This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: White Roses Bouquet by Andrea R, Commons.Wikimedia.org CC by NCSA 2.0

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Bring your weekend to a close with the carefully curated playlists on a program we call Peaceful Reflections. It’s a mix of choral, organ, and instrumental music including Johann Sebastian Bach’s Easter Oratorio and Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs this week.

Peaceful Reflections begins at 9 p.m. Eastern.

This evening on Preview!, you can hear Hector Berlioz’ Overture “Le Corsaire”, Op. 21, played by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. This is on a recording entitled Summer Night Concert released by Sony Classics in June 2023. Baryton player Matt Baker talks about the baryton and Josef Haydn’s compositions for it.

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

This morning, Great Sacred Music includes performances by The New Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir of Radio France, the Bach Collegium Japan, and Mary Preston. You’ll hear works by Richard Rodney Bennett, Johann Hasse, Charles Gounod, and many more. This week’s featured work is Giacomo Puccini’s Messa di Gloria.

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

On April 7 we observe the birthdays of French pianist Robert Casadesus (1899-1972) and Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes (1970-). A highly-regarded pianist of the 20th-century, Monsieur Casadesus was a member of a prominent French music family. More about him at A pianist and chamber musician, Leif Ove Andsnes has recorded extensively with over 50 CDs currently available. You can hear him play Josef Haydn’s Piano Sonata No. 49 in C sharp minor at 9 a.m. Eastern.

Photo: Robert Casadesus, Unknown Author, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Wikimedia Commons; Leif Ove Ansnes, Özgür Albayrak


Saturday, Arpil 6, 2024

Photo of Met Opera, New York by Jonathan Tichler

The Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 season of Saturday matinée broadcasts continues with a treasure from Met broadcast history, going back 50 years to the day: Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, The Elixir of Love, starring the magnificent tenor Luciano Pavarotti in a performance from April 6, 1974. Pavarotti starred in one of his most acclaimed roles, as the shy, lovestruck village boy Nemorino, opposite soprano Judith Blegen in a winning performance as the wealthy – and willful – Adina. Baritone John Reardon was Sargent Belcore, and bass Ezio Flagello was Dr. Dulcamara. Max Rudolf conducted.

The performance begins at 1 p.m. Eastern.

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On April 6 we observe the birthdays of German-American conductor André Previn (1929-2019) and French pianist Pascal Rogé (1951-). A most versatile musician, André Previn earned 4 Academy Awards and 10 Grammy Awards during his lifetime. After attending the Paris Conservatoire, Monsieur Rogé has specialized in performing music written by French composers.

Photos:  André Previn by Harald Hoffmann/DG; Pascal Rogé, Unknown Author on Pascalroge.net


Friday, April 5, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore
Saturday, April 6, 1 p.m. Eastern

Yesterday, I interviewed horn player Louis-Pierre Bergeron and pianist Meagan Milatz about their recently released recording Bravura: Oeuvres pour cor naturel et pianoforte on the ATMA Classiques label. I didn’t realize that so much music had been written for horn and piano, beginning in the late 18th century. It’s a delightful pairing. In any case, Louis-Pierre and Meagan will be our guests on the June 9th edition of Preview! ~Rob Kennedy

On April 5 we observe the birthdays of German composer Louis Spohr (1784-1859) and Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989).

Louis Spohr, also known as Ludvig Spohr, was an inventive composer who came up with the ‘chin-rest’ for the violin, was one of the first conductors to use a baton and mark his scores with ‘rehearsal letters’ so he could guide his musicians. Principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years, Maestro von Karajan was one of the greatest 20th-century conductors. He recorded prolifically. Over 700 of his recordings are still available. You can hear him conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of L’Arlesienne Suite No. 1, by Georges Bizet at this evening at 6:31 p.m. Eastern.
See our Compact Playlists and Daily Playlist for details of today’s programming.

Photos: Herbert von Karajan, Edith Posse, Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S47421/CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons; Louis Spohr, self-portrait, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons


Thursday, April 4, 2024

This evening, the Thursday Night Opera House presents two operas, a double bill known to opera enthusiasts as Cav/Pag! These two operas have been performed as a double bill since 1893. They are prime examples of verismo, focusing on the lives of common people.

