This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Route 60 running through Algonquin Provincial Park with Autumn leaves, Ontario, Algonquin Provincial Park by Aiko99ann at wts wikivoyage

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, October 11, 2020

This evening on Preview! Gustavo Dudamel leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in music of Charles Ives. Rob Kennedy speaks with James O’Donnell, Director of Music at Westminster Abbey, about the Abbey Choir’s new recording Songs of Farewell. Our Beethoven celebration continues with American conductor Robert Trevino leading the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: James O’Donnell/Clare Clifford

This evening on Wavelengths we’ll hear music of Anna Clyne from Mythologies, a new recording by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. We’ll also hear works by Karl Jenkins and Jan Koetsier.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Christina Kernohan

This afternoon American composer George Crumb is our guest on the October edition of My Life In Music. Mr. Crumb has a well-deserved reputation as a composer who has always marched to his own drum. My Life In Music is made possible by our listeners and by The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle.

Join Rob Kennedy for My Life In Music on this evening at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Becky Starobin

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, The Holland Boys Choir, and Libera. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Josef Haydn.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music. Every Sunday morning. 8 a.m. eastern. Right after Sing For Joy. With Rob Kennedy.

Photo: Portrait of Joseph Haydn by Thomas Hardy (1791)

On October 11 we observe the birthdays of Canadian-American composer Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) and American violinist Rachel Barton Pine (1974-). While Dett was born in Drummondville, Ontario, and, indeed, was buried there, he spent most of his professional life in the United States. He studied with Arthur Foote at Harvard and with Nadia Boulanger at Fountainbleau. Robert Nathaniel Dett was active as a composer, choral conductor, professor, and organist. Having made her debut with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 10, Rachel Barton Pine has played with most of the world’s major orchestras and made over 30 recordings.

Photo: R. Nathaniel Dett/; Rachel Barton Pine/Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Saturday, October 10, 2020

From the steppes of central Asia to the Grand Canyon, come along with The Classical Station on a stunning musical journey. We’ll float along the blue Danube and down the Moldau and the Mississippi rivers, climb the Appalachian mountains, and cross the Scottish Highlands. Close your eyes during Armchair Travelers Weekend today and tomorrow and let the music take you away. Don’t forget to request your favorite piece of music on the Saturday Evening Request Program.

Photo: The Auvergne/

On October 10 we observe the birthdays of German composer Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1786), American composer Paul Creston (1906-1985), American conductor Chris Walden (1966-), and Israeli-Russian-British pianist Evgeny Kissin (1971-). Herr Krebs studied with Johann Sebastian Bach. Paul Creston was a largely self-taught composer whose music was popular in the 40s and 50s. He taught several notable musicians including John Corigliano. German-born Chris Walden is a classically trained musician who has over forty film and TV show scores to his credit. Evgeny Kissin is widely considered to be one of the great pianists of his generation. He has appeared as a soloist with most of the world’s major orchestras.


Friday, October 9, 2020

On October 9 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and French composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921). One of the greatest composers of operas, Signor Verdi wrote 28 of them. Apparently, he was intimately involved with every detail of these productions as well. If a musical form existed, chances are that Saint-Saëns wrote in it. He even wrote a film score in 1908.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Fromental Halévy’s La Juive (The Jewess). With a libretto by Eugène Scribe, it became one of the most popular and admired works of the 19th century. Through the story of impossible love between a Christian man and a Jewish woman, La Juive can be seen as a plea for religious tolerance.

The work premiered on February 23, 1835, at the Paris Opéra, and the role of Eléazar became a favorite for dramatic tenors such as Enrico Caruso and Richard Tucker.

In 15th-century Konstanz, Rachel (soprano Julia Varady), daughter of the Jewish goldsmith Eléazar (tenor José Carreras), discovers that her lover, whom she knows as “Samuel,” is actually Prince Léopold (tenor Dalmacio Gonzales), and married to Princess Eudoxie (soprano June Anderson). Rachel exposes the relationship to the court and Cardinal Brogni (bass Ferruccio Furlanetto) condemns her, Leopold, and Eléazar to death. Léopold’s sentence is commuted to banishment, and Brogni offers to spare Rachel if Eléazer will accept Christianity. When he refuses, Rachel is thrown into a vat of boiling water, while Eléazar reveals that she was the Cardinal’s own long-lost daughter.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Tell Alexa to “Play The Classical Station.” Bob Chapman hosts.

Photo: Cornélie Falcon as Rachel in the opera La Juive by Halévy, the role which she sang at the premiere on 23 February 1835 at the Paris Opera.

Do you know somebody who is thinking about being a composer? Then point them to our conversation with Jennifer Higdon. She is so affable and inspiring. Jennifer is one of eleven composers we have spoken with.  Their experiences and perspectives are fascinating.

Photo: J. Henry Fair

On October 8 we observe the birthdays of German composer Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672) and French composer Louis Vierne (1870-1937). Herr Schutz studied with Giovanni Gabrieli in Venice. He is widely considered to be the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach. Monsieur Vierne was the Titular Organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900 until 1937. During a tour of the U.S., he played the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia and the smaller Wanamaker organ in New York City.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

On October 7 we observe the birthdays of American conductor and cellist Alfred Wallenstein (1898-1983), Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit (1936-), English trumpeter Alison Balsom (1978-), Chinese pianist Li Yundi (1982-), and Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma (1955-). Maestro Wallenstein was director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1943-1956. He also pioneered classical music radio broadcasts back in the 1930s.  Maestro Dutoit was the conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1977-2002. He has conducted most of the world’s major orchestras over the course of his long professional career. Besides being a brilliant trumpet player, Alison Balsom enjoys a multi-faceted career as an arranger, producer, and music educator. Li Yundi or Yundi, as he is known, is the youngest pianist to win the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition which he accomplished in 2000 at the age of 18. Yo-Yo Ma is a graduate of the Juilliard School and Harvard University. He has made over ninety recordings and won eighteen Grammy Awards.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Have you submitted your entry for our Virtual Art Exhibit? You may be familiar with Pictures at an Exhibition, the orchestral suite by Modest Mussorgsky composed with inspiration by paintings of Viktor Hartmann. We are doing the reverse! Submissions might include a drawing of oranges inspired by Frederick Delius’s Florida Suite or a swan painted while listening to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns. These are just a few examples.  Choose whatever works inspire you. Send your JPG files to Submissions will be accepted until October 31, 2020.

On October 6 we observe the birthdays of English composer Stanley Myers (1930-1993), Swedish soprano Jenny Lind (1820-1887), Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937), and Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda (1927-). Stanley Myers composed over sixty film scores. His best-known composition is the work for guitar entitled Cavatina. Ms. Lind’s American manager was none other than P.T. Barnum. She seems to have done rather well financially during her career, according to the available accounts. Karol Szymanowski wrote over seventy compositions in a variety of forms and styles. He is widely considered to be the greatest Polish composer of the early twentieth century. Paul Badura-Skoda has made over two hundred recordings. He is highly regarded for his performances on historical instruments.


Monday, October 5, 2020

This evening American composer George Crumb is our guest on the October edition of My Life In Music. Mr. Crumb has a well-deserved reputation as a composer who has always marched to his own drum. My Life In Music is made possible by our listeners and by The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle.

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

Photo: Becky Starobin

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Suisse Romande Orchestra. On the program is music by Alexander Borodin, Sergei Prokofiev, and Anton Bruckner, in classic performances led by the orchestra’s founder, Ernest Ansermet, together with Armin Jordan and Marek Janowski.

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