvard Grieg 2: The Story of Peer Gynt
"In The Hall of the Mountain King" is part of the incidental music Edvard Grieg wrote for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. Hear the story of the play as you listen to Grieg's music.
Oct 09, 2021
Edvard Grieg 1: About Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg was from a music-loving Norwegian family. In addition to becoming the leading Scandinavian composer of his day, Grieg became a big supporter of Norwegian arts and culture.
Oct 02, 2021
Spanish and Latin American Composers 4: Latin American Composers
After Christopher Columbus made his first trip across the Atlantic Ocean, Spain and other European countries began to colonize the Americas. Spanish music had a big influence on Latin American music - and so did the music of the enslaved people who were brought over from Africa. Hear how composers and players in Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay and other parts of Latin America married European forms with Indigenous sounds, creating folk music traditions that have become classics in their own right.
Sep 25, 2021
Spanish and Latin American Composers 3: Mexican Composers
In the 16th century, "conquistadores" - soldiers from Spain - sailed to Mexico, and took over the country from the Indigenous people who lived there. The Spanish brought their language, their religion, and their music to the place they called "Nueva Espana," or New Spain. Mexico became independent from Spain in the 19th century, but the music stayed, combined with African and Indigenous forms, and took on a life of its own.
Sep 18, 2021
Spanish and Latin American Composers 2: The Spanish Sound
When composers use their country's folk songs, dances, and rhythms to paint musical pictures of local places and legends, it's called musical nationalism. Hear how composers like Isaac Albeniz, Enrique Granados, Manuel de Falla and others defined the Spanish sound with spirit, fire, and romance.
Sep 11, 2021
Spanish and Latin American Composers 1: Classical Music In Spain
!Bienvenidos! Listen and explore the music of some of Spain's most influential composers and players, from King Alfonso X (a.k.a. "Alfonso El Sabio"/Alfonso the Wise) to Francisco Tarrega, known as "the father of classical guitar." You'll also learn how the guitarra came to Spain in the first place.
Sep 04, 2021
Zoltan Kodaly 4: The Kodaly Method
Zoltan Kodaly developed a method for teaching music. It is still used by teachers around the world today. Jill Trinka, who teaches the Kodaly Method, talks with Naomi Lewin.
Aug 28, 2021
Zoltan Kodaly 3: Classical Composers who Used Folk Music
Zoltan Kodaly was not the only composer to use folk tunes in the music he wrote. Here are some others.
Aug 21, 2021
Zoltan Kodaly 2: The Story of Hary Janos
Kodaly's opera Hary Janos is about a real person who told real whoppers - big, fat lies. If you listened to him, you'd think he defeated Napoleon's army all by himself.
Aug 14, 2021
Zoltan Kodaly 1: About Zoltan Kodaly
Zoltan Kodaly was born in a small town in Hungary. His father worked for the Hungarian railroad, so the family moved around a lot. This meant that as a kid, Zoltan heard folk music from many different parts of the country. When he grew up, Hungarian folk music became his passion. Kodaly spent a large part of his life collecting his native music, and teaching his countrymen about it.
Aug 07, 2021
Franz Liszt 5: What is a Rhapsody?
"Rhapsody" is an ancient word that means "songs stitched together". The Greeks used to write long poems in praise of their heroes, and then take bits and pieces of those poems and string them together for performance. In music, a rhapsody is a free-form piece that takes different tunes and strings them together.
Jul 31, 2021
Franz Liszt 4: Famous Pianist - Composers
In his day Franz Liszt was most famous as a pianist. So, were Mozart, Beethoven and a lot of other composers.
Jul 24, 2021
Franz Liszt 3: Romani, or Gypsy Music
Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies were greatly influenced by gypsy, or Romani music. Brahms, Telemann and Verdi are among the many composers were attracted to this distinctive music.
