This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: “Lake Superior Shore” by Dalle-E

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, September 3, 2023

This morning Great Sacred Music includes performances by The Monteverdi Choir and The English Baroque Soloists; The Holland Boys Choir; and The Prague Chamber Choir. You’ll hear works by Franz Joseph Haydn, Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonín Dvořák, and many more.

Great Sacred Music. 8 a.m. Right after Sing for Joy. With Mick Anderson.

On September 3 we observe the birthday of Italian composer Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764).

Signor Locatelli apparently was quite the Renaissance man. He was a virtuoso violinist with a penchant for Liberace-style garb, according to the accounts which I read. Plus ca change! Locatelli was born in Italy, but he lived in Amsterdam from 1729 until his death. Amsterdam was the epicenter of the publishing world at the time, and Locatelli made the most of that opportunity.

Photo: Pietro Locatelli, Cornelis Troost, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Summer 2023 has brought many of us a renewed appreciation for family, friends, and the importance of being together. At The Classical Station, we feel privileged to share these times with you, providing beautiful music to keep all our spirits high. Celebrate the unofficial close of summer with us as we bring you a weekend chock-full of listener favorites, culminating on Labor Day, September 4.

Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

Photo: WCPE Photo Services

On September 2 we observe the birthdays of German composer Georg Böhm, and Dutch composer Alphons Diepenbrock .

Herr Böhm is remembered as a church musician who developed the chorale partita format. Johann Sebastian Bach knew Böhm personally. Alphons Diepenbrock was a prolific composer in the early 1900s, although nowadays he is probably best known for his work Die Nacht.

Photo: Alphons Diepenbrock, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Friday, September 1, 2023

The Fall 2023 edition of our member magazine Quarter Notes is out. Quarter Notes is our gift to members every quarter. An informative guide to the upcoming quarter’s music programming, each new issue contains music listings and columns on your favorite WCPE programs, as well as:

  • Quarterly programming highlights
  • Announcer profiles
  • Articles about composers and performers
  • Book and CD reviews

Our goal is to enhance appreciation and understanding of classical music while encouraging you to continue being a member of our 100% listener-supported station. Click on the cover image on the left to download a PDF of the current issue. To enjoy a subscription to Quarter Notes, make a donation and become a member of WCPE, The Classical Station.

Would you like to request a complimentary copy of the current issue of Quarter Notes? Send an e-mail to the Membership department.

On September 1 we observe the birthdays of German composers Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) and Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921), Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa (1935-), and American conductor Leonard Slatkin (1944-).

Herr Pachelbel wrote approximately 530 works for organ and choir as well as some chamber works. The much-loved Canon in D is undoubtedly his most popular work. Humperdinck is perhaps best known for his opera Hansel and Gretel. Maestro Ozawa has conducted most of the world’s great orchestras. He got his start under the watchful eyes of Charles Munch, Pierre Monteux, and Herbert von Karajan. Maestro Slatkin is currently the music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He is widely considered one of the finest conductors working today. He has more than 100 recordings and 7 Grammy Awards to his credit.

Photo: Engelbert Humperdinck, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, August 31, 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 at auction for. This amount is what you can claim on your itemized tax return. You also will receive a one-year subscription to our member magazine, Quarter Notes.

Photo: CFCD

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro,” with a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, is a comic opera in four acts that premiered in Vienna in 1786. Based on a play by Beaumarchais, the opera is a sequel to “The Barber of Seville” and delves into themes of love, betrayal, and the quest for social equality.

Act I
The opera opens in the chambers of Figaro and Susanna, servants to Count and Countess Almaviva. They are preparing for their wedding, but soon realize that the Count has lustful intentions towards Susanna. Figaro decides he must outwit the Count to protect his bride-to-be.

Act II
In the Countess’s chambers, she laments her husband’s infidelity. Susanna and Figaro hatch a plan: they will send Cherubino, a young page who is also infatuated with the Countess, to meet the Count in disguise, thus catching him in his philandering ways. However, the Count almost discovers Cherubino, forcing the young page to leap from a window to escape.

Preparations for the wedding are underway. The Count is still suspicious and tries to delay the marriage by questioning the legitimacy of Figaro’s parentage. Meanwhile, Susanna leads the Count on with false promises of a rendezvous. The act concludes with the double wedding of Figaro and Susanna, and another servant couple, Marcellina and Bartolo.

Act IV
The finale takes place in a moonlit garden where all the planned and unplanned rendezvous converge. Through a series of comedic misunderstandings and mistaken identities, Figaro learns of Susanna’s pretended disloyalty and is almost driven to despair. However, the couples finally unmask, leading to the Count’s apology to his wife. The opera ends with celebrations and the promise of a better future.

In Summary:

Le Nozze di Figaro is a masterful blend of comedy and social commentary. Through its memorable characters and intricate plot twists, Mozart explores the complexities of love and the human desire for dignity and respect. Its sparkling arias and ensemble pieces make it one of the most cherished works in the operatic repertoire.

On August 31 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-1886), Armenian-American violist Kim Kashkashian (1952-), and Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman (1945-).

