This Week at The Classical Station

Photo by Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, June 16, 2024

This evening on Preview! pianists Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan play Sergei Rachmaninoff’s virtuosic Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17. Composer Michael John Trotta talks about his recording O Nata Lux.

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

This morning’s Great Sacred Music is a Father’s Day celebration, with performances by the Tallis Scholars, the Czech Ensemble Baroque Orchestra and Choirs, and organist Joseph Payne. Also on the program are works by William Mundy, Pierre de la Rue, Dietrich Buxtehude, and many more. Our featured work is Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Filius Prodigus.

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

On June 16 we observe the birthdays of Bohemian cellist and composer David Popper (1843-1913), American dramatic soprano Helen Traubel (1899-1972), Austrian conductor and violinist Willi Boskovsky (1909-1991), and Romanian-Israeli-American Sergiu Comissiona (1928-2005).

Popper was one of the last cellists to play the instrument without using an endpin. Ms. Traubel was highly regarded for her interpretation of Wagnerian roles. Boskovsky was famous for his Vienna New Year’s concerts. Among his other accomplishments, Maestro Comissiona established the Baltimore Symphony as a world-class orchestra during his tenure there from 1969.

Photos: David  Popper, E. Bieber, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Helen Traubel, Unknown Author, Missouri History Museum, Fair Use; Wili Boskovsky, Unknown Author, Vienna Philharmonic, Fair Use; Sergiu Comissiona, Unknown Author, Fair Use, Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, June 15, 2024

The 2024 Laffont Competition Grand Final Winners are (left to right)
tenor Daniel Espinal, mezzo-soprano Meridian Prall, soprano Emily Richter
soprano Lydia Grindatto, and baritone Navasard Hakobyan.
Photo: Karen Almond / Met Opera

This afternoon, the Metropolitan Opera presents the Grand Finals Concert of the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition. On March 17th, 2024, ten young artists sang on stage at the Met with Evan Rogister leading the Met orchestra. Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves was concert host, and bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green performed as special guest artist.

The Competition discovers promising young opera singers and assists in the development of their careers. Hundreds of volunteers from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico fundraise, operate, and support the efforts of the Competition and its singers. Some of today’s greatest opera stars got their start in the competition, including Jamie Barton, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Emily D’Angelo, Michael Fabiano, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Ryan Speedo Green, Lisette Oropesa, Eric Owens, Nadine Sierra, and Christian Van Horn.

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

On June 15 we observe the birthdays of German composer Franz Danzi (1763-1826), Irish composer Charles Wood (1866-1926), Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), and American choral conductor Craig Hella Johnson (1962-).

A composer who bridged the Classical and Romantic periods, Danzi wrote music in a variety of genres. He was perhaps best known for his operas. Largely known these days for his choral works, Charles Wood taught Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells. Famous for his Piano Concerto which Franz Liszt helped him orchestrate, Edvard Grieg is considered one of the great Romantic-era composers. Craig Hella Johnson is a graduate of St. Olaf College and founder and artistic director of the choral ensemble Conspirare.

Photos: Franz Danzi, Heinrich Eduard Winter, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Charles Wood, Unknown Author, Wikimedia Commons; Edvard Grieg, Joseph John Elliott and Clarence Edmund Fry, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Friday, June 14, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Laffont Grand Finals Concert
Saturday, June 15, 1 p.m. Eastern

Classical music is a tapestry of instruments, experiences, emotions, and stories. Every piece of music you hear on The Classical Station is also part of the larger tapestry of musical history, a history that goes back through centuries of composition and more than a century of recordings. And every day The Classical Station weaves a tapestry for you drawn from the thousands of recordings in our music library. But today, the story is all about you, our listener.

Please seize the day by showing your support today for The Classical Station. Give securely online, on our app, via the mail to The Classical Station, PO Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588, or by calling 800-556-5178 anytime.