Jul 17, 2021
Franz Liszt 2: Classical Music Superstars
Inspired by violinist Niccolo Paganini, Franz Liszt became a piano superstar. Many classical music superstars followed, including Jan Paderewski, Jenny Lind, Van Cliburn, Enrico Caruso, Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang.
Jul 10, 2021
Franz Liszt 1: About Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher who came up with musical innovations in all those fields. He was the first of the virtuoso performers and invented the solo recital. As one of the greatest pianists the world has ever known, Liszt was a 19th century superstar.
Jul 03, 2021
John Philip Sousa 4: The Golden Age of American Bands
From the late 1800's to the early 1900's, professional bands toured all over the United States, and many towns in this country had their own amateur bands.
Jun 26, 2021
John Philip Sousa 3: American Military Bands
The United States Marine Band is this country's oldest military band. Each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces has its own band, and song. Captain Don Schofield, associate conductor of the United States Air Force Band of Flight, talks with Naomi Lewin about all the U.S. military bands.
Jun 19, 2021
John Philip Sousa 2: About "Stars and Stripes"
John Philip Sousa's The Stars and Stripes Forever is the official march of the United States of America. Sousa composed his most famous march in his head when he was on a ship coming back from a trip to Europe with his band. When the ship docked, he put the march down on paper and named it after the American flag he was so glad to see when he got home.
Jun 12, 2021
John Philip Sousa 1: About John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa -- the most American of composers -- was the son of immigrants to the United States. Because of his love for bands and band music, John Philip Sousa wrote many wonderful marches. As a result, he is known as the "March King."
Jun 05, 2021
Felix Mendelssohn 5: Women Composers
Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister, was a talented pianist and composer. So was Clara Schumann, wife of composer Robert Schumann. Also featured: music of Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Cecile Chaminade, Germaine Tailleferre, Hildegard von Bingen, Amy Beach, and Thea Musgrave.
May 29, 2021
Felix Mendelssohn 4: Child Prodigy Composers
A child prodigy, Felix Mendelssohn began composing when he was 10. This week on Classics for Kids hear about other composers who started just as early -- or even earlier.
May 22, 2021
Felix Mendelssohn 3: Music Based on Shakespeare
Probably no playwright has had more music based on his work than William Shakespeare. Felix Mendelssohn, Henry Purcell, Hector Berlioz, Giuseppe Verdi are just a few of the composers who've been inspired by Shakespeare's plays.
May 15, 2021
Felix Mendelssohn 2: A Midsummer Night's Dream
When Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn put on Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream to entertain their family, the two of them played all the characters! Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream illustrates many of the characters and situations in the play.
May 08, 2021
Felix Mendelssohn 1: About Felix Mendelssohn
By the time he was a teenager, Felix Mendelssohn was already an excellent pianist and composer. And Mendelssohn was very talented in other areas. In addition to German (his native language), Mendelssohn spoke French, English, and Italian. He was also a very good painter. And he became quite famous as a conductor.
May 01, 2021
William Grant Still 4: Historic Black Composers
William Grant Still was a 20th century African-American composer. But hundreds of years before he lived, there were other black composers.
Apr 24, 2021
William Grant Still 3: Paul Laurence Dunbar's Poetry
After William Grant Still wrote his Afro-American Symphony, he found bits of poetry that he thought went with each movement. The poetry was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African-American to become a famous writer.
Apr 17, 2021
William Grant Still 2: The Afro-American Symphony
William Grant Still wanted to put the sound of the blues into a symphony. His Afro-American Symphony is centered on a bluesy theme. Still took that theme and did something entirely different with it in each of the Symphony's four movements.
Apr 10, 2021
William Grant Still 1: About William Grant Still
William Grant Still has been called the Dean of Afro-American composers. Judith Anne Still, the composer's daughter, talks with Naomi Lewin about her father's life, and the difficulty he faced in the first half of 20th century America as a black man writing classical music.
Apr 03, 2021
Antonin Dvorak 4: Other Musical Nationalism
Antonin Dvorak and his fellow Czech composers were among the first music nationalists. Here's a look at many others, including composers from America.