Signor Ponchielli wrote eleven operas, the best known of which is La Gioconda. Ms. Kashkashian is a Grammy Award-winning performer who is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory. Besides being a brilliant solo performer, Itzhak Perlman teaches in the pre-college division at The Juilliard School and has held several posts as conductor and music advisor.

Photo: Amilcare Ponchielli, Calzolari e Spada, Milano, Archivio Storico Ricordi, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Program Note: Music for the Royal Fireworks by George Frideric Handel

Commissioned to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks” is an epitome of grandeur and regality. First performed outdoors in London’s Green Park, this work was not merely background music; it was an essential part of a larger-than-life event complete with firework displays and elaborate decorations.

Portrait of G.F. Handel by Balthasar Denner,, Public Domain

Handel originally scored the music for a large wind band, including 24 oboes, 12 bassoons, 9 trumpets, and 9 horns, among others. However, it is often performed in a more manageable orchestration today. The piece is structured in five movements:

Ouverture: A stately French overture setting the majestic tone.
Bourrée: A lively dance with a rhythmic drive.
La Paix (The Peace): A more subdued, reflective movement, indicative of the newfound peace.
La Réjouissance (The Rejoicing): A jubilant, celebratory piece marked by grandiose trumpets and timpani.
Minuets I & II: A pair of elegant dances to close the work.

Historical Context
Handel, a composer often associated with the English court, was the natural choice for this royal commission. The work was met with immense public enthusiasm, drawing a crowd of around 12,000 people at its premiere, causing considerable traffic jams on London Bridge.

Where You Might Have Heard It
While originally performed as a public spectacle accompanying fireworks, this piece has found its way into modern concert halls and is frequently performed on special occasions and celebratory events.

In Summary:

Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks” embodies the spirit of celebration, blending regal splendor with musical sophistication. Though composed for a specific historical event, its timeless appeal ensures its place as one of the most beloved pieces in the classical canon. You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 1 p.m. hour of As You Like It.

What do Ilan Eshkeri, Richard Danielpour, Jennifer Higdon, and John Rutter all have in common? First of all, they are all amazing composers. Secondly, they spoke with us about their early years and the influences that shaped their careers.  You can hear these Conversations on our website under the Listen tab.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

It’s a simple fact that the great majority of our operating budget comes from our listeners, from people like you who love and treasure classical music. Listener support delivers Mozart and Brahms, the power of Mahler and Beethoven, and the beauty of Schubert and Haydn. 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 or call us anytime at 800-556-5178 to have a member of staff receive your gift. Don’t forget to take a Thank You Gift.

Photo: Blue Diamond Gallery, Fair Use

Rossini’s “Overture to William Tell” is a masterful blend of musical drama, vivid storytelling, and atmospheric depiction. It stands as the gateway to his final opera, “William Tell,” first performed in 1829 in Paris. The work not only encapsulates the Swiss tale of heroism and liberty but also showcases Rossini’s incomparable gift for melodic and orchestral brilliance.

The Overture is divided into four connected sections:

Photo: Giachino Rossini,, Public Domain

Dawn: A serene and languid cello ensemble evokes the quiet morning light over the Swiss Alps.
Storm: A sudden outburst from the full orchestra depicts an intense storm, complete with lightning and thunder.
Ranz des Vaches: The calm after the storm is painted through a pastoral melody played by the cor anglais, flutes, and clarinets, representing the Swiss cowherds’ calls.
Finale (March of the Swiss Soldiers): The most recognized part, this vigorous section is marked by galloping rhythms and a rousing, triumphant tune.
Rossini’s overture goes beyond mere prelude; it’s a miniature tone poem that captures the essence of the Swiss struggle for freedom, encapsulated in the legend of William Tell. Its legacy goes beyond the opera house, often being performed as a standalone concert piece.

Where You Might Have Heard It
The final segment of the Overture, the “March of the Swiss Soldiers,” is instantly recognizable and has permeated popular culture. It’s the famous “Lone Ranger Theme” many have heard in television shows, commercials, and even as ringtones.

In Summary:

A marvel of orchestral color and dramatic pacing, Rossini’s “Overture to William Tell” is more than an opening act—it’s a compelling narrative in its own right and an integral part of the Western classical repertoire. You can hear this beautiful piece of classical music during the 11 a.m. hour on Classical Cafe.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Monday Night at the symphony (with 'Monday Night' in flowing script)This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Boston Symphony Orchestra which was founded in 1881. The program includes music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonin Dvorak, and Johannes Brahms conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Seiji Ozawa, and current Music Director Andris Nelsons.

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

On August 28 we observe the birthdays of two conductors who were active in the latter part of the 20th century: Austrian Karl Böhm (1894-1981) and Hungarian István Kertész (1929-1973).

Maestro Böhm conducted some 262 performances at the Metropolitan Opera over the course of his twenty-year tenure during the Bing era. By all accounts, Maestro Kertész was on track to be one of the great conductors of his generation. Unfortunately, his life was snuffed out when he was only 43 years old.

Photo: István Kertész, Roberto Mastrosimone, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons