This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Ian B. Kennedy, Venice, Florida

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, September 20, 2020

This evening on Preview! we’ll hear violinist Midori with her contribution to this year’s 250th-anniversary celebration of Beethoven’s music. Rob Kennedy speaks with members of Gloriae Dei Cantores about the choir’s recording of the choral music of Samuel Adler. And Britain’s Black Dyke Band plays works by John Rutter.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Midori Goto/Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

This evening Wavelengths features music for flute and piano by American composer Carl Vollrath, born in New York City in 1931. In his long career, he has produced six wind symphonies, an opera, and a wealth of chamber music. We’ll also hear works by Missy Mazzoli, Steve Reich, and Einojuhani Rautavaara.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Carl Vollrath/Navona Records

The September edition of Renaissance Fare features madrigal music from the 16th-century. Madrigals originated in Italy in the 1520s and quickly expanded to France, England, and Germany by the end of the century. The madrigal is secular, vocal music usually featuring two to six voices and unique harmonies.

Join George Douglas for Renaissance Fare this afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.


This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Cambridge Singers, the Monks of Saint-Benoit Abbey, and the Berlin Radio Choir. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Henry Purcell, and John Rutter. At 9 a.m. we shall air Antonio Vivaldi’s only surviving oratorio Juditha Triumphans.

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

Photos: Portrait of Judith by August Riedel (1840/

On September 20 we observe the birthday of Italian composer and teacher Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968). While Signor Pizzetti is primarily known to modern audiences for his theatre music, he was also highly regarded as a teacher and writer.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Have you submitted your entry for our Virtual Art Exhibit? You may be familiar with Pictures at an Exhibition, the orchestral suite by Modest Mussorgsky composed with inspiration by paintings of Viktor Hartmann. We are doing the reverse! Submissions might include a drawing of oranges inspired by Frederick Delius’s Florida Suite or a swan painted while listening to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns. These are just a few examples.  Choose whatever works inspire you.

On September 19 we observe the birthday of German conductor Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011). Maestro Sanderling had a long and distinguished career during which he held positions with the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Madrid Symphony Orchestra, the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, to name just a few. He was a friend of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Join us this evening at 6 p.m. Eastern as we mark the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays with a special program of music for Rosh Hashanah. The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble performs and Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh, North Carolina, will offer an introduction and blessing.

Listen to Rabbi Solomon speaking with Rob Kennedy about  the High Holidays. Shanah Tovah Umetukah!  שנה טובה ומתוקה‎


From her website: “Jennifer Higdon is one of America’s most acclaimed and most frequently performed living composers. She is a major figure in contemporary Classical music, receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto and a 2018 Grammy for her Viola Concerto. Earlier this year, Rob Kennedy and Jennifer chatted about her Harp Concerto, her opera, Cold Mountain, and much more.

You can find this conversation and much more on our Conversations page. Please share it with your friends and family.

Photo: J. Henry Fair

On September 18 we observe the birthday of Russian soprano Anna Netrebko (1971-). Conductor Valery Gergiev gave Ms. Netrebko her start and mentored her early on in her career. She has since gone on to sing in major opera houses worldwide. We wish her well as it was announced yesterday that Ms. Netrebko has been hospitalized for COVID-19.

Photo: Romy 2013

Thursday, September 17, 2020

This evening on the Thursday Night Opera House: the leader of the Genoese city-state discovers that his mortal enemy has raised his long-lost daughter. This encore broadcast of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra hosted by the late Al Ruocchio begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Scene from the Metropolitan Opera’s 2018 production of Simon Boccanegra/Ken Howard

On September 17 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Saverio Mercadante (1795-1870), American composer Charles Griffes (1884-1920), and Dutch composer Hendrik Andriessen (1892-1981). Giuseppe Saverio Raffaele Mercadante was a composer of operas who never enjoyed the fame of his younger colleagues Donizetti and Bellini. He wrote over 50 operas, only a handful of which are performed or recorded these days. Elmira, New York native Charles Griffes studied in Berlin. His music was written in what might best be described as an American impressionistic style. Professor Andriessen composed over 60 works and was instrumental in revitalizing Roman Catholic church music in The Netherlands.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Our mission since 1978 has been to share our love of classical music with our listeners everywhere. That’s why you’ll hear our announcers mention something about the music you are about to hear. Those little 20 or 30 second factoids are perfect for our listening experience because we want less talk and more music. On the other hand, hearing what performers think about the music they play or who they studied with is fascinating. Above all, it’s downright inspiring.

Our Conversations pages offer you dozens of interviews with conductors, singers, and instrumentalists. Download them or listen to them on our recently updated app.

On September 16 we observe the birthday of Hildegard von Bingen, OSB. This 12th-century genius was a Benedictine abbess. She was also a prolific writer and composer whose music we play from time to time on Great Sacred Music and Peaceful Reflections. Dr. von Bingen was a polymath or someone who is well-versed in a variety of subjects, a renaissance woman if you will.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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To Become a Sustaining Member, visit our Donation Page. Or call 800-556-5178 anytime. A member of staff will be happy to take down your information and instructions, as well as answer any questions you may have. Don’t forget to take a Thank You Gift or designate 10% of your Sustaining Membership to the Education Fund if you prefer. Thank you for being a Sustaining Member!

On September 15 we observe the birthdays of American composer Horatio Parker (1863-1919), German conductor Bruno Walter (1876-1962), Spanish conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (1933-2014), and American soprano Jessye Norman (1945-2019). Dr. Parker established the music curriculum at Harvard University and was a director of the New England Conservatory of Music. Herr Walter was one of the great conductors of the 20th century. He lived in the United States from 1939 until his death. Señor Frühbeck de Burgos was the music director of several orchestras including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony. Grammy-award winning soprano Jessye Norman appeared in most of the world’s great opera houses in the course of her career.

Photos: Ms. Norman/Carole Friedman;

Monday, September 14, 2020

Today we have programmed a Brothers and Sisters Day. Michael Haydn, brother of Franz Josef Haydn, was an accomplished composer of symphonic and sacred music. Every year, his birthday inspires us to feature other famous sibling composers and performers in the classical music world, including Fanny Mendelssohn, the Strauss family, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Gil and Orli Shaham, and many more. See the Daily Playlist for details.

Photo: Katia and Marielle Labèque/Brigette Lacombe

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. On the program is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonín Dvořák and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in performances led by Daniel Lozakovich, Lorin Maazel, and the orchestra’s most recent music director, the late Mariss Jansons.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: BRSO

The September edition of Renaissance Fare features madrigal music from the 16th-century. Madrigals originated in Italy in the 1520s and quickly expanded to France, England, and Germany by the end of the century. The madrigal is secular, vocal music usually featuring two to six voices and unique harmonies.

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


On September 14 we observe the birthdays of Austrian composer Michael Haydn (1737-1806), and Italian composer Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842). As his older brother Josef had done, Michael Haydn got his musical start as a boy chorister at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. Haydn composed over 360 works in a variety of forms. His sacred choral works were highly-regarded. Monsieur Cherubini was born in Italy but spent most of his life in France. With over 35 operas to his credit, he was also an able administrator, having been appointed the director of the Conservatoire in 1822.