Mar 27, 2021
Antonin Dvorak 3: Music Nationalism circa 1848
All across Europe in the 19th century, there was a wave of nationalism as people fought for political independence. Composers started wanting musical independence, too. When they started putting folk tunes and dance rhythms from their native countries into their music, and wrote about local legends, history, and landscapes, musical nationalism was born.
Mar 20, 2021
Antonin Dvorak 2: Composers Who Visited America
In 1892, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's trip to the New World, a wealthy New Yorker invited Antonin Dvorak to visit America. Tchaikovsky, Albeniz, and Delius were among the other European composers who visited this country before the days of air travel.
Mar 13, 2021
Antonin Dvorak 1: About Antonin Dvorak
At the time when Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was born, the Czech people had no country of their own. The regions where they lived -- Bohemia and Moravia -- were part of the Austrian Empire. Dvorak wrote a lot of Czech-sounding compositions, but hardly ever used any actual folk melodies in his music.
Mar 06, 2021
Johannes Brahms 4: Classical Music Featuring Dances from European Countries
Many composers used European dance forms in their work. Dvorak, Haydn, Chopin and Beethoven are just a few of the composers featured here.
Feb 27, 2021
Johannes Brahms 3: Hungarian Dancing
The Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms were never really intended for dancing. But that doesn't mean that people in Hungary don't dance! Richard Graber, the director of a Hungarian dance company in Cleveland, talks with Naomi Lewin about Hungarian dancing.
Feb 20, 2021
Johannes Brahms 2: The Brahms Hungarian Dances
When he was a young pianist, Johannes Brahms accompanied a Hungarian violinist, and fell in love with Hungarian music. His own Hungarian-flavored dances were written to entertain his friends at parties. Those friends convinced Brahms to publish his dances. When the first set was a hit, Brahms wrote and published another set.
Feb 13, 2021
Johannes Brahms 1: About Johannes Brahms
Brahms, Bach, and Beethoven are known as the "Three B's" of classical music. Brahms always knew that he wanted to be a composer -- by the time he was six, he had thought up his own system for writing music down on a page.
Feb 06, 2021
Franz Schubert 5: Marches Not Written for Bands and Parades
Even though Schubert's Marche Militaire has the word "march" in the title, it was never actually meant for anyone to march to. Several other composers wrote march music without bands or parades in mind.
Jan 30, 2021
Franz Schubert 4: Music for Piano Four Hands
Franz Schubert wrote his Marche Militaire for piano four hands -- two people playing the same instrument. Here are some more pieces for piano four hands.
Jan 23, 2021
Franz Schubert 3: Take Me to Your Lieder
Songs in classical music are usually called "art songs." In German, art songs are called Lieder. Franz Schubert was a master of writing Lieder. Each of his songs combines poetry and music, voice and accompaniment, to make a complete musical short story.
Jan 16, 2021
Franz Schubert 2: About Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert's father expected his son to be a teacher in the school that he ran. But Schubert didn't last long at that job -- he was much more interested in writing music than paying attention to a classroom full of kids.
Jan 09, 2021
Franz Schubert 1: Firsts for the New Year
A collection of musical firsts, including the first string quartet, the first use of trombones in a symphony, and the first professional musician to make a recording.
Jan 02, 2021
Georges Bizet 4: Harmonic Texture in the Farandole
In the "Farandole" from Georges Bizet's Arlesienne Suite, there are examples of all three kinds of harmonic texture: monophony, homophony, and polyphony. Hear those terms explained in words and in music.
Dec 26, 2020
Georges Bizet 3: Christmas Carols in Classical Music
In celebration of the Christmas season, some classical compositions that have Christmas carols in them.
Dec 19, 2020
Georges Bizet 2: Jewish Composers (for Chanukah)
Georges Bizet was not Jewish, his father-in-law was. Bizet married the daughter of his composition professor, Jacques Halevi. To celebrate Chanukah, we learn about some other Jewish composers of classical music, including Salamone Rossi, Leonard Bernstein, Darius Milhaud, Jacques Offenbach and Aaron Copland.
