This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, July 16, 2023

This evening on Preview!, Robert Levin plays Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Mozart’s own piano. Scott Yoo, host of PBS’s acclaimed program Now Hear This, talks about the music of Isaac Albeniz.

Preview! brings you the latest releases and local arts news every Sunday at 6 p.m.

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, Voces8, and the Howard University Choir. Also on our playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, and Charles Gounod.

Great Sacred Music begins at 8 a.m. Eastern. Right after Sing for Joy.

On July 16 we observe the birthdays of Soviet-born American pianist Bella Davidovich (1928-), Scottish conductor Bryden Thomson (1928-1991), and Israeli violinist Pinchas Zukerman (1948-) Bella Mikhaylovna Davidovich was just nine years old when she performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Madame Davidovich is the mother of Greensboro Symphony’s conductor Dmitri Sitkovetsky. Happy 94th birthday! Bryden Thomson was a champion of the music of English and Scottish composers. Israeli violinist Pinchas Zukerman has earned two GRAMMY awards and enjoys a fine reputation as a conductor. 

Photo: Bella Davidovich, Joop van Bilsen/Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, July 15, 2023

When your destination is The Classical Station, you’re on a journey whose goal is to enrich, excite, inspire, and relax. The strings, the keyboards, the brass, the percussion, the voices – classical is music for thinkers, for explorers, and for people who seek a deeper and richer experience in life. But the music doesn’t play for free. It’s funded by the people who listen – by people who want the door to inspiration to always be open. It’s funded by YOU.

Put a down payment on your next journey now with your donation to The Classical Station. Give securely online, on our app, via the mail to The Classical Station, PO Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588, and anytime by calling 800-556-5178.

On July 15 we observe the birthdays of three English musicians: guitarist Julian Bream (1933-2020), and composers Geoffrey Burgon (1941-2010) and Harrison Birtwistle (1934-).

Julian Bream won four Grammy Awards for his playing. He was widely considered one of the greatest classical guitarists of the 20th century.  Geoffrey Burgon wrote scores for film and television. The income from his music for Monty Python’s Life of BrianTinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Brideshead Revisited allowed Burgon to indulge his love of other musical styles.  Harrison Birtwistle’s style of composing is distinctive. He often writes music that he disassembles so that he can rearrange it, all with good dramatic effect.

Photo: Julian Bream, Unknown Author, Sol Hurok Enterprises, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Friday, July 14, 2023

Bastille Day, celebrated on July 14th each year, commemorates the historic event of the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789. It serves as a symbol of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and is a significant national holiday in France. Beyond its historical and cultural significance, France has also made immense contributions to the classical music genre through its talented composers.

French composers have played a pivotal role in shaping classical music, with their distinct styles, innovative approaches, and rich musical heritage. From the refined elegance of the Baroque period to the revolutionary spirit of the Romantic era, French composers have left an indelible mark on the classical music landscape.

One of the most influential French composers is Claude Debussy, known for his pioneering impressionistic style. His compositions, such as “Clair de Lune” and “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” evoke vivid musical landscapes and break free from traditional tonal boundaries, embracing a more fluid and evocative harmonic language.

Maurice Ravel, a contemporary of Debussy, expanded on the impressionistic tradition, infusing his works with vibrant colors and intricate textures. His compositions, such as “Boléro” and “Daphnis et Chloé,” showcase his meticulous craftsmanship and innovative orchestrations, leaving an indelible mark on orchestral repertoire.

The French Baroque era witnessed the rise of Jean-Baptiste Lully, who pioneered the French operatic tradition and served as the composer of Louis XIV’s court. His grand operas, such as “Armide” and “Atys,” combined rich vocal writing with lavish staging, exemplifying the opulence and sophistication of the French court.

Francis Poulenc, a prominent figure in the 20th century, brought a unique blend of traditional and modern influences to his compositions. His works, ranging from choral pieces like “Gloria” to his operas and chamber music, demonstrate his keen sensitivity to text, exquisite melodies, and emotional depth.

