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Musical partnerships that changed music history - Exploring Music Nov 2019


This month host Bill McGlaughlin takes us on a two-week exploration of some of the most legendary artistic partnerships in the history of classical music. (Week of Nov 11 and Nov 18)

Week of November 4, 2019 - Dona Nobis Pacem - Grant Us Peace “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Leonard Bernstein said these words in response to the assassination of JFK. Sadly, half a century later, tens of thousands of people are killed by guns in the United States every year. This week Exploring Music borrows its title, Dona Nobis Pacem, from the Latin Mass for our reaction to such violence. While there is so much work that we all must do to end this senseless epidemic, we also must make sure to nourish and comfort our own souls. We hope that you find some peace in our selections including Bach, Byrd, Grieg, Schubert, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Week of November 11, 2019 - The Game of Pairs, Part I  Haydn and Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms, Copland and Bernstein — these are just a few of the legendary artistic partnerships that have changed the course of musical history.  Bill explores the ways in which composers learn from the musicians who came before them. We’ll hear music from Vivaldi and how he influenced a young J.S. Bach, including in the Brandenburg Concerti. The first part of the Game of Pairs ends with Bill pointing out the influences of Schumann in Brahms’s third symphony.

Week of November 18, 2019 - The Game of Pairs, Part II  Our two-week series focusing on legendary partnerships between composers continues. This week starts in Paris with French impressionist composers Debussy and Ravel, focusing on their respective quartets. Bill then explores the friendship between Béla Bartôk and Zoltan Kodály, in particular their love of Hungarian folk music. In the middle of the week Bill tips his hat to the title of our theme by playing the second movement of Bartôk’s Concerto for Orchestra, “Giuoco delle coppie” or “The Game of Pairs”.  We close this week with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic in a performance of his longtime friend Aaron Copland’s third symphony.

Week of November 25, 2019 - The Gathering Storm: Music from 1929 to 1941, from the Great Depression to World War II  With the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression settling in, orchestras and record companies closed their doors, composers stopped getting commissions, and musicians joined the unemployment lines. Interestingly, during these hard times millions of people had a radio and they couldn’t get enough of the free entertainment. CBS, NBC, and many other stations acquired the bankrupt recording companies and started employing musicians in big bands, operas, and orchestras. This unique twelve years ended with the start of WWII and Dmitri Shostakovich composing his seventh symphony dedicated to the city of Leningrad.  This week on Exploring Music we will hear composers like Benjamin Britten, Samuel Barber, Dmitry Shostakovich, and Aaron Copland express these hard times.