Dec 12, 2020
Georges Bizet 1: About Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet's parents were both musicians, so he grew up surrounded by music. Today, Bizet is best remembered for his theatrical music -- operas and incidental music for plays.
Dec 05, 2020
Gustav Holst 4: English Composers Who Loved Folk Songs
Both Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughn Williams loved using folk music in their music. They were inspired by a "folk song revival" started by an English musician named Cecil Sharp collected thousands of folk tunes from around England in the early 1900's.
Nov 28, 2020
Gustav Holst 3: Music for Students
St. Paul's Girls' School in London has a sign that says: "Gustav Holst wrote The Planets and taught here." Holst composed his St. Paul's Suite for the student orchestra at St. Paul's Girls' School. Many other composers wrote music for students to perform.
Nov 21, 2020
Gustav Holst 2: The Planets
Astronomy is the science that studies the sun, moon, planets, and other objects in the sky. Astrology is not a science - it tries to show how objects in the sky affect people's lives on earth. Gustav Holst loved astrology, and he composed his Planets to be musical pictures of human nature.
Nov 14, 2020
Gustav Holst 1: About Gustav Holst
Born into a family of composers, Gustav Holst wanted to follow in their footsteps. His career included playing in orchestras and serving as head of music at St. Paul's Girls' School for almost thirty years while also composing.
Nov 07, 2020
Modest Mussorgsky 5: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.
Oct 31, 2020
Modest Mussorgsky 4: Music from Russian Operas
Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodin's Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofiev's march from The Love for Three Oranges.
Oct 24, 2020
Modest Mussorgsky 3: Pictures at an Exhibition
Russian artist and architect Victor Hartman was a good friend of Modest Mussorgsky. When Hartman died at the age of 39, there was a memorial exhibit of his work. That inspired Mussorgsky to create his own tribute to Hartman -- a composition depicting ten pieces of art from the exhibit.
Oct 17, 2020
Modest Mussorgsky 2: The Mighty Handful
The Mighty Handful, also known as the Mighty Five, were group of Russian composers who all wanted to develop a distinctly Russian style of classical music. The Mighty Five composers were Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
Oct 10, 2020
Modest Mussorgsky 1: About Modest Mussorgsky
When he was a kid growing up, Modest Mussorgsky learned Russian fairy tales and folk stories from the family nurse. Those fairy tales put in an appearance in the music he wrote later on. Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition in memory of an artist friend of his who died suddenly.
Oct 03, 2020
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 4: What's a Rondo?
Rondo is an Italian word that means round. A rondo is an instrumental form with a refrain that keeps coming back. Unlike the verses of a song, though, the music in a rondo changes between each repetition of the refrain.
Sep 26, 2020
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 3: Janissary Music
In the 18th century, Janissary music became all the rage in Europe. Janissaries were the men who guarded the sultan of Turkey. They had wonderful bands that included instruments that sounded very exotic to European ears: cymbals, triangles and bass drums.
Sep 19, 2020
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 2: Mozart's Operas
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first opera when he was twelve, and opera continued to fascinate him throughout his life. Mozart had such genius for combining music and theater that he took opera to a whole new level. No other composer from Mozart's day still has so many operas performed all over the world.
Sep 12, 2020
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1: About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sat down at the keyboard at the age of three, it was clear to his father Leopold that he had a genius on his hands. From the first pieces he composed as a five-year-old, to the Requiem he was working on when he died, right before his 35th birthday, Mozart wrote an astonishing amount of beautiful music.
Sep 05, 2020
Ludwig van Beethoven 5: Roll Over Beethoven
For some reason, Beethoven has been the butt of many musical jokes over the years. You can find Beethoven references everywhere from disco, to the Beatles, to the Broadway musical.
Aug 29, 2020
Ludwig van Beethoven 4: Music that Imitates Inanimate Objects
The beginning of the second movement of Beethoven's 8th Symphony imitates a metronome -- a mechanical device that ticks steadily to help musician keep to the beat of the music. Other composers wrote music that ticks, or that imitates other inanimate objects -- including a doll and a typewriter.
Aug 22, 2020
Ludwig van Beethoven 3: Beethoven's Symphonies
Plenty of composers wrote more symphonies than Beethoven, but few did more to change the way the symphony sounded. Beethoven's First Symphony reflects the fact that he learned from Mozart and Haydn.
Aug 15, 2020
Ludwig van Beethoven 2: Beethoven the Pianist
Beethoven was a pianist. During his lifetime, the piano changed quite a bit, and those changes were reflected in the music Beethoven composed for the instrument. William Black, who was head of the piano department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, talked with Naomi Lewin about how Beethoven's music followed the development of the piano.
Aug 08, 2020
Ludwig van Beethoven 1: About Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a uniquely talented composer and musician. But by the time Beethoven was 30, his increasing deafness put an end to his career as a pianist. That did not stop him from continuing to compose some of the most beautiful music the world has ever known.
Aug 01, 2020
George Gershwin 4: Jazz in Classical Music
George Gershwin was just one composer who used jazz in music that was written for the classical concert hall. So did Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, and others.
Jul 25, 2020
George Gershwin 3: Rhapsody in Blue
George Gershwin wrote his Rhapsody in Blue in a big hurry, after he saw a newspaper announcement saying that he was writing a jazz concerto for a concert taking place in less than a month! Everyone loved the piece at its first performance, and at age 25, Gershwin became a musical celebrity.
Jul 18, 2020
George Gershwin 2: What is a Rhapsody?
"Rhapsody" is an ancient word that means "songs stitched together". The Greeks used to write long poems in praise of their heroes, and then take bits and pieces of those poems and string them together for performance. In music, a rhapsody is a free-form piece that takes different tunes and strings them together.
Jul 11, 2020
George Gershwin 1: About George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer who combined classical music and jazz to create his own unique style. Gershwin wrote music for Broadway shows, movies, the concert hall, and opera. One of the people he liked to work with was his brother Ira, who wrote wonderful lyrics (words) for George Gershwin's songs.
Jul 04, 2020
George Frederick Handel 4: Music by Royalty and Nobility
Handel wrote his Water Music for the King of England. Lots of aristocrats hired composers to write music for them. But some kings and nobles wrote music themselves, including King Henry VIII; Alfonso X; Frederick the Great and others.
Jun 27, 2020
George Frederick Handel 3: Other Composers' Water Music
The Water Music that Handel composed may be the most famous classical music associated with water, but there are lots of other composers who wrote watery pieces.
Jun 20, 2020
George Frederick Handel 2: The Story of Handel's Water Music
As soon as Handel got his first job of court composer to a German prince, he headed for England. Through a bizarre twist of royal succession, that prince ended up becoming king of England. Instead of staying angry at Handel for leaving Germany, King George I asked him to compose music for a huge party he held on barges on the River Thames.
Jun 13, 2020
George Frederick Handel 1: About George Frederick Handel
1685 was a very good year for German composers. Within the space of a month, two of the greatest were born: Johann Sebastian Bach, and George Frederick Handel. Handel spent most of his career in England, where he wrote and produced both operas and oratorios.
Jun 06, 2020
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 5: Composer Teachers and their Students
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov spent years as a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Many of his students became famous composers themselves: Anatol Liadov, Alexander Glazunov, and Igor Stravinsky. A lot of famous composers studied with each other.
May 30, 2020
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 4: The Bees and the Birds
There are many pieces of classical music -- besides "The Flight of the Bumblebee" -- that are about bees, birds, and other winged creatures. Composers use various instruments to imitate insects, and to create all kinds of bird calls.