These are just a few examples among many French composers who have made significant contributions to the classical music genre. From the charming elegance of François Couperin to the intellectual brilliance of Olivier Messiaen, French composers have continuously pushed the boundaries of musical expression and enriched the global classical music canon.

On Bastille Day, as France celebrates its rich cultural heritage and spirit of liberty, it is worth acknowledging the immense contributions of French composers to the classical music world. Their works continue to inspire and captivate audiences, resonating with the timeless values of artistic expression, creativity, and the pursuit of beauty.

Today we observe the birthday of English composer Gerald Finzi (1901-1956).

Besides being a composer who knew Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir Arthur Bliss, Finzi conducted an amateur orchestra where he gave young performers such as tomorrow’s birthday celebrant, Julian Bream, a chance to perform publicly.


Thursday, July 13, 2023

Most of our operating budget comes from listeners like you, from people who love and treasure classical music.  Your financial support delivers Mozart and Brahms, the power of Mahler and Beethoven, and the beauty of Schubert and Haydn 24/7 here on The Classical Station. Whether it’s early music or baroque or twentieth-century masters or all the treasures that lie between, there would be no great classical music without you. Your donation today plays the classical music of tomorrow and days to come on The Classical Station.

Give securely online, on our app, via the mail at The Classical Station, PO Box 828, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27588, or by calling 800-556-5178 anytime. A member of staff is always on duty.

Photo: Blue Diamond, Fair Use

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

When your destination is The Classical Station, you’re on a journey whose goal is to enrich, excite, inspire, and relax. The strings, the keyboards, the brass, the percussion, the voices – classical is music for thinkers, for explorers, and for people who seek a deeper and richer experience in life. But the music doesn’t play for free. It’s funded by the people who listen – by people who want the door to inspiration to always be open. It’s funded by YOU.

Put a down payment on your next journey now with your donation to The Classical Station. Give securely online, on our app,via the mail to The Classical Station, PO Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588, and anytime by calling 800-556-5178.

Johannes Brahms’ Three Intermezzi, Op. 117, are exquisite solo piano pieces that showcase the composer’s mastery of intimate and introspective musical expression. Composed in 1892, these intermezzi form a cohesive set that reflects Brahms’ mature style, characterized by profound emotional depth and refined craftsmanship.

The first Intermezzo in E-flat major immediately captivates with its tender and melancholic melody, delicately accompanied by lush harmonies. Brahms’ sensitive use of dynamics and expressive phrasing allows the music to unfold with an intimate and introspective quality, evoking a sense of longing and introspection.

Photo courtesy of New York Public Library Archives,

The second Intermezzo in B-flat minor presents a contrasting mood, marked by its gentle yet bittersweet character. Here, Brahms explores a range of emotional nuances, seamlessly transitioning between moments of introspection and moments of passionate intensity. The intertwining melodies and rich harmonies create a captivating musical narrative that captures the listener’s imagination.

The third Intermezzo in C-sharp minor is perhaps the most introspective of the set. It unfolds with a hauntingly beautiful melody that is tinged with a sense of sorrow and introspection. Brahms’ careful attention to the smallest details of phrasing and dynamics brings forth the profound depth of emotion embedded within the music, leaving a lasting impression on the listener.

Brahms’ Three Intermezzi, Op. 117, showcase the composer’s ability to distill complex emotions into concise musical statements. With their introspective nature and understated beauty, these pieces invite the listener into a world of profound introspection and emotional resonance.

As the Three Intermezzi unfold, listeners are invited to explore the rich inner world of Brahms’ musical language. The delicate interplay of melodies, the sophisticated harmonic language, and the intricate layering of voices create a sense of depth and complexity that is characteristic of Brahms’ late piano works.

Brahms’ Three Intermezzi, Op. 117, offer a glimpse into the introspective and contemplative side of the composer’s musical personality. With their expressive lyricism, refined textures, and emotional depth, these intermezzi stand as a testament to Brahms’ mastery of capturing the subtleties of the human experience in music.

