This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, August 6, 2023

The Tanglewood Chorus and Boston Symphony perform Johannes Brahms’s A German Requiem this evening on Peaceful Reflections. Also on the program is the Missa Sine Nomine by Johannes Ockeghem.

Bring your weekend to a close with a relaxing mix of instrumental and choral music on Peaceful Reflections beginning at 9 p.m.

The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink opens Preview! this evening with a performance of Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98, by Johannes Brahms. Naomi Lambert speaks with pianist Elizabeth Sombart about her new recording of the Mozart Piano Concertos.

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

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Utah State University Chamber Singers, Chanticleer, and Libera. Also on our playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann David Heinichen and Gabriel Faure, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Great Sacred Music begins at 8 a.m. Eastern. Right after Sing for Joy. With host Mick Anderson.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Composed when Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was just 26 years old, his Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major is a testament to the burgeoning talent of this musical giant. The Symphony, which Dvorak wrote in August and September of 1865, presents an early exploration of the composer’s symphonic style and gives us a glimpse into the blossoming of his artistic voice.

Photo of Antonin Dvořák
Unknown author, Public Domain,

Even though Dvořák’s first few symphonies are less known than his later works, they are nonetheless significant for their display of his developing compositional style and his absorption of influences from Germanic symphonic tradition, notably from composers such as Beethoven and Schumann. The Symphony No. 2 is marked by beautiful, long-breathed melodies and a lyrical, Romantic character, traits that would become a cornerstone in Dvorak’s later and more mature works.

The Symphony No. 2 is cast in the conventional four-movement form:

Allegro con moto – The first movement presents two contrasting themes in the classic sonata form. It starts with a vigorous and rhythmically energetic theme, which is balanced by a second, more melodious theme.

Poco adagio – This slow movement provides a deeply lyrical contrast to the vitality of the first movement. It unfolds as a beautiful song, full of expressive moments and rich, colorful orchestrations.

Scherzo. Allegro con brio – The third movement is a lively and spirited scherzo, which features buoyant rhythms and a playful character, reminiscent of the Slavonic dances that Dvorak would later compose.

Finale. Allegro con fuoco – The final movement returns to the energetic character of the first movement. The main theme, introduced by the horns, is a grand, expansive melody which provides an exhilarating conclusion to the Symphony.

Despite its early opus number and relative obscurity, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 2 should not be overlooked. It is a work full of youthful energy, rich lyricism, and an early hint at the nationalistic flair that would come to define Dvorak’s later compositions. It is a significant stepping stone on the path to the mature style that has made Dvořák one of the most beloved composers in the symphonic repertoire.

You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 8 p.m. hour of the Saturday Evening Request Program.

On August 5 we observe the birthdays of Franco-Flemish composer Guillaume Du Fay (1397-1494), French composer Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896), Russian conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev (1932-), and American violinist Mark O’Connor (1961-). Du Fay was a leading composer of the 15th century. Monsieur Thomas wrote over twenty operas. Vladimir Ivanovich Fedoseyev has asteroid 7741 Fedoseev named in his honor.  Happy 90th birthday, Maestro! Mark O’Connor enjoys great popularity both as a violinist and a composer.

Photo: Mark O’Connor by Deanna Rose

Friday, August 4, 2023

If you work for (or retired from) a company with a matching gift program, your contribution to The Classical Station can make twice the impact on the Great Classical Music you rely on and the programs you love. Your employer will match your gift dollar for dollar — some companies even double or triple the amount of your gift — at no cost to you. Both Sustaining and single contributions can be matched.

Enter your employer’s name in the form on our Matching Gift page to see if they match gifts to WCPE FM (an “arts and cultural” organization). Thank you for your support.

Photo: Blue Diamond, Fair use

On August 4 we observe the birthdays of German conductor Kurt Eichhorn (1908-1994), American composer William Schuman (1910-1992), English organist Simon Preston (1938-2022), and American soprano Deborah Voigt (1960-).

Herr Eichhorn was chief conductor of the Munich Radio Orchestra from 1967 to 1975. Mr. Schuman was president of the Juilliard School from 1945-1961. Simon Preston began his musical career as a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge. He died on May 13, 2022.  Ms. Voigt has sung in most of the world’s great opera houses and has dozens of recordings to her credit.

Photo: Deborah Voigt by Luke Ratray

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Don Giovanni, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s darkly comic opera, portrays the exploits and eventual downfall of the audacious womanizer, Don Giovanni. With a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, it remains a timeless masterpiece that masterfully blends comedy, tragedy, and the supernatural.

Gerald Finley as the title character and Bryn Terfel as Leporello in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
Taken on March 7, 2012 during the rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera in New York

The opera opens with Don Giovanni, a young, reckless nobleman, attempting to seduce Donna Anna. He’s discovered and kills her father, the Commendatore, in a duel. Shaken, Donna Anna and her fiancé Don Ottavio swear vengeance on her father’s unidentified murderer.

In Act II, Giovanni continues his unrepentant pursuit of women, attempting to seduce Zerlina, a peasant girl on her wedding day, and Donna Elvira, a woman he had previously seduced and abandoned. His cunning servant, Leporello, aids his schemes while also expressing his own discomfort and moral qualms.

The opera darkens as the statue of the slain Commendatore accepts an insincere dinner invitation from Don Giovanni. That evening, the statue appears, offering Giovanni a chance to repent. When Giovanni stubbornly refuses, he’s consumed by supernatural flames and dragged to Hell.

