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Program Highlight

Travel the centuries of Mexican music, Exploring Music, September 2019


Mexican mazukas and more.  Tune in as Bill travels through Mexico to discover music from our neighbors to the south. 9/16-9/20

Week of September 2, 2019 - Families of Instruments - Modern orchestras comprise groups of instruments that are hit, plucked, blown, fingered, and bowed, in producing sound. For a conductor, achieving just the right tone, sonority, and even color from the score is a puzzle.  As Bill says, “The score is like a big blueprint” the composer creates, which the conductor uses to assemble the sounds. This week’s programs will examine these scores? from the top of the score where the higher woodwinds, violins and soloists live, down to the double-basses and contra-bassoon at the bottom.

Week of September 9, 2019 - Hit or Myth - This week, we’ll survey the trials and tribulations of mortals and immortals, brought to life by the likes of Berlioz, Gluck, and Handel. Bill muses on works inspired or generated by myths, with emphasis on the many symphonic and operatic works telling the stories of Orpheus (aka Orphee, L’Orfeo, or Black Orpheus) who was the first musician, the mortal to whom the gods gave the gift of music. We will listen to Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo performed by The English Baroque Soloists and His Majesty’s Sagbutts & Cornetts. Bill also takes a close look at works about Troilus and Cressida, Dido and Aeneas, and Venus and Adonis.

Week of September 16, 2019 - Distant Neighbors - Though we share a very long border with Latin America, we live in two very different worlds. Their history is thousands of years old, and ours is younger. Come on this journey with us to the deep and rich musical history of our neighbors to the south. Mexico’s early history of many indigenous cultures and its colonization by Spain in the early 16th century makes for a fascinating evolution of its classical music. Bill travels through the centuries of Mexican music, from an Incan flute song, a waltz from Mexico City Over the Waves (Sobre las Olas) by Juventino Rosas in 1888 (and until recently attributed to Johann Strauss II). Bill finds Mexican mazurkas by Manuel Ponce and forward to Miguel Bernal Jiménez and Carlos Chávez.

Week of September 23, 2019 - George Gershwin - A true American original, George Gershwin transcended musical categorization as he composed in almost any form: Broadway musicals, popular songs, symphonic works, jazz. In only 38 years of life, Gershwin followed his curiosity without fear in building an astonishingly diverse oeuvre of compositions, including what Bill calls “an opera unlike any other opera,” Porgy and Bess. Bill explains Gershwin’s work and life, “flashing across the world like a comet,” and offering unique and pertinent insights into what and who influenced him. Join us for a week-long look at the life and soulful music of the versatile talent.

Week of September 30, 2019 - A Visit with Arnold Steinhardt - Exploring Music spent a couple of marvelous days with one of the world’s violin giants, Arnold Steinhardt, first violinist for 45 years of the Guarneri Quartet. This week will feature Arnold talking about his youth in L.A., his time with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, his studies with Josef Szigeti, and his time with the Guarneri Quartet. Arnold was keen that we listen to some of the great musicians who'd inspired him along the way — a who's who of remarkable figures —Kreisler, Elman, Heifetz, on and on. Arnold is not only a towering musician — yeah, he stands six feet three, but I'm talking about fiddle playing — he is also beloved among his colleagues for his generosity, intelligence, and kindness.