This Week At The Classical Station

Photo of Statue of North Carolina Central University founder James E. Shepard.  CC BY-SA 3.0

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, August 23, 2020

This evening on Preview! John Williams makes a triumphant debut, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time at age 88. Rob Kennedy speaks with cellist Inbal Segev about her recording of Anna Clyne’s Dance and the Elgar Cello Concerto. Violinist Lisa Batiashvili plays Morricone and tenor Jonas Kaufmann sings Schubert.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern. With host Jeffrey David Smith.

Photo: Inbal Segev/Dario Acosta

This evening on Wavelengths, the Jasper String Quartet performs music of Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy. We’ll also hear a sonata by French composer Jean-Michel Damase, and music of American composer Mark Abel. Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. With host Ed Amend.

Photo: Mark Abel/Erik Doria

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by Lionheart, Apollo’s Fire, and the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo De Silos. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Francis Jackson, and Claudio Monteverdi.

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

Photo: 1976 Flentrop organ in Duke University Chapel/Duke Chapel Communications

On August 23 we observe the birthday of English composer and conductor Constant Lambert (1905-1951) and American conductor Karina Canellakis (1981-). Lambert was a student of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Sir Malcolm Sargent at the Royal College of Music. In 1931 Lambert was appointed Conductor and Music Director of the Vic Wells Ballet which later became the Royal Ballet. Born and raised in New York City, Maestra Canellakis attended The Curtis Institute and The Juilliard School. She is the chief conductor of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkes in the Netherlands.

Photo: Karina Canellakis/Mathias Bothor; Christopher Wood/

Saturday, August 22, 2020

The music you hear on The Classical Station is made possible in part by bequests from generous listeners. Their munificence allows us to share the great classical music they loved so much with listeners everywhere. If you are planning to make a bequest to The Classical Station in your Will, please let us know so that we can thank you.

On August 22 we observe the birthdays of English composers Christopher Gibbons (1615-1676) and Sir Edward Bairstow (1874-1946), and French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918). Gibbons was the second son of Orlando Gibbons who was one of England’s prominent composers of the late Tudor period. Sir Edward Bairstow was Organist of York Minster from 1913-1946. It was Claude Debussy who stated that “Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” The two leading impressionistic composers, Debussy and Ravel, delighted in breaking musical rules. The result was a whole new approach to musical composition.

Photos: Claude Debussy/Félix Nadar; Others/

Friday, August 21, 2020

Celebrate the loved ones in your life. Day Dedications and ongoing Patron Announcements on The Classical Station are thoughtful gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Like a musical duet, you can honor a loved one and support great music, together. Contact Dan McHugh for more information. 919-556-5178

On August 21 we observe the birthdays of French composer Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) and British mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker (1933-). Sister of Nadia Boulanger who taught many American musicians, Lili was a child prodigy who died at the very young age of twenty-five. Her compositions reveal a remarkable talent, leaving one to marvel at what might have been had she lived longer. Active from the 50s to the 80s, Dame Janet Baker was highly regarded for her interpretations of baroque as well as contemporary music. Happy 87th birthday, Dame Janet!


Thursday, August 20, 2020

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House features an encore broadcast of Giuseppe Verdi’s Luisa Miller, hosted by the longtime host of the WCPE Opera House, Al Ruocchio (1937-2007). Set to a libretto by Salvatore Cammarano and based on Friedrich Schiller’s Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love), it was first performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples on December 8, 1849. The work marks the transition between Verdi’s early and middle periods, and has won a permanent place in the repertory.

In early seventeenth-century Tyrol, Luisa (soprano Anna Moffo), daughter of the old soldier Miller (baritone Cornell MacNeil), is in love with Rodolfo (tenor Carlo Bergonzi). She believes him to be a commoner but he is, in fact, the son of Count Walther (bass Giorgio Tozzi). The Count wants Rodolfo to marry Federica, Duchess of Ostheim (mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett), and plots with his evil steward, Wurm (bass Ezio Flagello) to separate him from Luisa. Walther has Miller arrested and, to obtain his freedom, Luisa is forced by Wurm to write a letter saying that she never loved Rodolfoo but is actually in love with him. Luisa and Miller plan to go into exile together, but Rodolfo arrives and he and Luisa drink poisoned wine. Realizing that she’s dying, Luisa tells him the truth, and the dying Rodolfo kills Wurm.