Don Giovanni’s numerous encounters and schemes intersect in a complicated weave of love, deceit, and vengeance. Yet amidst its unsettling themes, the opera is graced with some of Mozart’s most exquisite music, effortlessly moving between uproarious comedy and profound tragedy. Don Giovanni remains a masterwork of human drama, exploring the dire consequences of unbridled lust and arrogance, underscored by the inescapable hand of divine justice.

You can hear this operatic masterpiece on the Thursday Night Opera House beginning at 7 p.m.

On August 3 we observe the birthday of English-born American organist and composer Dr. Alec Wyton (1921-2007). Alec was the Organist and Master of the Choir at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine from 1954-1974. He was also the Coordinator of the Standing Commission on Church Music which produced The Hymnal 1982 for the Episcopal Church.

Photo: The Wyton Archive

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ Violin Concerto In A, Op. 5 No. 2, is a luminous testament to the composer’s mastery of musical expression and his remarkable life journey. This work showcases his exceptional command over the violin, hinting at his own virtuosity as a renowned violinist of his time.

The concerto opens with a vibrant Allegro movement, characterized by dynamic contrasts and intricate, captivating solos, displaying a grand conversation between the soloist and the orchestra. The intricate phrasing and melodic development transport listeners to an era of poised elegance and high society.

Portrait of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges By Mather Brown, William Ward in the National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain

Following, the poignant Largo movement gives space for emotional reflection, the violin’s melancholic song soaring above the orchestra’s gentle responses. This movement unfolds as an intimate and stirring dialogue between the soloist and the listener, a musical soliloquy that probes the depths of human emotions.

The concerto concludes with a lively and rhythmic Rondeau. Here, the piece’s virtuosity truly shines as the orchestra and soloist engage in a thrilling dance, a showcase of Saint-Georges’ skillful orchestration and his talent for creating vivacious, memorable themes.

Throughout the concerto, Saint-Georges masterfully blends elements of the classical style with the burgeoning Romantic tendencies, creating a musical experience that’s both nostalgically elegant and passionately forward-looking. The Violin Concerto in A, Op. 5 No. 2 stands as a symbol of Saint-Georges’ significant contribution to classical music, a remarkable achievement for the man who broke numerous social and racial barriers in 18th-century Europe.

You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 2 p.m. hour of As You Like It.

Did you know that we have an instrument donation program? Through this program, we make donated instruments available to students in music education programs and non-profit organizations in North Carolina.

Photo: NCCMI

Over the last ten years, the Education Fund has awarded more than $80,000 in grants to numerous music education non-profits in North Carolina. In addition to grants that support music lessons, concerts, and scholarships, we hope that the instrument donation program will help even more students to realize their dreams of studying music. You can help to make their dreams come true and receive a tax receipt for your donation of an instrument.

Gently used instruments in working condition, or with minor repairs needed, are being accepted. We are especially interested in trumpets, flutes, clarinets, French horns, trombones, violins, violas, cellos, and saxophones and accept other classical instruments for band or orchestra.

For more information about the Education Fund, or to inquire about donating your instrument, please contact Tanja Greaves at 919-556-5178. We’ll arrange for pickup will be made on a case-by-case basis.

On August 2 we observe the birthday of English composer Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975). Sir Arthur wrote music in a variety of forms including ballet and film. The Arthur Bliss Society has more information about him.

Photo: Herbert Lambert

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Keeping classical music alive here on The Classical Station is something that’s very much needed in our community, indeed, in our country. That’s because this is music that 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. You make this possible. Your donation makes that happen. Bring more music to your ears today and keep this wonderful music alive right now with a heartfelt contribution. Give securely here on this website or call 800-556-5178 anytime to make your donation. 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!

On August 1 we observe the birthdays of German-American conductor William Steinberg (1899-1978), German horn player Hermann Baumann (1934-), and Catalan early music specialist and conductor Jordi Savall (1941-).

One of the great 20th century conductors, Maestro Steinberg was music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (1945-1952), the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1952-1976), and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1969-1972). Steinberg had a great sense of humor and loved to poke fun at himself. He claimed to be multi-lingual, speaking “four and a half languages – the half being English.” Herr Baumann has been one of the leading French horn players since 1964 when he won first prize at an international music festival. Jordi Savall i Bernadet has over 100 recordings to his credit. He is also a composer who has written a half-dozen or so film scores.

Photo: William Steinberg, Unknown Author, Fair Use, Wikimedia Commons

Monday, July 31, 2023

This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Mahler Chamber Orchestra which was founded in 1997. The program includes music by Robert Schumann, Antonin Dvorak, and Ludwig van Beethoven conducted by Daniel Harding, Claudio Abbado, and Leif Ove Andsnes.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Gustav Holst
Photo by Herbert Lambert, Public Domain,

Within Gustav Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite, Op. 29, listeners embark on a vivid sonic journey through English musical heritage. From the opening Jig’s lively frolic, to the solemn mystery of the Ostinato, and the melodious, soulful Intermezzo, the suite concludes with a vibrant Finale—the famous Greensleeves melody reimagined, intertwining passion and folk simplicity. Holst weaves each movement into a seamless tapestry of musical innovation, pulling from the familiar to create a masterpiece both original and warmly nostalgic. St. Paul’s Suite is a profound testament to the vibrancy and depth of England’s musical landscape—a precious gem of the classical repertoire, illustrating the power of music to encapsulate the essence of a culture, and move us across time and space.

You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 6 p.m. hour of Allegro with Dick Storck.

Today we observe the birthday of French composer Amélie-Julie Candeille (1767-1834).  Mlle. Candeille flourished in Paris as a composer, singer, playwright, and performer. Sadly, only a few of her instrumental compositions have survived. None have been recorded in recent times.

Photo: Author Uncertain, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons