This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: “Orange Butterfly” by Sherry Conrad Frye

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, May 19, 2024

This evening you can hear new releases of music by Offenbach, Corelli, and Smetana, and more on Preview! Jennifer Bouton talks about her recording “Vivaldi Piccolo Concertos.”

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

This morning Great Sacred Music is a Pentecost celebration, with performances by The Morgan State University Choir, Schola Cantorum of Oxford, and Michael Murray. On the playlist are works by Alexander Gretchaninov, Randall Thompson, John Wimber, and more. Our featured work is Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms.

Great Sacred Music. Every Sunday from 8 a.m. until noon. Right after Sing for Joy. With Mick Anderson.

On May 19 we observe the birthdays of Australian coloratura soprano Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931), German composer and organist Johann Jakob Froberger (1616–1667), and American composer and organist Albert Hay Malotte (1895–1964).

Dame Nellie Melba, whose real name was Helen Porter Mitchell, took the stage name Melba after her hometown Melbourne. Admired by none other than Johann Sebastian Bach, Herr Froberger composed music for the keyboard in a variety of forms. Alfred Hay Malotte is remembered for his dramatic setting of The Lord’s Prayer.

Photos: Dame Nellie Melba, Henry Walter Barnett; Johann Jakob Froberger, Unknown Author, Alchetron, Fair Use; Alfred Hay Malotte, Unknown Author,, Fair Use

Saturday, May 18, 2024

“On Armed Forces Day, we honor all the members of our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard and Reserve forces. United by a common call to serve, these brave patriots not only comprise the finest fighting force the world has ever known but also represent the very best of our Nation.” Source: A Proclamation on Armed Forces Day
Photo: Public Domain Pictures

Kelli O’Hara as Laura Brown, Renée Fleming as Clarissa Vaughan, and Joyce DiDonato as Virginia Woolf in Kevin Puts’s “The Hours.” Photo: Evan Zimmerman / Met Opera

The Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 season of Saturday matinée radio broadcasts continues with a revival of one of last season’s biggest hits: The Hours by Kevin Puts. The cast stars three beloved divas – Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, and Kelli O’Hara – reprising their leading roles. Based on the award-winning novel and film, the opera interweaves the stories of three women from different eras and places – a modern-day New York book editor, a 1940s Los Angeles housewife, and the British author Virginia Woolf – on a single day in their lives. Kensho Watanabe conducts the Met Orchestra and Chorus in this evocative, multi-layered score.

The broadcast begins at 1 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

On May 18, we observe the birthdays of Hungarian-born Viennese composer Karl Goldmark (1930-1915) and English pianist Sir Clifford Curzon (1907-1982).

Károly Goldmark was largely a self-taught composer who at one point made his living as a music critic. English pianist Sir Clifford Curzon studied with Artur Schnabel, Nadia Boulanger, and Wanda Landowska.

Photos: Karl Goldmark, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia; Sir Clifford Curzon, Bascon, CC ASA 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Kevin Puts’ The Hours
Saturday, May 18, 1 p.m. Eastern

On May 17, we observe the birthdays of French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925),  Swedish dramatic soprano Birgit Nilsson (!918-2005), English horn player Dennis Brain (1921-1957) and English pianist Paul Crossley (1944-).

Éric Alfred Leslie Satie was unusual both as a person and as a composer. Ms. Nilsson was highly acclaimed for her roles in Richard Wagner’s operas. Dennis Brain died tragically in a car crash at the age of 36. Paul Crossley studied with Olivier Messiaen.

Photos: Erik Satie, Henri Manuel, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Birgit Nilsson, Gunnar Harnesk, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Dennis Brain, Unknown Author, Discogs, Fair Use; Paul Crossley, Unknown Author,, Fair Use.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

This evening, the Thursday Night Opera House presents Richard Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman). Our performance from the archives of Al Ruocchio features the BBC Chorus and the New Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Otto Klemperer. Condemned to sail the seas forever, the Dutchman (Adam) comes ashore once every seven years to find a faithful woman (Silja).

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

Join us in celebrating the musical legacy of the esteemed American conductor, Andrew Litton (1959-), as we commemorate his birthday on May 16. Hailing from the bustling city of New York, Maestro Litton has left an indelible mark on the world of classical music, captivating audiences with his masterful interpretations and charismatic presence on the podium.