May 23, 2020
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 3: Russian Operas
Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodin's Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofiev's march from The Love for Three Oranges.
May 16, 2020
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 2: The Tale of Tsar Saltan
The Flight of the Bumblebee comes from an opera called The Tale of Tsar Saltan, which is based on a story by the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. In the opera's complicated plot, Prince Gvidon is separated from his father, Tsar Saltan, and ends up ruling an island full of enchanted objects and animals -- including an enchanted swan, whom the prince marries once she gets turned back into a princess.
May 09, 2020
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 1: About Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov became a navy officer in order to follow in his older brother's footsteps. But his real talent lay in music. After leaving the navy, he became a teacher at the St. Petersburg Conservatory -- even though he had little formal music education himself.
May 02, 2020
Antonio Vivaldi 4: Spring Music
Vivaldi is not the only composer who wrote music about the seasons, or about spring. Many other composers wrote springtime music.
Apr 25, 2020
Antonio Vivaldi 3: Violin Concertos Through the Ages
Concertos got their start in 17th century Italy. The history of violin concertos follows the history of great violinists.
Apr 18, 2020
Antonio Vivaldi 2: Poetry and Sound Effects in Vivaldi's Spring Concerto
Vivaldi based each of his The Four Seasons concertos on a set of sonnets -- poems. The music in each of the Four Seasons describes exactly what's going on in the poems. "Spring" includes birds, brooks, breezes and thunderstorms. See how many of those you can hear in Vivaldi's music.
Apr 11, 2020
Antonio Vivaldi 1: About Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi was the oldest of six (some say nine) children. His father was a barber, baker and violinist. Vivaldi inherited his father's musical talent, and his flaming red hair. Vivaldi became a priest, but he spent most of his life composing and teaching music.
Apr 04, 2020
Johann Sebastian Bach 4: The Story of the Brandenburg Concertos
When Johann Sebastian Bach sent a set of six concertos to the Margrave of Brandenburg -- a German official -- the Margrave probably never even looked at the music. Bach called his pieces "concertos for a variety of instruments," because each one calls for a different instrumental combination.
Mar 28, 2020
Johann Sebastian Bach 3: What's a Concerto?
A concerto is a piece of music in which one or more solo instruments get to shine in front of an orchestra. A concerto can be written for any instrument. A "concerto grosso" is a concerto for two groups of instruments -- a smaller group of soloists alternating with a larger group.
Mar 21, 2020
Johann Sebastian Bach 2: The Sons of Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was married two times, and had a grand total of 20 children! All of Bach's ancestors were musicians, and his sons were expected to follow in his musical footsteps. Some of them became famous composers, too.
Mar 14, 2020
Johann Sebastian Bach 1: About Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a musical dynasty. The Bach family had over 300 years' worth of professional composers and musicians, but Johann Sebastian was the most famous of all of them. In addition to being one of the greatest composers the world has ever known, Bach was also an excellent organist and violinist.
Mar 07, 2020
Gioachino Rossini 5: Famous Finales
A Finale is the end of a piece of music. Here's a look at some famous finales.
Feb 28, 2020
Gioachino Rossini 4: Weather in Music
Depicting a thunderstorm in music was one of Rossini's specialties. Here are some more examples of musical thunderstorms.
Feb 22, 2020
Gioachino Rossini 3: Overtures
Usually, an overture is a piece of music played at the beginning of a play, opera or ballet in order to set the mood. But there are also other kinds of overtures.
Feb 15, 2020
Gioachino Rossini 2: The Story of William Tell
The William Tell Overture was written to open an opera by Gioachino Rossini. The opera is based on a legend about the Swiss hero William Tell. According to the legend, William Tell was an expert with a bow and arrow who shot an apple off his son's head. You can hear the political turmoil in William Tell's Switzerland in Rossini's music.