Fausto Cleva conducts the RCA Italiana Orchestra and Chorus in this 1965 RCA/BMG recording. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Cover of a score for voice and piano of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1849 opera Luisa Miller/Edizioni Ricordi CC-PD-Mark

What we’re doing here – keeping classical music alive – is something that’s very much needed in our community, indeed, in our country. That’s because this is music which has a powerful sense of history and tradition like no other. It aims to get deep into the timeless feelings and emotions that are at the core of being human. Classical music at its best heightens our sense of being alive. All of this passion is worth keeping alive on The Classical Station. Your donation makes that happen. Bring more music to your ears today. Keep this wonderful music alive right now with a heartfelt contribution. Give securely online or call 800-556-5178 anytime to make your pledge. A member of staff is always on duty and will be happy to take down your information. Don’t forget to select a Thank You Gift!

Photo: Nadia Shpachenko/Albert Chang

On August 20 we observe the birthdays of Austrian composer Josef Strauss (1827-1870), Canadian conductor Mario Bernardi (1930-2013), and Israeli violinist Maxim Vengerov (1974-). Josef Strauss was a member of the famous Viennese musical family. He was the son of Johann Strauss I, and brother of Johann Strauss II. Maestro Bernardi was the founding conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario, as well as the conductor of the CBC Radio Orchestra. Vengerov has appeared with many of the world’s major orchestras. Photos: Others/

Photos: Maxim Vengerov/Pascale Bitz; Others/

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A couple of months ago, renowned baritone Sherrill Milnes was our guest on My Life In Music. Bob Chapman spoke with Milnes about his long career as one of the great Verdi baritones. As delightful and engaging in this interview as he was on the stage of the world’s great opera houses, Sherrill offers a unique look at the world of opera. You can enjoy their conversation on demand.

Photo: Dario Acosta

On August 19 we observe the birthdays of Romanian composer and conductor George Enescu (1881-1955) and American conductor Gerard Schwarz (1947-). Enescu shares the distinction with Fritz Kreisler of being the youngest students admitted to the Vienna Conservatory at the age of seven. Maestro Schwarz has been the music director of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina since 2007. He was music director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra from 1985-2001, and Music Director of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival from 1982-2001.

Photos: Gerard Schwarz/Yuen Lui; George Enescu/

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

George Gershwin said, “I frequently hear music in the heart of noise.” What? You mean, you missed hearing that quote on Preview? Well, did you know you can hear all our Preview interviews on demand? The musicians we interview explain the music they have recorded and show us what to listen for.

On August 18 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Antonio Salieri (1750-1825), Canadian composer and conductor Sir Ernest MacMillan (1893-1973), and Russian conductor Dmitri Kitayenko (1940-). Signor Salieri taught Schubert, Liszt and Beethoven. Sir Ernest MacMillan was one of the most influential musicians of his generation in Canada. Maestro Kitayenko was conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra for many years. He has made many recordings with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

Photos: Dmitri Kitayenko/Gert Mothes;

Monday, August 17, 2020

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. On the program is music of Richard Wagner, Franz Schubert, and Johannes Brahms in performances led by Kurt Masur, Riccardo Chailly, and current principal conductor Andris Nelsons.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. Charles Holloway hosts.


On August 17 we observe the birthday of Spanish classical guitarist Ángel Romero (1946-). Señor Romero comes from a family of distinguished musicians. His father is Celedonio Romero. His brothers are Pepe and Celin. Ángel was the first guitar soloist to appear with the Los Angles Symphony Orchestra which he did at the age of sixteen.