Throughout his illustrious career, Litton has forged deep connections with some of the most distinguished orchestras across the globe. Notably, he has graced the podium of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, guiding the ensemble through captivating performances that have enchanted both critics and concertgoers alike. His passion and commitment to the art form have also led him to collaborate with the esteemed Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has seamlessly melded his artistic vision with the orchestra’s rich musical heritage.

For those who crave a deeper insight into this exceptional conductor’s life and musical journey, we were fortunate to have Maestro Litton as a guest on our acclaimed program, My Life In Music, in July 2019. During this captivating interview, he shared his personal anecdotes, artistic influences, and profound experiences that have shaped his extraordinary career. You can now immerse yourself in this enlightening conversation by visiting our Conversations page, where the interview is available for your listening pleasure.

As we celebrate the birthday of Andrew Litton, let us acknowledge his invaluable contributions to the realm of classical music. Through his unwavering dedication, exquisite artistry, and ability to transcend boundaries, Maestro Litton has touched the hearts of countless music enthusiasts around the world. Join us in raising a metaphorical baton to this remarkable conductor, and may his musical journey continue to inspire and resonate for years to come.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

On May 15 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), Irish composer Michael William Balfe (1808-1870), Swedish composer Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986) and Russian composer Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873-1945)

With one foot in the Renaissance and the other in the Baroque era, Padre Monteverdi is a fascinating composer who wrote operas and a remarkable piece of sacred music entitled Vespro della Beata Vergine. While his output included 29 operas and myriad other works, Michael William Balfe is known to modern audiences for his opera The Bohemian Girl. Lars-Erik Larsson studied composition with Alban Berg and used serial composition techniques in many of his works. Nikolai Tcherepnin studied composition with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. His output includes operas and music for several ballets.

Photos: Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Michael William Balfe, Atelier Nadar, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Lars Erik Larsson, Unknown Author, Fair Use, Musicalics; Nikolai Tcherepnin, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

For over four decades, The Classical Station has been the cherished source of Great Classical Music for discerning listeners like you. Since 1978, we have filled the airwaves with timeless melodies and masterpieces that have captivated your heart and enriched your soul.

We owe our longevity and success to the unwavering support of dedicated individuals such as you. Your loyalty and passion for classical music have fuelled our mission to bring the finest compositions to the airwaves.

As you consider the impact you wish to leave on future generations, we invite you to explore the opportunity of a planned gift in your will or estate. By including WCPE FM in your legacy, you can ensure that the music you love will continue to inspire and delight audiences for years to come.

The Educational Information Corporation is our legal name, and we are proud to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, listener-supported radio station. To learn more about planned giving and how you can contribute to our enduring musical legacy, please contact Heather Greene at 919-556-5178.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to The Classical Station. Together, we can preserve the magic of classical music for future generations to cherish and enjoy.

On May 14, we observe the birthdays of Russian composer Ivan Vishnegradsky (1893-1979), German-American conductor Otto Klemperer (1885-1973), and American pianist Alan Marks (1949-1995).

A word about these musicians: Vishnegradsky was noted for his compositions using the quarter-tone scale. Maestro Klemperer was considered one of the great conductors of the 20th century. Alan Marks lived the latter part of his short life in Berlin, Germany.

Photos: Ivan Vishnegradsky, Unknown Author, Fair Use,; Otto Klemperer, Unknown Author, Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Alan Marks, Unknown Author, Fair Use, Discogs

Monday, May 13, 2024

This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, which was founded in 1942. The program includes music by Sergei Prokofiev, Antonín Dvořák, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and more conducted by Alberto Zedda, Armin Jordan, and Principal Conductor Renaud Capuçon.

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

On May 13 we observe the birthdays of three English musicians; composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900), conductor Jane Glover (1949-), and violinist Tasmin Little (1965-).

Sir Arthur Sullivan collaborated with W.S. Gilbert on fourteen operas. Jane Glover has conducted at many of the world’s great opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera. Tasmin Little studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London, where one of her classmates was Nigel Kennedy.

Photos: Sir Arthur Sullivan, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Jane Glover, Unknown Author, St. Hugh’s College, Fair Use; Tasmin Little, Unknown Author,