Thursday, June 13, 2024

This evening, the Thursday Night Opera House presents George Frideric Handel’s opera Rodelinda. A masterpiece of Baroque music, the opera is set in 7th-century Lombardy. The story revolves around Rodelinda, the wife of King Bertarido, who has been usurped by Grimoaldo, Duke of Benevento. Bertarido, believing his wife and son Flavio are in danger, sends word of his own death and returns to Milan in disguise to rescue them.

Grimoaldo, who has taken the throne, proposes to Rodelinda, who reluctantly accepts to protect her son. Meanwhile, Bertarido, still in disguise, discovers his wife’s apparent betrayal and is heartbroken. Eduige, Bertarido’s sister, is also embroiled in the intrigue, as she was initially betrothed to Grimoaldo but now seeks revenge against him.

Throughout the opera, Handel’s music masterfully conveys the complex emotions and dramatic tension. Rodelinda’s arias, such as “Ho perduto il caro sposo” and “Ombre, piante,” showcase her grief and determination. Bertarido’s arias, like “Dove sei?” and “Con rauco mormorio,” highlight his longing and despair. The opera culminates in a dramatic confrontation between the characters, ultimately leading to Bertarido’s restoration to the throne and the reconciliation of the main characters.

Handel’s score is characterized by its inventive use of orchestral textures and vocal lines, creating a rich and engaging musical experience. The opera’s libretto, written by Nicola Francesco Haym, is based on a 1710 libretto by Antonio Salvi and draws from the historical figure of Perctarit, a 7th-century Lombard king. “Rodelinda” is a testament to Handel’s skill in crafting a compelling narrative through music, making it a must-listen for classical music enthusiasts.

Richard Bonynge conducts the Welsh National Opera Orchestra and a stellar cast including Dame Joan Sutherland and Samuel Ramey on a Decca recording released in 1987.

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

On June 13 we observe the birthdays of Mexican composer and conductor Carlos Chávez and Austrian composer Anton Eberl. Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez was director of Orquesta Sinfónica de México at one point in his career. Herr Eberl’s music was apparently good enough that Mozart put his name on some of Eberl’s works and claimed them as his own. When Mozart died, Eberl published a notice which essentially said: “That was really my music.”

Photos: Carlos Chávez/SEMO, Mexico City; Anton Eberl, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Considering the inclusion of The Classical Station in your Will as a legacy gift.? By doing so, you will leave a lasting impact and provide a strong foundation for the station to continue operating for future generations.

The Classical Station, legally known as Educational Information Corporation, is a nonprofit, listener-supported radio station operating under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It relies on the generous support of its listeners, like yourselves, whose contributions are tax-deductible. Your intention to include The Classical Station in your Will would be greatly appreciated, and we kindly ask that you inform us so that we may express our heartfelt gratitude for your generosity. Don’t hesitate to speak with our Membership Department staff when you have questions. You can reach them during business hours at 800-556-5178.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Remember a loved one with a special Day Dedication announcement. You can schedule a Day Dedication with a donation of $200 or more to The Classical Station. Your announcement will run four times throughout the day of your choosing. Birthdays, anniversaries, and memorials are just some of the ways that many people have chosen to celebrate those special to them.

Call our Membership Department at 919-556-5178 or email us to arrange a Day Dedication.

On June 11 we observe the birthday of German composer Richard Strauss. Bridging the late romantic and early modern periods in classical music, Richard Georg Strauss enjoyed great success as a composer and a conductor. His 1905 opera Salome was so well-received that it enabled Strauss to finance the purchase of a house.

Photos: 1918 Portrait of Strauss by Max Liebermann on; Stamps honoring Richard Strauss in the collection of Jiumn-wen Lin

Monday, June 10, 2024

This evening, Monday Night at the Symphony features the Cleveland Orchestra, which was founded in 1918. The program includes music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and more, conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi, George Szell, and current Music Director Franz Welser-Most.

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

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Today we observe the birthday of harpsichordist and early music scholar Ralph Kirkpatrick (1911-1984). Kirkpatrick studied in Europe with Nadia Boulanger and several early music specialists in the 1930s. He cataloged the music of Domenico Scarlatti and was instrumental in reviving early music in the United States.

Photo: Lead Technologies, Wimimedia, Fair Use