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Bill explores performers and composers whose exceptional musical gifts emerged at an early age, weeks of Nov 7 & 14 @ 7pm

Laurie Niles

Musical prodigies in composition and performance, from Mozart to violinist Julia Fischer - on Exploring Music

Week of November 7, 2022 - Wunderkinder - Musical Prodigies, Part I Blazing talents whose remarkable and sometimes-perilous lives overflowed with natural gifts at a young age, and audiences couldn’t get enough of them. Starting with compositions by Mozart and Mendelssohn, all played by today’s whiz kids. We continue with Niccolò Paganini performed by violinist Julia Fischer, and by violinist Julian Sitkovetsky with his mother, Bella Davidovich, accompanying him on the piano. Bill ends the week with a full hour devoted to Frédéric Chopin performed by some of the great prodigy-pianists of today— Maurizio Pollini, Garrick Ohlsson, and Frederic Chiu. Bill says when these musicians were children they were like gifts from above.

Week of November 14, 2022 - Wunderkinder - Musical Prodigies, Part II More performers and composers whose exceptional musical gifts emerged at an early age are our subject this week. It’s amazing to think that many of these musicians, like Mendelssohn, are still best known today for works that they composed in their early teens. Conductor Eugene Ormandy said that all his violinists were prodigies, so we end the week with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee played by the entire first and second violin sections of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Please enjoy this week of wunderkinder playing the works of wunderkinder.

Week of November 21, 2022 - Music of Scandinavia The lighter these northern lands are in the summer means the darker the winters will be, and these dark winters are in the living tissue of every Scandinavian. Their movies, orchestral works, poems, and paintings are comfortably at home expressing deep, dark emotions. Exploring Music has featured the works of Grieg and Nielsen, but there are a great many wonderful works by other composers that we will hear this week. Bill will feature composers like Wilhelm Stenhammar, Per Nørgård, and Lars-Erik Larsson, and we will hear this music performed by Scandinavian artists of today.

Week of November 28, 2022 - Yin and Yang, the Play of Opposites, Part 1 The idea for this two-week exploration came from a listener who suggested we explore the music of "great calm,” music that seems to gently pick us up and float us away from this earth. Bill liked the idea very much and immediately started sketching a week of the Romantics, from Berlioz to Mahler. But as he went along, he started to feel a tug in the opposite direction — what about music that picks up and drives us like a mad coachman, hurtling us toward conclusion or chaos, music of sound and fury and joy and lots of noise? And so, here we are: The Play of Opposites. Think of Frost's Fire or Ice, or Eliot's Bang or Whimper. Opposites, it seems, may contain the whole.