This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: United States Airforce, Dover AFB. Fair Use

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Saturday, November 26, 2022

We hope that you have had an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Please remember that our great classical music is as close as your smartphone and tablet. Our app offers a high-quality audio stream that you can play through your smart speakers. You can also listen to some recent Preview! interviews and see what we will be playing on What’s Playing.

You can download our app from your device’s store. Just look for “WCPE The Classical Station.”

On November 26 we observe the birthdays of two great American pianists: Earl Wild (1915-2010) and Eugene Istomin (1925-2003).

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Earl Wild was one of the 20th century’s great pianists. Besides being a virtuoso, he transcribed several orchestral works and composed a few of his own, in addition to leaving us dozens of recordings on several labels. A native of New York City, Eugene Istomin was one of the 20th-century great pianists, like Earl Wild. Istomin enjoyed a well-received collaboration as one member of a trio with Leonard Rose and Isaac Stern.

Photo: Earl Wild, Unknown Author, Fair Use


Friday, November 25, 2022

On November 25 we observe the birthdays of Austrian composer Franz Gruber (1787-1863), American composer and critic Virgil Thomson (1896-1989), German pianist Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991), and French conductor Jean-Claude Malgoire (1940-2018).

Herr Gruber wrote the music for Silent Night. Virgil Thomson was one of the 20th-century composers largely responsible for creating what we recognize as the American sound. Aaron Copland was the other. Listen to music critic Anthony Tomassini talking about Virgil Thomson in an interview we recorded in October 2020.  Herr Kempff was one of the 20th-century great interpreters of the piano music of Beethoven and Schubert. Monsieur Malgoire is a prominent conductor of Baroque music.

Photo: Portrait of Franz Gruber, Sebastian Stief, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons


Thursday, November 24, 2022
Thanksgiving Day

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. American opera is alive and well! Set in the Rural Midwest during the Great Depression, The Tender Land is a beautiful, simple story about a young woman’s coming of age.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Dr. Jay Pierson hosts.

On November 24 we observe the birthday of American composer Scott Joplin (c. 1868–1917).

A native of Arkansas, Joplin is widely considered to be the “King of Ragtime”. His music shot to popularity as a result of it being included in the hit movie The Sting (1973) which featured Joplin’s rag The Entertainer.

Photo: Scott Joplin (c. 1903), Author Unknown, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Tomorrow The Classical Station celebrates a day of gratitude with a collection of works by American composers. Enjoy time with friends and family as we play works by Aaron Copland, Amy Beach, William Grant Still, and more.

The staff and volunteers of The Classical Station wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

On November 23 we observe the birthdays of English composer Thomas Atwood (1765-1838), French composer André Caplet (1878-1925), and Spanish composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946).

After studying with Mozart, Thomas Attwood went on to be the Organist of Saint Paul’s Cathedral from 1796-1838. Winner of the Prix de Rome in 1901, Monsieur Caplet was a close friend of Claude Debussy and orchestrated many of his works. Manuel de Falla is best remembered for his compositions The Ritual Fire Dance and The Three-Cornered Hat.

Photo: Manuel de Falla, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Celebrate the special classical music lover in your life with a daily, weekly, or monthly announcement here on The Classical Station. With a Sustaining Membership of $100 per month, you can have a weekly on-air dedication. To find out more about day dedications and patron announcements on The Classical Station or to renew your announcement, contact Tanja Greaves at 919-556-5178.

On November 22 we observe the birthdays of German composer Wilhelm Friedmann Bach (1710-1784), Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999), English composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), American composer Gunther Schuller (1925-2015), English pianist Sir Stephen Hough (1961-), and American conductor Kent Nagano (1951-).

The second child and eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wilhelm Friedmann Bach was taught by his father who wrote, among other works, Inventions and Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier for him. While best known for his guitar music, Senor Rodrigo never actually mastered the instrument himself. We know him best for his Concierto de Aranjuez which is a great favorite of The Classical Station’s listeners. Benjamin Britten was a brilliant composer as well as conductor and pianist. He was also the first British musician to be made a life peer. The Britten-Pears Foundation website is a good resource for information about the composer. Gunther Schuller studied at the St. Thomas Choir School in New York and went on to be President of the New England Conservatory. Besides being a brilliant pianist, Sir Stephen Hough is a writer, composer, and polymath. He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the Julliard School. You can listen to a conversation with Sir Stephen on our Conversations page. Maestro Nagano was the Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 2006 to 2020 and is also the music director of the Hamburg State Opera.

Photo: Stephen Hough by Andrew Crowley


Monday, November 21, 2022

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which was founded in 1842. On our program is music by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, in performances conducted by current music director Jaap van Zweden, Leonard Bernstein, and José Serebrier.

Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station” Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

On November 21 we observe the birthdays of Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909), German composer Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933), Australian composer Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003), and American conductor James DePreist (1936-2013).

Karg-Elert is perhaps best known to organists. He wrote over one hundred pieces for organ and harmonium. Tárrega was both a composer and a virtuoso guitarist who laid the foundations for classical guitar performance in the 20th century. Williamson was a Master of the Queen’s Music from 1975-2003. He wrote seven symphonies and a dozen concerti for various instruments. James DePreist was the nephew of the contralto Marian Anderson. Among other appointments, he was Leonard Bernstein’s assistant at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1965-66. DePriest was the music director of the Oregon Symphony from 1980-2003.

Photo: James DePriest by Wendy Leher