This Week at The Classical Station
by Rob Kennedy
Photo: Ian Kennedy, Venice, Florida
by Rob Kennedy
Sunday, May 28, 2023
The Dover Quartet opens Preview! this evening with a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Quartet No.13 in B flat, Op. 130. The director of Britain’s acclaimed choral ensemble, The Gesualdo Six, Owain Park, talks about his ensemble and the music on their recording Lux Aeterna.
Preview! brings you the latest releases and local arts news every Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern.
This morning on Great Sacred Music, we present a special program commemorating Memorial Day, featuring heartfelt music performed by the Turtle Creek Chorale, the Voices of Ascension, and Gloriae Dei Cantores. Alongside these poignant tributes, our playlist includes compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, Randall Thompson, and Amy Beach, as we pay tribute to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
In a poignant moment of remembrance, our Program Director, Dick Storck, will recite Sir Walter Scott’s moving poem, “Soldier, Rest, Thy Warfare O’er.” Through this heartfelt reading, we honor the unwavering dedication and selflessness of our fallen heroes. Be sure to join us as we come together to commemorate their noble service and reflect on their enduring legacy.
Great Sacred Music begins at 8 a.m. Eastern time, right after Sing for Joy, here on The Classical Station.
On May 28 we observe the birthdays of German baritone Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012), and Romanian-born Austrian composer György Sándor Ligeti (1923-2006).
Herr Fischer-Dieskau was universally acclaimed as the greatest singer of lieder. His recordings of Schubert songs with Gerald Moore and Jorge Demus are acmes of the genre. Ligeti was considered one of the greatest avant-garde composers of the 20th century. Stanley Kubrick used Ligeti’s music in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Photos: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Unknown Author, Alchetron; Gyorgy Ligeti, Marcel Antonisse, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Wikimedia Commons
Saturday, May 27, 2023
Richard Wagner’s opera Siegfried is a thrilling and monumental work that forms a crucial part of his renowned four-opera cycle, “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (“The Ring of the Nibelung”). The opera follows the adventures of the fearless hero Siegfried as he grows from a naive and orphaned youth to a formidable warrior and, eventually, a tragic figure.
Act 1 introduces us to the Nibelung dwarf Mime, who has been raising Siegfried and forging a powerful sword for him. Mime hopes to use Siegfried to obtain the Ring, a magical artifact that grants its possessor immense power. Siegfried, however, is oblivious to Mime’s ulterior motives and yearns for adventure and the meaning of fear. He reforges his father’s broken sword, Nothung, which holds great significance for his destiny.
In Act 2, Siegfried encounters the dragon Fafner, who guards a hoard of gold that includes the Ring. Fearlessly, Siegfried slays the dragon with Nothung and, by chance, tastes its blood. This grants him the ability to understand the language of birds. A Woodbird guides him to the sleeping Brünnhilde, a powerful warrior maiden and Valkyrie, encircled by a ring of fire on a mountaintop. Siegfried, captivated by her beauty, resolves to awaken her.
Act 3 brings us to the final climax of the opera. Siegfried awakens Brünnhilde, who realizes that her long slumber has come to an end. They fall passionately in love, and Brünnhilde relinquishes her divine status to be with Siegfried as a mortal. The pair exchanges vows and celebrates their newfound love. However, Siegfried decides to embark on further adventures, leaving Brünnhilde behind and promising to return.
As the opera unfolds, Siegfried unwittingly becomes entangled in a web of deceit and greed. He encounters the treacherous Mime once again, who seeks to take the Ring for himself. Siegfried, unaware of the Ring’s significance, eventually kills Mime.
In the final scene, Siegfried encounters the Gibichung siblings, Gunther and Gutrune, who are manipulated by their half-brother Hagen, a son of Alberich, the master of the Nibelungs. Hagen desires the Ring and cunningly plots Siegfried’s downfall. Through a potion, Siegfried forgets his love for Brünnhilde and is manipulated into helping Gunther marry her. Disguised as Gunther, Siegfried claims Brünnhilde as his own, unaware of her true identity.
The opera reaches its tragic climax when Brünnhilde realizes Siegfried’s betrayal. Consumed by grief and rage, she reveals his true identity to the Gibichungs and declares that he will pay for his betrayal with his life. In the final moments, Siegfried meets his demise, and Brünnhilde takes control of the Ring, setting the stage for the dramatic events that will unfold in the subsequent opera, “Götterdämmerung.”
Siegfried is a riveting tale of heroism, love, and the corruption of power. Wagner’s masterful score and epic storytelling combine to create an unforgettable experience that delves deep into the human condition, exploring themes of destiny, sacrifice, and the consequences of unchecked ambition.
The curtain goes up at 1 p.m. Eastern.
On May 27 we observe the birthdays of French composer Jacques Halévy (1799-1862), German-Swiss composer Joachim Raff (1822-1882), and Scottish composer Thea Musgrave (1928-).
Jacques-François-Fromental-Élie Halévy had many notable students including Georges Bizet and Camille Saint-Saëns. Joseph Joachim Raff worked as Franz Liszt’s assistant for several years during which time he helped orchestrate several of the master’s works. Thea Musgrave has lived in the United States since 1972 and has been on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Queens College, City University of New York.
Photos: Jacques Halévy, Eugene Carjat, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Joachim Raff, Montel & Jacob, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Thea Musgrave, Christian Steiner.
Friday, May 26, 2023
On May 26 we observe the birthdays of Lithuanian-born French pianist Vlado Perlemuter (1904-2002), English conductor Sir Eugene Gossens (1893-1962), American composer William Bolcom (1938-), and French guitarist Thibaut Garcia (1994-).
Vlado Perlemuter was renowned for his interpretation of the music of Maurice Ravel. Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens came from a long line of distinguished musicians. William Bolcom won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his composition 12 New Etudes for Piano. Thibaut Garcia is in the vanguard of the new generation of classical guitarists. Winner of numerous competitions, his first album Leyendas was released in 2016.
Photo: Vlado Perlemuter, Unknown Author, Nimbus Records, Fair Use; William Bolcolm, Peter Smith; Eugene Gosenns, Unknown Author, Music Regeneree, Fair Use; Thibaut Garcia, Luis Castilla
Thursday, May 25, 2023
This evening, the Thursday Night Opera House presents two operas. Here are the plots.
Opera 1: Peter Cornelius: The Barber of Baghdad
The Barber of Baghdad is a comedic opera composed by Peter Cornelius. Set in the enchanting city of Baghdad, the opera revolves around the amusing misadventures of a bumbling barber named Nureddin. Nureddin dreams of finding true love and escaping his mundane life. When he falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Margiana, he becomes determined to win her heart. However, Margiana’s father, Caliph, has strict rules about her suitors and demands that any potential husband pass a series of absurd tests. As Nureddin tries to navigate the challenges, hilarity ensues with mistaken identities, comical disguises, and witty banter. Filled with lively melodies, charming characters, and lighthearted humor, The Barber of Baghdad offers an entertaining evening of operatic delight.
Opera 2: Ferruccio Busoni: Arlecchino
Arlecchino is a one-act opera composed by Ferruccio Busoni, based on the character Arlecchino from the traditional Italian Commedia dell’arte. The opera presents a vibrant and fast-paced story set in 18th-century Venice. Arlecchino, the clever and mischievous servant, finds himself entangled in a complex web of love and deception. As he tries to assist his master, Count Adalberto, in his pursuit of the beautiful Colombina, Arlecchino’s wit and resourcefulness are put to the test. The opera unfolds with a series of humorous and dramatic encounters, featuring colorful characters such as the jealous Pantalone, the scheming Brighella, and the naive Rosaura. With its lively music, witty dialogue, and physical comedy, Arlecchino captures the essence of the Commedia dell’arte tradition and offers an evening of delightful entertainment for opera enthusiasts.
Tell your smart device to “Play The Classical Station” at 7 p.m. Eastern.
On May 25 we observe the birthday of American concert organist Diane Bish (1941-).
Diane is host and executive producer of The Joy of Music. She has filmed the show in most of the world’s great churches, showcasing their magnificent organs on every program. You can hear Diane talk about her life and career as a concert organist in an interview we did with her on My Life In Music in March 2019. Happy 81st birthday, Diane!
Photo: Roni Ely
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Rev up your generosity and make a difference with our sensational Car Donation Program! Get ready to ignite change and experience the thrill of transforming lives through your vehicle’s gift. Join us today and drive toward a brighter future, as every contribution fuels hope, empowers communities, and leaves tire tracks of compassion. Together, let’s hit the road to greatness and accelerate the impact of your generous spirit!
On May 24, we observe the birthdays of French conductor Paul Paray (1886-1979), Australian soprano Joan Hammond (1912-1996), and German flute and recorder player Hans-Martin Linde (1930-).
Maestro Paray was the conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1952-1963. Dame Joan Hilda Hood Hammond, DBE, CMG, was also a champion golfer. Besides being a virtuoso recorder and flute player Herr Linde has written several books on flute and recorder playing.
Photos: Paul Paray, Unknown Author, Alchetron, Fair Use; Joan Hammond, Unknown Author, Fair Use, Wikimedia Commons; Hans Martin Linde, Unknown Author, Fair Use.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
We love playing the music you have asked us to play. Choose short pieces or long pieces from any period you like. As long as we have space for it, we’ll play it. If we don’t have the piece in our library, we will substitute a similar work by the same composer.
Because our request programs are very popular and fill up quickly, please submit your requests by Wednesday for All Request Friday, and by Thursday for the Saturday Evening Request Program. Do that by using the form on the Request page here on our website or on our app.
On May 23 we observe the birthdays of German composer Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870), Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009), and American pianist John Browning (1933-2003).
A prolific composer, Herr Moscheles spanned the Classical and Romantic periods of classical music. Alicia de Larrocha was one of the great 20th-century pianists. Samuel Barber wrote his Piano Concerto for John Browning who went on to win a Grammy for his recording of the work.
Photos: Ignaz Moscheles, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; John Browning, Herbert Barrett Management, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Alicia de Larrocha, Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de la Presidència, Wikimedia Commons
Monday, May 22, 2023
This week, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Suisse Romande Orchestra founded in 1918 by Ernest Ansermet. The program includes music by Jacques Offenbach, Paul Dukas, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Claude Debussy, and Igor Stravinsky, conducted by Ernest Ansermet, Armin Jordan, Neeme Järvi, and current Principal Conductor Jonathan Nott. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.
On May 22, we observe the birthday of German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883). Herr Wagner transformed opera and influenced music and musicians substantively. Got a favorite piece by Wagner? Why not ask us to play it next Friday on All Request Friday or on the Saturday Evening Request Program? You can make your request online or on our app.
Photo: Richard Wagner, Franz Hanfstaengl, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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