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Explore Espaňa from 1492 to present on Exploring Music, Jan 8-12 @ 7pm

Tomas de Torquemada, grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, is illustrated with King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella in 1478.
STEFANO BIANCHETTI/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES
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Tomas de Torquemada, grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, is illustrated with King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella in 1478.

Week of January 1, 2024 - Mendelssohn, Schumann, & Brahms String Quartets This week we focus on one of the most delightful and storied chapters of the string quartet's history, centering around the works of three romantic composers—Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms. After 50 years of fantastic string quartets from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, the well seemed to be drying up—young composers just weren’t writing string quartets. Bill starts the week off with the double quartet (octet) from 16-year-old Felix Mendelssohn. Felix’s sister, Fanny Mendelssohn, said she felt that she was lightly carried up in the air with this string octet.

Week of January 8, 2024 – Espaňa Bill takes on the confluence of cultures, languages, and terrains in the country of Spain. Monday’s program starts with the religious music of early Spain during a time in which Islam, Judaism, and Christianity existed side by side, to 1492, when the Jews and Moors of Spain were banished from the country. We continue through the next 400 years, and this week concludes with music from present-day Spain.

Week of January 15, 2024 - The Symphony, Part 12 Join us as we span the globe in part twelve of our continuing exploration of the symphony. Dmitri Shostakovich will start us in the Soviet Union with Lou Harrison bringing us back to America, and along the way we’ll visit many countries including England, Italy, France, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, Bali, and India. From India, we’ll hear Ravi Shankar’s Symphony for Sitar and Orchestra, performed by the London Philharmonic with sitar soloist Anoushka Shankar.

Week of January 22, 2024 - Please Don’t Shoot the Piano Player — He is doing the best he can. -Oscar Wilde Starting with the earliest piano trios from Joseph Haydn, Bill will present the best of chamber music that includes the piano— piano trios, quartets, quintets, and more. The piano is a versatile instrument in the chamber music world. Pianists can be members of an established group or featured guests, and composers add them to compositions as the “glue” that joins instruments together. Chamber music written to include the piano continues through the 20th century with Bartók and Messiaen, and on to today with Joan Tower and her colleagues.

Week of January 29, 2024 - Cello Concertos “What a sound the cello makes!” Bill opines. The cello started to gain popularity in the 17th and early 18th centuries when it was found to be very good at accompanying singers at the opera, such as Bach cantatas. And it became the vehicle for numerous great and famous compositions in many different settings: by Haydn, Prokofiev, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Villa-Lobos and others. Bill of course includes Elgar’s Cello Concerto in the mix to make the week a triumph.