This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, March 31, 2024
Easter Day

You can hear pianist Robert Levin play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 8 in C, K. 246 “Lützow” on Preview! this evening. Mandolinist Alon Sariel talks about his recordings Plucked Bach and Plucked Bach II.

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

This morning Great Sacred Music celebrates Easter with performances by the Taverner Consort and Players, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Choir, and Jubilant Sykes. You’ll hear works by Sir Edward Bairstow, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and many more. This week’s featured works are J. S. Bach’s Easter Oratorio and Part Three of Handel’s Messiah.

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

On March 31 we observe the birthday of Austrian composer Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809). ClassicFM states it succinctly: “Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. Haydn wrote 107 symphonies in total, as well as 83 string quartets, 45 piano trios, 62 piano sonatas, 14 masses, and 26 operas, amongst countless other scores.”

Photo: Portrait by Ludwig Guttenbrunn, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Postage stamp issued by Hungary in 1959, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Franz Joseph Haydn

Saturday, March 30, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 season of Saturday matinée broadcasts continues with a highlight from the Met’s fall season: Guiseppi Verdi’s intensely dramatic Requiem. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted this monumental setting of the Catholic mass for the dead in a concert performance featuring the magnificent Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The star soloists were soprano Leah Hawkins, mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, tenor Matthew Polenzani, and bass Dmitry Belosselskiy.

The performance begins at 1 p.m. Eastern.

On March 30 we observe the birthdays of Austrian cantor and composer Salomon Sulzer (1804-1890) and Russian composer Sergei Vasilenko (1872-1956).

Salomon Sulzer is perhaps best known for arranging traditional Hebrew chants with modern harmonies. A Professor at the Moscow Conservatory, Sergei Nikiforovich Vasilenko taught Aram Katchaturian among others.

Photos: Salomon Sulzer, Unknown Author, Public Domain U.S., Wikimedia Commons; Sergei Vasilenko, Author Unknown, Toccata Classics

Friday, March 29, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, Saturday, March 30, 1 p.m. Eastern

On March 29 we observe the birthdays of English composer Sir William Walton (1902-1983) and English organist E. Power Biggs (1906-1977).

Sir William Walton was one of the most important 20th-century British composers.  English-born E. Power Biggs was a prominent concert organist who was very active in the middle of the 20th-century.

Photos: Sir William Walton, Unknown Author, The Walton Trust; E. Power Biggs, GiovanniScuola, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Parsifal is a profound opera by German composer Richard Wagner. Set in medieval Europe, it tells the story of Parsifal, a young knight who embarks on a quest for the Holy Grail, a sacred relic believed to possess divine power. Along the way, Parsifal encounters the Knights of the Grail, led by the ailing Amfortas, who suffers from a wound inflicted by the evil sorcerer Klingsor. Parsifal’s journey is one of self-discovery and redemption as he learns of compassion, empathy, and the importance of forgiveness.

Filled with rich orchestration and haunting melodies, Parsifal explores themes of spirituality, redemption, and the human condition. Wagner’s masterpiece combines elements of Christian mysticism with Arthurian legend, creating a deeply moving and introspective work. The opera’s climax comes as Parsifal, now enlightened, confronts Klingsor and overcomes the forces of darkness with the power of love and compassion, ultimately healing Amfortas and restoring harmony to the land.

Parsifal stands as one of Wagner’s most profound and spiritually resonant works, captivating audiences with its transcendent music and timeless themes of redemption and salvation.

Our performance of Parsifal features the Berlin Philharmonic with Herbert von Karajan conducting. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern.

On March 28 we observe the birthday of Dutch conductor Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951), English composer and organist Sir William Harris (1873-1973), Bohemian-born pianist Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991), and American bass Samuel Ramey (1942-).

While Maestro Mengelberg was primarily associated with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, he found time to conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1921 to 1930. Sir William Harris was Organist of Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor from 1933-1951. Besides being a famous pianist of his generation, Mr. Serkin was associated with two major American institutions, the Marlboro Festival, and the Curtis Institute. Acclaimed for his roles as Faust in the Gounod and Boito operas, Samuel Ramey is currently Distinguished Professor of Opera at Wichita State University’s School of Music.

Photos: Willem Mengelberg, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Sir William Henry Harris, Unknown Author, Fair Use (The photo is only being used for informational purposes), Wikimedia Commons; Rudolf Serkin, Bilsen, Joop van/Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Wikimedia Commons; Samuel Ramey, Christian Steiner

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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On March 27 we observe the birthdays of French composer Vincent D’Indy (1851-1931), American composer Ferde Grofé (1892-1972), and Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007).

A student of Cesar Franck, Paul Marie Théodore Vincent d’Indy taught Darius Milhaud, Cole Porter, Albert Roussel, and Erik Satie among others. Ferdinand Rudolph von Grofé came from a very musical family. He was well-known in the 20s and 30s as the arranger for the Paul Whiteman Band. One of the 20th-century’s greatest cellists, Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich was also highly regarded as a conductor.

Photos: Vincent D’Indy, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Ferde Grofe, Bain News Service, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Vyatkin, RIA Novosti, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

On March 26 we observe the birthdays of South Korean violinist Kyung Wha Chung (1948-) and French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez (1925-2016).

Besides being well-regarded for her recital performances and recordings, Ms. Chung has been on the faculty of The Julliard School since 2007. Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez was a champion of the music of the first half of the 20th century. He also was in demand as a conductor with stints at the BBC Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.

Photo: Kyung Wha Chung by Benjamin Olivega; Pierre Boulez, Joost Evers on Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Wikimedia Commons

Monday, March 25, 2024

You have done it again! Thanks to their generosity and love of classical music, our listeners gave $528,000 during our Spring Membership Drive 2024. We appreciate your pledge because it shows you care enough to take an active role in the future of The Classical Station. Your gift will ensure that you can always hear Great Classical Music on this special broadcasting service.

If you didn’t have a chance to donate, it’s never too late. Click a gift to us online or via our app. Or call us anytime at 800-556-5178. A live announcer is on duty 24/7. Don’t forget to take a “Thank You” Gift. And, please submit your requests for All Request Friday and the Saturday Evening Request Program. We’re looking forward to hearing the music you want us to play!

This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Halle Orchestra, which was founded in 1858. The program includes music by Johannes Brahms, Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar, and more conducted by Kent Nagano, Sir John Barbirolli, and current Music Director, Sir Mark Elder.

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

On March 25 we observe the birthdays of Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), Hungarian composer Béla Viktor János Bartók (1881-1945), and Czech conductor Zdeněk Košler (1928-1995).

Arguably one of the greatest conductors of the 20th-century, Maestro Toscanini was well-known for his work with the orchestra created especially for him, the NBC Symphony. What do Ralph Vaughan Williams and Béla Bartók have in common? Their love of folk music. Bartók was one of the first ethnomusicologists. Active in the latter half of the 20th-century, Maestro Košler was well-known for his opera performances.

Photos: Arturo Toscanini, Aime Dupont Studio, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Béla Bartók, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Zdeněk Košler, Unknown Author, Opera Slovakia