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The wisdom of the metronome on Exploring Music in August 2021


Beethoven was notorious for marking his music with metronome timings, and the week of August 30th we'll learn the significant role those little numbers played.

Week of August 2, 2021 - Operetta Two  Tune in for the latest installment in a series devoted to exploring Operettas. Bill guides us through The Merry Widow of Franz Lehár, unpacks the mystery of zarzuela, plays some Victor Herbert, and shares with us some delightful pieces from Gilbert and Sullivan, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Jerome Kern (phew!) And from John Philip Sousa. Yes, you read that right - the march king wrote 15 operettas! All of this in Operettas Two.

Week of August 9, 2021 - Hindemith, Paul From his birth in a town near Frankfurt through his time in Egypt, Turkey, and eventual emigration to America, Paul Hindemith had a strong and lasting impact on music in the middle of the 20th century. We'll sample his compositions and follow his controversial life.

Week of August 16, 2021 - Orchestral Heroes This week Bill explores a request from a listener in Philadelphia, who would like to hear solos and concerti from different members of the symphony orchestra. Bill feels orchestras are one of the great creations of humankind. One hundred musicians artfully blend together, but each instrumentalist has their own personality and spirit. Bill creates a fantastic playlist of clarinet, horn, oboe, violin and even saxophone solos played by our favorite orchestral heroes. We’ll end the week with Ravel’s Bolero, where every instrument gets to shine.

Week of August 23, 2021 - Franz Schubert and The Friends He Never Got to Meet  Bill and many other performers have spent a lot of time studying the intimate worlds of great composers, trying to better understand their scores. After years of study, they find themselves “knowing” these composers and consider them friends. Bill was born 120 years too late to have met Franz Schubert, but he still thinks of him as a close friend. Schubert died in 1828 at just 31. He left us with music that expresses tremendous love and friendship. On this week’s program, Bill shares thoughts from Earl Wild, Imogen Cooper, Marian Anderson, and members of the Vienna Philharmonic to communicate their intimate connections with Schubert through his songs, piano music, chamber music, and orchestral works.

Week of August 30, 2021 - Beethoven and That Danged Metronome The metronome is a device that musicians use to break up the musical minute, based on the portion of a second used per beat. Beethoven was notorious for marking his music with metronome timings, and this week we learn the significant role those little numbers played.  The tempo and interpretation affect the emotional impact of a composition, thus changing its entire character.  We'll also take a brief detour and examine how other composers, like Bach, Handel, and Shostakovich worked with tempi in their music.