This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Preview! is your chance to catch engaging conversations with some of the most brilliant musicians in the world. This evening, Katie Battle, Program Director of Musical Empowerment, talks about her organization’s work supporting music education on several college campuses. Musical Empowerment is one of the recipients of The Classical Station’s Education Fund.

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

This morning Great Sacred Music features performances by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, the Utah State University Chamber Singers, and Philip Brunelle. You’ll hear works by Bob Chilcott, William Grant Still, J.S. Bach, and many more. Our featured work is Alessandro Scarlatti’s Cecilian Vespers.

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

On January 21 we observe the birthdays of English composer Thomas Attwood Walmisley (1814-1856) and Italian violinist and conductor Uto Ughi (1944-).

Mr. Walmisley was Organist of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was also a professor of music. Signor Ughi is considered one of Italy’s greatest violinists. He was also Music Director of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia between 1987-1992.

Photo: Thomas Attwood Walmisley, National Portrait Gallery; Uto Ughi, Author Unknown onAlchetron. 


Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 season of Saturday matinee broadcasts continues with the powerful drama that opened the Met season last fall: Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin led this acclaimed American opera in its first Met performances. The cast starred mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Sister Helen Prejean, fighting for the soul of a condemned man. Bass-baritone Ryan McKinny was Joseph De Rocher, a convict awaiting execution for a horrifying crime. They were joined by Susan Graham and Latonia Moore in a gripping new production by Ivo van Hove.

The curtain goes up at 1 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

On January 20 we observe the birthdays of French composer Ernest Chausson (1855-1899), French conductor Antonio de Almeida (1928-1997), and American composer Walter Piston (1894-1976).

Amédée-Ernest Chausson studied with Jules Massenet and César Franck at the Paris Conservatoire. Antonio de Almeida initially set out to study nuclear chemistry at M.I.T. but his godfather Artur Rubenstein persuaded him to take up music. A student of Nadia Boulanger and Paul Dukas, Walter Piston taught at Harvard University from 1944-1960. He in turn taught Leonard Bernstein, Leroy Anderson, Samuel Adler, and Daniel Pinkham, to name a few of his students.

Photos: Ernest Chausson/P. Frois, Public Domain, Wikipedia.org; Antonio de Almeida, Author unknown; Walter Piston (1963), Author unknown


Friday, January 19, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking
Saturday, January 20 at 1 p.m. Eastern

On January 19 we observe the birthday of Sir Simon Rattle. He was born on this day in 1955.

Sir Simon rose to prominence as Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Since 2002 he has been Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. In September 2017 he became Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2023 Sir Simon became the Principal Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Photo: Monika Rittershaus


Thursday, January 18, 2024

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Giuseppe Verdi’s  “La Forza del Destino” (The Force of Destiny). This opera is a dramatic and powerful work that explores themes of fate, vengeance, and the inexorable force that drives human lives. Premiered in 1862, the opera is set in Spain and Italy during the 18th century.

The story revolves around the ill-fated love between Leonora, a noblewoman, and Don Alvaro, a Spanish officer. Their love faces numerous obstacles, including Leonora’s overprotective family, particularly her brother Don Carlo, who vehemently opposes their relationship. An accidental gunshot during a tense confrontation sets off a chain of tragic events, leading to Don Alvaro fleeing and Leonora entering a convent.

The opera’s title, “La Forza del Destino,” reflects the idea that destiny, often cruel and inescapable, plays a pivotal role in the characters’ lives. The story takes the characters on a relentless journey of suffering and redemption, with themes of revenge and the consequences of one’s actions at its core.

Throughout the opera, Verdi’s music is emotionally charged, with powerful arias and intense ensemble scenes. The characters’ struggles and inner conflicts are vividly portrayed through the music, creating a gripping and emotionally resonant experience for the audience.

“La Forza del Destino” is a grand and tragic opera that delves into the human psyche, exploring how choices and circumstances can shape the course of one’s life and ultimately lead to tragic outcomes.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart device to “Play The Classical Station.”

On January 18 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder (1543-1588), Russian composer César Cui (1835-1918), French composer Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894), and English composer William Henry Havergal (1793-1870).

