This Week At The Classical Station


Photo of Lake Gaston by Domenic R. Merenda on

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, July 26, 2020

This evening on Preview! Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov performs music of Beethoven. Rob Kennedy speaks with Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe about his new CD of the Bach Lute Suites. Les Vents Français play music of August Klughardt.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings and arts news each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern. Jeffrey David Smith hosts.

Photo: Sean Shibe/Kaupo Kukkas

This evening on Wavelengths we’ll hear music of Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer David Lang. We’ll also hear works by the late British composer Oliver Knussen and Brazilian guitarist and composer Sergio Assad.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music, Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Photo: David Lang/Peter Serling

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Duke University Evensong Choir, Utah State University Chamber Singers, and Polyphony. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ola Gjeilo, and Sir Edward Elgar.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music. Every Sunday morning. 8 a.m. eastern. Right after Sing For Joy. With Rob Kennedy.

Photo: Aeolian organ in Duke University Chapel/Duke University

On July 26 we observe the birthday of John Field, the Irish pianist and composer. He lived from 1782-1837. Field is perhaps best known for creating the musical form we know as the ‘nocturne’ or night song. Chopin, in turn, made the nocturne popular when he adopted the form as his own. John Field was a student of Muzio Clementi, another piano virtuoso and teacher.

Photo: Etching of John Field in the Gallica Library/

Saturday, July 25, 2020

On July 25 we observe the birthday of Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester (1930-2010). A native of Montreal, Quebec, Ms. Forrester appeared on opera stages and recital halls worldwide during her long career from 1953-1983. More about her at


Friday, July 24, 2020

On July 24 we observe the birthdays of French composer Adolphe Adam (1803-1856), Swiss-born American composer Ernest Bloch (1880-1959), and American pianist Peter Serkin (1947-2020). Monsieur Adam was a prolific composer of operas and ballets. Ernest Bloch left us about one hundred works in several formats. Serkin studied at the Curtis Institute and was a champion of new music and contemporary composers.

Photos: , Peter Serkin/Kathy Chapman #WCPE

Thursday, July 23, 2020

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante . Set in Scotland, it was the first new opera Handel presented at London’s newly opened opera house at Covent Garden. Based on several cantos from Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, it opened on January 8, 1735. Among the novelties of the production was the introduction of dance sequences, a first for London.

Prince Ariodante (mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter in a “trouser” role) is engaged to marry Ginevra (soprano Lynne Dawson), daughter of the King of Scotland (bass Denis Sedov), but has a rival in the Duke of Albany, Polinesso (contralto Ewa Podles in the other “trouser” role), who wants to become King and cons Ginevra’s attendant Dalinda (soprano Verónica Cangemi) into helping him contrive false evidence that Ginevra has lost her virginity. Ariodante’s brother Lurcanio (tenor Richard Croft), also outwitted by Polinesso, becomes enraged and offers to fight any knight who dares defend Ginevra’s sullied reputation. When her own father turns against her, Ginevra not surprisingly goes mad. But when her supposedly dead fiancé Ariodante shows up to defend her (having learned the truth), the King forgives his daughter and makes Ariodante his heir-apparent. Dalinda, who was previously tricked into working with the evil Polinesso, now becomes engaged to Lurcanio, whom she’d loved all along. Happy ending!

Marc Minkowski conducts the orchestra and chorus of Les Musiciens du Louvre in this 1999 recording.

Photo: Portrait of George Frideric Handel by Philip Mercier c.1730
On July 23 we observe the birthdays of Swedish composer Franz Berwald (1796-1868), American pianist Leon Fleisher (1928-), Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires (1944-), and American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (1960-).

Berwald was another composer who made his living doing something other than composing. He was a very successful orthopedic specialist. Focal dystonia drastically changed the focus of Leon. Fleisher’s musical career in 1964.  Ms. Pires is a musical phenomenon. Ms. Graham shows no signs of slowing down after a long, remarkable career.

Photos: Messrs. Berwald & Fleisher/; Susan Graham/Ken & Carl Fischer Photography, NY
Maria João Pires/Felix Broede

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Carolina Philharmonic sent us this charming video. Ending the 2019/20 School Year with a special project, maestro David Michael Wolff invited children ages 6-12 to send in videos of their performances of the Encore! Kids inspirational, motivational theme song, Twilight. View the resulting performance below.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

On July 21 we observe the birthdays of American violinist Isaac Stern (1920-2001) and Austrian-born Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti (1938-). Stern made a point of championing younger players including such notable artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zukerman. Kuerti has served on the faculties of the University of Toronto and McGill University besides producing 25 recordings.

Photos: Isaac Stern/ & Anton Kuerti/Music2020 on Flickr CC

Monday, July 20, 2020

Photo by Chris Lee

This evening Monday Night At The Symphony presents the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. On the program are works by Antonín Dvořák, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Hugo Alfven, in performances led by Marin Alsop, David Zinman, and Sergiu Comissiona. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”