This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: Ian B. Kennedy, Venice, Florida

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, March 3, 2024

You can hear Antonio Vivaldi’s setting of the Magnificat on Peaceful Reflections beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern. Peaceful Reflections offers a mix of choral, organ, and instrumental music to bring your weekend to a peaceful close.

Pianist Michael Clark opens Preview! this evening with a performance of Clouds by Florence Price. Pianist Aleck Karis talks about his recording of the music of Chopin.

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

This week’s Great Sacred Music includes performances by the Cambridge Singers, Trio Mediaeval, and Carol Williams. You’ll hear works by Herbert Howells, Johann Frederic Fasch, and many more.

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

On March 3, we observe the birthday of American composer Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-1972). An arranger of African-American spirituals, she is best remembered for her arrangement of “He’s Got The Whole World In His hands.”

Photo by Carl Van Vechten


Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 season of Saturday matinée broadcasts continues with this year’s Listeners’ Choice, a historic broadcast chosen by the Met’s international radio audience: Giuseppe Verdi’s Ernani. This performance from 1962 features a breathtaking lineup of legendary stars. Carlo Bergonzi sings the title role of the mysterious outlaw; Leontyne Price is his beloved, the fiery noblewoman Elvira; Cornell MacNeil is Carlo, king of Spain; and Giorgio Tozzi is the vengeful Silva. Maestro Thomas Schippers conducted the Met Orchestra and Chorus in this thrilling score by a young Verdi.

The curtain goes up at 1 p.m. Eastern.

On March 2 we observe the birthdays of Czech composer Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884), German-born American composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950), and Spanish guitarist Celedonio Romero (1913-1996).

Bedřich Smetana is widely considered to be the father of Czech music. A prolific composer, Smetana wrote operas, some chamber music, and works for piano and orchestra. Herr Weill is best known for his ballad Mack the Knife from his The Three Penny Opera. Señor Romero was part of the famous guitar quartet The Romeros. He taught guitarist Christopher Parkening.

Photos: Photo of a portrait of Bedřich Smetana, Unknown Author, Public Domain on Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Kurt Weill, Unknown Author, Kurt Weill Foundation, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law; Photo of Celedonio Romera, Unknown Author, Musicalics, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law

Friday, March 1, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Giuseppe Verdi’s Ernani
Saturday, March 2, 1 p.m. Eastern

On March 1 we observe the birthdays of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), Greek conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos (1896-1960), and American mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (1954-2006).

A child prodigy, Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin composed over 200 works, mainly for the piano. Maestro Mitropoulos was the principal conductor of several American orchestras including the Boston Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Minneapolis Symphony (forerunner of the Minnesota Orchestra.) In addition, he was the principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera from 1954-1960. Ms. Lieberson began her musical career as a violist before becoming a singer in her thirties.

Photos: Watercolor portrait of Polish composer Frederic Chopin by Maria Wodzinska (1819-96), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Dmitri Mitropoulos, Unknown Author, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law; Photo of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Unknown Author, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law

Thursday, February 29, 2024

This evening the Thursday Evening Opera House presents George Frederic Handel’s opera Ariodante. Premiered at Covent Garden in 1755, Handel’s Ariodante is still popular in today’s operatic repertoire; it is considered one of his finest operas.

Set in Scotland, the story revolves around the titular character, Ariodante, who is engaged to the princess Ginevra. However, their happiness is threatened by the villainous Polinesso, who schemes to ruin their love and reputation. Through a series of misunderstandings and deceptions, Ariodante’s trust in Ginevra is shattered, leading to dramatic twists and turns. Ultimately, truth prevails, and the lovers are reunited, with Polinesso receiving his just punishment. The opera explores themes of love, betrayal, and redemption, all set to Handel’s sublime music.

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

On February 29 we observe the leap-year birthday of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868). Signor Rossini wrote thirty-nine operas, as well as other compositions in several genres. Rossini wrote quickly and was once heard to quip: “Give me the laundress’ bill and I will even set that to music.”


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Thank you for your help in keeping classical music alive. We need this beautiful music in our community, indeed, in our country. Classical music has a powerful sense of history and tradition quite unlike any 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. Your donation keeps all of this passion alive on The Classical Station.

Click a gift to us online or via our app. If you prefer, call us anytime. 800-556-5178.

On February 28 we observe the birthdays of French composer Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825-1889) and American soprano Reri Grist (1932-).

A teacher as well as a composer, Monsieur Arban was the first virtuoso valved-trumpet player.  With her birthday tomorrow on February 29, if it were a leap year, Ms. Grist made her Metropolitan Opera debut on February 25, 1966. Happy 91st birthday!

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Arban, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons;  Reri Grist, Unknown Author, Alchetron

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Our Spring 2024 Membership Drive will begin in a few weeks. The point of our membership drives is to encourage listeners to become supporting members of The Classical Station. Did you know that Angels help us achieve that objective? Well, yes, they do and have done so for many years. Our Angels are amazing listeners who will match your gift to encourage you to support this unique classical music radio station that you enjoy so much.

The way it works is very simple. For example, a listener in Virginia commits $600 to the membership drive. She tells us that she will match contributions to a total of $600. So, once her Angel Match is met, The Classical Station garners $600 from our Angel and another $600 from the listeners who have become Sustaining Members.

Can you be an Angel during our Spring 2024 Membership Drive? Here’s how to make that happen: call Tanja Greaves here at the station and let her know that you want to be an Angel with your gift of $300 or more. You can reach Tanja at 800-556-5178 or email her.

If you prefer, you can become an Angel by making your gift of $300 or more online via our secure server. Just be sure to mention that you want to be an Angel in the Comments box. Or pop a check in the mail to WCPE The Classical Station, P.O. Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588. Thank you for inspiring other listeners to support The Classical Station. Don’t hesitate to call if you have questions.

Photo: Unknown Author, Angels Angelology

On February 27 we observe the birthdays of English composer Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918), American contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993), Italian soprano Mirella Freni (1935-2020), and Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer (1947-).

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry is best known these days as the composer of the 1902 coronation anthem I was glad. One of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century, Ms. Anderson made history on April 9, 1939, when she sang before a crowd of 75,000 at the National Mall. Signora Freni performed on most of the world’s great opera stages during her long career. A student of David Oistrakh, Gidon Kremer has performed with many of the world’s top orchestras.

Photos: Photo of Sir Hubert Parry, Unknown Author, The Musical Quarterly, July 1919, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Marian Anderson by Carl Van Vechten, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Mirella Freni, Unknown Author, NPR; Photo of Gidon Kremer, Kasskara, ECM Records.

Monday, February 26, 2024

This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in 1919. The program includes music by Alexander Borodin, Alexander Glazunov, Franz Liszt, and more, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, Kazuyoshi Akiyma, and Sergiu Comissiona.

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

On February 26 we observe the birthdays of Czech-born French composer Anton Reicha (1770-1836), English composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941) and Russian pianist Lazar Berman (1930-2005).

A friend of Beethoven, Reicha also taught Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, and César Franck. Frank Bridge’s music is relatively unknown to this day. Berman was one of the great pianists of the 20th century.

Photos: Engraving of Anton Reicha by C. Constans, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons;  Illustrated London News 6 August 1921, p. 196. Credited to “Loeb”, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Lazar Berman, Unknown Author, Bach Cantatas.