You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 11 a.m. hour of Classical Cafe.

On July 12 we observe the birthdays of Russian composer Anton Arensky (1861-1906), English composer George Butterworth (1885-1916), Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962), American pianist Van Cliburn (1934-2013), and American clarinetist Richard Stoltzman (1942-).

Anton Stepanovich Arensky studied composition with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The other major influence on the young Russian was Pyotr Tchaikovsky. George Butterworth was killed in World War I during the Battle of the Somme. Ms. Flagstad was a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Die Walkure on February 2, 1935. Louisiana native Van Cliburn stunned the musical world when he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1958. The competition was held every four years in Moscow. You can imagine the sensation an American made winning a Russian competition during the Cold War! Nebraska native Richard Stoltzman is a clarinetist who is acclaimed for his classical music playing. He is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory and Boston University.

Photo: George Butterworth, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Go the last mile with your used vehicle. If your vehicle – automobile, truck, boat, motorcycle, RV, or aircraft – is no longer of use to you, it can still go a long way as a donation in support of the programs you rely on from The Classical Station. Here’s how it works: Center for Car Donations (CFCD), manages the donations on our behalf. Call them toll-free at 1-877-927-3872 for more information and to begin the car donation process. Don’t forget to mention that The Classical Station is the recipient of your donation.

A CFCD representative will schedule a pickup that’s convenient for you, and provide you with confirmation of your donation. We will mail you a confirmation that states how much your vehicle sold for at auction. This amount is what you can claim on your itemized tax return. You also will be entitled to a one-year subscription to our member magazine, Quarter Notes.

Photo: CFCD

Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, stands as a monumental work in the piano concerto repertoire and a testament to the composer’s exceptional gift for lyrical melodies, rich harmonies, and evocative Nordic musical landscapes. Composed in 1868, this concerto exemplifies Grieg’s distinct musical style, deeply rooted in the folk traditions and natural beauty of his native Norway.

The concerto opens with a bold and dramatic flourish from the orchestra, immediately captivating the listener’s attention. The solo piano enters with an impassioned and virtuosic statement of the main theme, which becomes the cornerstone of the entire work. Grieg’s mastery of piano writing is evident throughout, as the soloist navigates through sweeping arpeggios, delicate trills, and cascading runs with both technical brilliance and expressive depth.

In the second movement, Grieg showcases his ability to create tender and introspective moments. The Adagio offers a lyrical and introspective respite, with the piano and orchestra engaging in a heartfelt dialogue. Grieg’s melodies soar with emotional intensity, transporting the listener to a realm of deep introspection and melancholic beauty.

The final movement marked Allegro moderato molto e marcato, bursts forth with a lively and folk-inspired theme. Grieg infuses the music with elements of Norwegian folk dances, showcasing his deep appreciation for his cultural heritage. The virtuosic piano passages intertwine with the vibrant orchestral accompaniment, creating a sense of joyful exuberance and celebration.

Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor captures the essence of Norway’s rugged landscapes, with its soaring melodies, dramatic gestures, and hints of Norwegian folk music. The concerto’s ever-present connection to nature and its evocation of the Norwegian spirit have made it an enduring favorite among audiences worldwide.

As the Piano Concerto in A minor unfolds, listeners are transported on a musical journey through Grieg’s beloved Norway. From the dramatic and heroic opening to the introspective and lyrical middle movement, and the exhilarating folk-infused finale, Grieg’s masterful composition weaves together elements of passion, beauty, and national identity.

Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, continues to captivate audiences with its blend of technical brilliance, heartfelt expression, and a profound sense of national identity. It stands as a testament to Grieg’s status as one of the most important composers of the Romantic era and a cornerstone of the Norwegian musical tradition.

You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 7 p.m. hour of Concert Hall.

Herbert Blomstedt
Foto: Micke Grönberg/Sveriges Radio

On July 11 we observe the birthdays of Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda (1925-2017), and American conductor Herbert Blomstedt (1927-).