A composer of madrigals, Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder spent much of his career in the employ of Elizabeth I of England. César Cui was a member of the Five, Mily Balakirev, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Alexander Borodin were the other four. He was also a general in the Russian Army where he taught several notables including Tsar Nicolas II. Monsieur Chabrier wrote operas, orchestral, and chamber music, but is best known for his orchestral work entitled España. William Henry Havergal was an Anglican priest who wrote music for the church including some rather fine Anglican chants.

Photos: Alfonso Ferrabosco, Unknown author; César Cui, Unknown author, on Wikizinanie.ru; Emmanuel Chabrier, Public Domain, Wikipedia.org; William Henry Havergal on Hymnary.org, Unknown author.


Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Wonder what we’re going to be playing tomorrow? You can find out in two ways. First, review the program listings in your copy of Quarter Notes, our member magazine. We mail Quarter Notes to our members every quarter, i.e., at the end of February, May, August, and November. You can also read Quarter Notes online.

The second way of seeing what’s playing tomorrow or the next day is to look at our Playlists. We offer those in two versions: Compact Playlists and the more detailed Daily Playlists. Did you know that we are one of only two radio stations in the United States that can publish their playlists in advance? That’s because our General Manager, Deborah Proctor, convinced lawmakers to grandfather in WCPE when the DMCA was passed back in 1998. So, next time you want to know what Katherine Hill will be playing on As You Like It in the 2 p.m. hour tomorrow, simply click on one of those Playlist links to find out.

Your support of The Classical Station makes all of this possible. We could not do this without you. Thank you from all of us here at The Classical Station.

Oh, and, in case you are wondering why the keyboard on the right has a red rose on it, that’s to remind you to submit your request for that special person in your life on Valentine’s Day.  We’ll be playing your requests on February 14 from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Eastern. The deadline to submit requests is February 10.

On January 17 we observe the birthdays of French composer François-Joseph Gossec (1734-1829), Russian composer Alexander Taneyev (1850-1918), and New Zealand-born British organist Dame Gillian Weir (1941-).

Famous in his day as a composer of operas and chamber music, Monsieur Gossec’s music sadly is not much heard in modern times. Alexander Taneyev, not to be confused with his cousin Sergei Taneyev, was a student of Rimsky-Korsakov. Dame Gillian Weir was a student of Ralph Downes at the Royal College of Music. She is highly regarded for her teaching and her concertizing.

Photos: Alexander Taneyev, Wikipedia.org, Public Domain; François-Joseph Gossec, by Antoine Vestier, Wikipedia.org, Public Domain; Gillian Weir, Unknown Author on GillianWeir.com, Fair use


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

On January 16 we observe the 90th birthday of American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne (1934-).

Ms. Horne has enjoyed a brilliant singing career spanning over four decades. Now she imparts her experience and knowledge to younger artists as a kind teacher and mentor. “To be a great singer of classical music is the hardest thing in the world,” she says. “After all this time, I still go for a great voice, my dear, for anyone who can really sing. The details you have to be on top of are just endless. But first of all, you have to be born with a great voice. You can’t go out and buy it. You can’t manufacture it. You have to have that seed. And then you build on that.”

Photo: IMDB, Unknown Author, Fair Use


Monday, January 15, 2024
Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This evening Monday Night at The Symphony features the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta will conduct performances of music by Aram Khachaturian, Peter Tchaikovsky, Johannes Brahms, and more.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

On January 15 we observe the birthdays of American pianists Ruth Slenczynska (1925-) and Malcolm Frager (1935-1991) and Israeli-born American pianist Joseph Kalichstein (1946-2022). A musician who was interested in finding manuscripts by older composers as well as performing, Malcolm Frager maintained a very full concert schedule until his untimely death at the age of 56. Ms. Slenczynska studied with legendary pianists Alfred Cortot and Arthur Schnabel, among others. Happy 99th birthday! Joseph Kalichstein was a member of the faculty of The Julliard School.

Photos: Malcolm Frager, Author Unknown; Joseph Kalichstein by Fred Collins