Feb 08, 2020
Gioachino Rossini 1: About Gioachino Rossini
Italian composer Gioachino Rossini was born in 1792 and died in 1868, so you might think that he celebrated 76 birthdays. But Rossini was born in a leap year, on February 29th, so he only had 18 official birthdays! Rossini was the most successful opera composer of his day.
Feb 01, 2020
Sergei Prokofiev 4: The Story of Lt. Kije
Lt. Kije is the story of an imaginary soldier, created when the Russian Tsar misread a smudged name on a list of his men.
Jan 25, 2020
Sergei Prokofiev 3: How Suite It Is
In music, a suite is a specific collection of pieces. Here are some examples of various kinds of musical suites.
Jan 18, 2020
Sergei Prokofiev 2: Musical Sleigh Rides
Prokofiev was not the only classical composer to paint a musical portrait of a sleigh ride on a snowy day. Listen as we take you through several other examples of this frosty form of transportation.
Jan 11, 2020
Sergei Prokofiev 1: About Sergei Prokofiev
Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev lived and traveled around the world, but found that he was most at home in Russia. This look at his life takes you on his travels and highlights some of his music, including Peter and the Wolf, which he wrote for the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow.
Jan 04, 2020
Aaron Copland 5: Classical Music in Commercials
For years, the Hoe-Down from Aaron Copland's ballet Rodeo has been used in a commercial for the Beef Council. A lot of classical music turns up in T.V. commercials. It has been used to sell airlines, cars, cereal and even fertilizer.
Aug 31, 2019
Aaron Copland 4: Rodeo
Copland's ballet Rodeo tells the story of a cowgirl who is in love with a cowboy, but just can't get him to notice her. Once she finally does, she decides that she'd rather spend time with another cowboy who was nice to her all along.
Aug 24, 2019
Aaron Copland 3: Agnes de Mille
Agnes de Mille loved to dance. She became hooked on ballet as a child, after seeing the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova perform. Agnes de Mille performed all over America and Europe, but she didn't hit it big until Rodeo -- the ballet that launched her career.
Aug 17, 2019
Aaron Copland 2: Copland's Cowboy Ballets
Copland's first cowboy ballet was Billy the Kid, about the notorious outlaw who lived in the American Southwest in the late 1800's. Then, choreographer (a choreographer is a person who invents dance moves) Agnes de Mille convinced Copland to write a second cowboy ballet -- Rodeo.
Aug 10, 2019
Aaron Copland 1: About Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was a 20th century American composer from Brooklyn, New York. Copland is known for writing very American music, but he actually studied in France. His teacher, Nadia Boulanger, helped Copland find his way to an American sound in classical music.
Aug 03, 2019
Women's History Month 5: Great Women Performers
Through the centuries, there have been exceptional female performers - on the largest stages of the world, and in smaller, more intimate settings. They include Clara Wieck Schumann, Maria Theresia von Paradies, Nadia Boulanger, Dame Myra Hess, Rebecca Clarke, Jacqueline Du Pre, Evelyn Glennie, Maria Callas, Marian Anderson, and Leontyne Price.
Mar 30, 2019
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 5: Carnegie Hall
The Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie in New York City opened on May 5, 1891 with a concert conducted by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It quickly became known simply as "Carnegie Hall," in honor of its donor.
Dec 29, 2018
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 5: Child Prodigy Composers
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy. He wrote his first symphony when he was eight, but actually started composing at the age of five. In this show, hear about some other composers who started just as early.
Sep 30, 2017
Georges Bizet 5: Firsts for the New Year
A collection of musical firsts, including the first string quartet, the first use of trombones in a symphony, and the first professional musician to make a recording.
Jan 23, 2017
Robert Schumann 4: Music for the Harvest Season
On this week's Classics for Kids show, music for the harvest - and for fall.
Nov 26, 2016
Robert Schumann 3: All in the Musical Family
Robert and Clara Schumann were a husband and wife musician/composer team. But theirs was not the only family in which musician were linked by marriage. Others include Dvorak/Suk, Wagner/Liszt, Mozart/Weber, and the Bachs.
Nov 19, 2016
Robert Schumann 2: Clara Schumann
Clara Wieck was born in 1819 in the German city of Leipzig. Her father, Friedrich Wieck, was a piano teacher who decided even before his daughter was born that she was going to be a famous pianist. Clara toured all over Europe, playing in concert halls and for royalty.
Nov 12, 2016
Robert Schumann 1: About Robert Schumann
From the time he was young, Schumann knew that he wanted to write. The only question was, should he write words, or music? Eventually, Schumann became known as a famous composer and a music journalist.
Nov 05, 2016
Dmitri Kabalevsky 5: Incidental Music
Incidental music creates a mood, or illustrates the action for what is going on in a play, movie or television show.
May 30, 2015
Dmitri Kabalevsky 4: Musical Jokes
Even though classical music is sometimes referred to as "serious music," a lot of times it just isn't. Serious, that is -- classical composers wrote some very funny music.
May 23, 2015
Dmitri Kabalevsky 3: What's a Galop
The kind of galop that Dmitri Kabalevsky put his suite The Comedians has nothing to do with horses. In fact, it's not even spelled the same as a horse's gallop. The one-l galop is a lively dance. Quite a few composers have written galops.
May 16, 2015
Dmitri Kabalevsky 2: The Comedians Suite
After Dmitri Kabalevsky wrote music for a play called The Inventor and the Comedians, he put selections from that music into a concert suite called The Comedians. Listen to what's going on in that suite.
May 09, 2015
Dmitri Kabalevsky 1: About Dmitri Kabalevsky
By the time Dmitri Kabalevsky was 14, the Russian Revolution had turned his country into a communist state. In spite of the Soviet Union's control over artists of all kinds, Kabalevsky managed to make a successful career as a composer.
May 02, 2015
Giuseppe Verdi 5: Famous Instrumental Music from Opera
Many operas feature music that is has become so famous all by itself, you might just forget that it's part of an opera!
Jun 22, 2013
John Philip Sousa 5: I Love a Parade!
Before television, radio, and the movies, it used to be a very big deal when the circus came to town. Circus parades and performances were always accompanied by marches called "screamers" -- a name that probably came from the fact that the music screams for attention.
Jul 28, 2012
Giacomo Puccini 4: Classical Music that Turned into Musical Theater
Jonathan Larson, the composer of the musical "Rent," used the same plot for this musical as Puccini did for La Boheme. Other composers also used classical music when they wrote their Broadway hits. "Kismet" is adapted from compositions by Russian composer Alexander Borodin and "The Song of Norway" uses tunes by Edvard Grieg to tell the story of Grieg's life.
Jun 23, 2012
Giacomo Puccini 3: Bohemian Music
Giacomo Puccini's opera La Boheme is about struggling artists in Paris. Its title means "the bohemian lifestyle." But Bohemia isn't in France; it's in the Czech Republic. Other composers such as Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Jules Massenet, were also inspired by this part of the world, using its music and describing its beautiful countryside in their works.
Jun 16, 2012
Giacomo Puccini 2: A Brief History of Italian Opera
Around the year 1600, Italian composers started writing theater pieces that use music all the way through them. Instead of speaking, characters in operas sing their lines. From Claudio Monteverdi, who wrote the earliest opera that is still performed, through Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, Italy has produced some of the world's finest opera composers.
Jun 09, 2012
Giacomo Puccini 1: About Giacomo Puccini
By the time Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born in 1858, there had already been four generations of musicians in his hometown of Lucca. Most were church musicians, but Giacomo had other ideas. When he was a teenager, he went to hear a performance of Verdi's Aida. From that moment on he knew that what he wanted to do was write operas. He did, and became one of Italy's most beloved operatic composers.
Jun 02, 2012
Franz Joseph Haydn 6: Firsts
A collection of musical firsts, including the first string quartet, the first use of trombones in a symphony, and the first professional musician to make a recording.
Mar 31, 2007