Gedda made his debut at the age of 26 singing a role in Adolphe Adam’s opera “Le postillon de Lonjumeau” which has one of the most demanding parts for tenor ever written. Gedda tossed it off with great aplomb. He died earlier this year. The following sentence from Wikipedia illustrates what a remarkable conductor Maestro Blomstedt is. “Blomstedt is currently Conductor Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony and Honorary Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Staatskapelle Dresden.” 

Monday, July 10, 2023

This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Seattle Symphony Orchestra which was founded in 1903. The program includes music by Robert Schumann, George Gershwin, and Richard Strauss conducted by Gerard Schwarz, Ludovic Moriot, and Thomas Dausgaard.

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

The July edition of Renaissance Fare features music from the medieval period, 400 years of musical development that provided the foundation for the Renaissance and beyond. On the program is music of Hildegard of Bingen, Francesco Landini, and other composers from the 11th through the 14th centuries.

Join George Douglas for Renaissance Fare this evening t at 7:00 p.m.

Photo: From a drawing in Cassell’s Library of English Literature, Henry Morley, 1883

Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97, commonly known as the “Rhenish Symphony,” stands as a testament to the composer’s creative genius and his profound connection to the landscapes and cultural heritage of the Rhine River region. Composed in 1850, this symphony captures the spirit and essence of the Rhineland, offering a musical journey through its landscapes, history, and vibrant culture.

The Rhenish Symphony unfolds in five movements, each inspired by a different aspect of the region. The first movement, marked Lebhaft (Lively), introduces the listener to a joyful and exuberant atmosphere, reflecting the lively spirit of the Rhineland. The energetic melodies and buoyant rhythms propel the music forward, evoking a sense of celebration.

In contrast, the second movement, marked Scherzo: Sehr mäßig (Moderately), offers a more introspective and lyrical mood. Here, Schumann captures the serene beauty of the Rhine landscape, with graceful melodies and delicate orchestration that evoke a sense of tranquility and contemplation.

The third movement, marked Nicht schnell (Not fast), takes inspiration from the grandeur and spirituality of Cologne Cathedral. Schumann’s music swells with a majestic and hymn-like character, as if echoing the solemnity and awe-inspiring architecture of the cathedral. The movement features powerful brass fanfares, rich chorale-like passages, and a sense of reverence that transports listeners to a sacred realm.

The fourth movement, marked Feierlich (Solemn), pays tribute to the historic city of Koblenz, where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet. Schumann’s music conveys a sense of history and grandeur, as if portraying the ancient castles and the rich heritage of the region. The movement’s noble themes and majestic orchestration create a sense of awe and admiration.

Finally, the fifth movement, marked Lebhaft (Lively), returns to the joyful and celebratory mood of the opening movement. Schumann captures the lively atmosphere of a festive procession, with lively rhythms, spirited melodies, and a sense of communal celebration that brings the symphony to a rousing conclusion.

The Rhenish Symphony is a remarkable showcase of Schumann’s compositional prowess, with its vibrant orchestration, inventive melodies, and evocative musical imagery. It stands as a testament to the composer’s deep emotional connection to the Rhineland and his ability to translate that connection into a captivating symphonic journey.

As the Rhenish Symphony unfolds, listeners are taken on a musical voyage through the Rhineland, experiencing its landscapes, history, and cultural richness. Schumann’s imaginative and heartfelt music invites us to immerse ourselves in the spirit of the region, celebrating its beauty, heritage, and the indomitable human spirit that resides within its vibrant communities.

You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 8 p.m. hour of Monday Night at the Symphony.

On July 10 we observe the birthdays of Polish violinist-composer Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1890), German composer Carl Orff (1895-1982), and German tenor Jonas Kaufmann (1969-).

Henryk Wieniawski was honored posthumously with two stamps and a coin. The income from “Carmina Burana” which was first performed in 1937 was significant to Orff. Herr Kaufmann is considered one of the great tenors of our time. 

Photo: Jonas Kaufmann by Julian Hargeaves