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Classics for Kids Podcast Episode Listing

St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London has a sign that says: “Gustav Holst wrote The Planets and taught here.” Holst composed his St. Paul’s Suite for the student orchestra at St. Paul’s Girls’ School. Many other composers wrote music for students to perform.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Gustav Holst 3: Music for Students (2023)
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Astronomy is the science that studies the sun, moon, planets, and other objects in the sky. Astrology is not a science – it tries to show how objects in the sky affect people’s lives on earth. Gustav Holst loved astrology, and he composed his Planets to be musical pictures of human nature.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Gustav Holst 2: The Planets (2023)
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Born into a family of composers, Gustav Holst wanted to follow in their footsteps. His career included playing in orchestras and serving as head of music at St. Paul’s Girls’ School for almost thirty years while also composing.

He liked music by earlier English composers, folk music and poetry, especially poetry from ancient India. The success of The Planets thrust him into the spotlight and enabled him to focus more of his time on what he loved, composing.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Gustav Holst 1: About Gustav Holst (2023)
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A collection of musical firsts, including the first string quartet, the first use of trombones in a symphony, and the first professional musician to make a recording.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Franz Joseph Haydn 6: Firsts



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By the time Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born in 1858, there had already been four generations of musicians in his hometown of Lucca. Most were church musicians, but Giacomo had other ideas. When he was a teenager, he went to hear a performance of Verdi’s Aida. From that moment on he knew that what he wanted to do was write operas. He did, and became one of Italy's most beloved operatic composers.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Giacomo Puccini 1: About Giacomo Puccini



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Around the year 1600, Italian composers started writing theater pieces that use music all the way through them. Instead of speaking, characters in operas sing their lines. From Claudio Monteverdi, who wrote the earliest opera that is still performed, through Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, Italy has produced some of the world’s finest opera composers.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Giacomo Puccini 2: A Brief History of Italian Opera



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Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème is about struggling artists in Paris. Its title means “the bohemian lifestyle.” But Bohemia isn't in France; it's in the Czech Republic. Other composers such as Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Jules Massenet, were also inspired by this part of the world, using its music and describing its beautiful countryside in their works.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Giacomo Puccini 3: Bohemian Music



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Jonathan Larson, the composer of the musical “Rent,” used the same plot for this musical as Puccini did for La Bohème. Other composers also used classical music when they wrote their Broadway hits. “Kismet” is adapted from compositions by Russian composer Alexander Borodin and “The Song of Norway” uses tunes by Edvard Grieg to tell the story of Grieg’s life.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
Giacomo Puccini 4: Classical Music that Turned into Musical Theater



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Before television, radio, and the movies, it used to be a very big deal when the circus came to town. Circus parades and performances were always accompanied by marches called “screamers” — a name that probably came from the fact that the music screams for attention.

Classics For Kids
Classics For Kids
John Philip Sousa 5: I Love a Parade!



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