Cavalleria Rusticana is a one-act opera by Pietro Mascagni, premiered in 1890. Set in a Sicilian village on Easter Sunday, it revolves around the intertwined lives of several villagers, primarily focusing on the love triangle between Santuzza, Turiddu, and Lola. Turiddu, a soldier, returns to find his former lover, Lola, married to Alfio. Seeking revenge, Turiddu seduces Santuzza, who becomes deeply infatuated with him. When Lola and Turiddu’s affair is revealed, Santuzza confronts Turiddu, leading to a heated confrontation. In a fit of rage and jealousy, Turiddu challenges Alfio to a duel, which ultimately leads to tragedy. The opera explores themes of love, betrayal, and honor, with intense emotions driving the characters to their fateful destinies. Mascagni’s masterful score captures the passionate essence of rural Italian life, making “Cavalleria Rusticana” one of the most enduringly popular operas of all time.

Pagliacci is a two-act opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo, premiered in 1892. Set in a small Calabrian village, it tells the story of a traveling troupe of actors led by Canio, who performs a commedia dell’arte play. The drama unfolds as Canio discovers his wife Nedda’s infidelity with Silvio, a young villager. Consumed by jealousy and rage, Canio is forced to perform in the play while struggling to suppress his emotions. As the performance progresses, the lines between reality and fiction blur, leading to a tragic climax where Canio’s character, Pagliaccio, delivers one of the most famous arias in opera, “Vesti la giubba” (Put on the costume). “Pagliacci” delves into themes of love, jealousy, and the human capacity for deception, with Leoncavallo’s poignant music capturing the raw intensity of the characters’ emotions. The opera’s poignant portrayal of the blurred lines between art and life has cemented its status as a timeless masterpiece.

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

On April 4 we observe the birthdays of French conductor Pierre Monteux (1875-1964) and Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski (1972-).

During his lifetime Monsieur Monteux was the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, the San Francisco Symphony, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Among his other positions, Maestro Jurowski was Music Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera from 2001-2013.

Photos: Pierre Monteux, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Vladimir Jurowski, Roman Gontcharov


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Yesterday, I had the distinct privilege of interviewing pianist Benjamin Bertin about his recently released recording of the last sonatas of Russian composer Nickolai Medtner. Bertin did his doctoral studies on Medtner’s music, so his insights into this relatively unknown composer are fascinating, and will make a great interview that I will air on Preview! on Sunday, May 26. If you enjoy the music of Peter Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff, you will enjoy the piano music of Nikolai Medtner.

You can hear interviews that we aired early this year on the Preview! page. ~Rob Kennedy

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 ensures 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 member of staff is always here. Don’t forget to take a Thank You Gift.

On April 3 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and American pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

A student of Ildebrando Pizzetti, Signor Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote 100 works for the guitar. A native of New York, Garrick Ohlsson was the first American to win the International Chopin Competition. Listen to Garrick speak about his life and career as a performer in a conversation we recorded in 2020.

Photos: Garrick Ohlsson, Hart Hohlmann; Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Unknown Author, mariocastelnuovotedesco.com


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

What does The Classical Station mean to you? Your fellow listeners offered these words…“I adore classical music. It’s one of the few things on the radio that I can bear…” And…“It’s my daily companion… my daily bread”

The Classical Station means a lot to you too! Find your reason and give by clicking a gift to us on our app or website, or, better yet,  call 800-556-51-78 anytime. A member of staff is on duty 24/7 and will be very happy to answer your call.

Thank you for your support of The Classical Station.

On April 2 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Giacomo Ferrari (1763-1842), German composer Franz Lachner (1803-1890), and Italian composer Teodulo Mabellini (1817-1897).

A noted opera composer in his day, Signor Ferrari spent most of his professional career in England and France. A friend of Franz Schubert, Herr Lachner’s wrote several hundred works in a variety of genres. A colleague of the great Giuseppe Verdi, Signor Mabellini himself wrote nine operas.

Photos: Giacomo Ferrari, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Franz Lachner, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Teodulo Mabellini, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Common


Monday, April 1, 2024

This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which was founded in 1959. The program includes music by J. S. Bach, Justin Heinrich Knecht, Max Bruch, and more conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, Iona Brown, and featuring a performance by current Music Director, Joshua Bell.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

The April edition of My Life in Music will feature celebrated violinist Rachel Barton Pine. Ms. Pine made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 10.

Join Rob Kennedy for My Life In Music this evening at 7 p.m. Eastern.

On April 1 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1824) and Russian-born American composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

A virtuoso concert pianist and teacher in his day, Signor Busoni is mostly remembered in our time for his transcriptions of various Bach works. Can you imagine Vladimir Horowitz playing Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto? Well, it happened!

Photos: Photograph of Ferruccio Busoni, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Sergei Rachmaninoff, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons