This Week At The Classical Station

Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, December 13, 2020

This evening on Wavelengths we’ll hear a work by English composer Anna Clyne that incorporates a poem by William Butler Yeats. We’ll also hear music by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and American John Aylward.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music, Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern

Photo: John Aylward/Kate Soper

This evening on Preview! we kick off our annual Beethovenfest with performances by the Cleveland Orchestra and violinist Andrew Wan. Rob Kennedy speaks with composer John Aylward about his new recording, Angelus. Smaro Gregoriadou plays Bach on an innovative “pedal” guitar, and we’ll hear new music for Christmas from Chanticleer.

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

Photo: Chanticleer/Lisa Kohler

Grammy Award-winning American composer Libby Larsen is our guest on the December edition of My Life In Music. Libby has composed over 500 works including operas, chamber music, and much more. She talks about how she got her start as a composer back when she was in elementary school. She also shares the influences which shape her work.

My Life In Music is made possible by our listeners and by our friends at The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. Join The Classical Station’s Rob Kennedy for My Life In Music this afternoon at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Ann Marsden

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by The Sixteen Choir, The Cardinall’s Musik, and Le Concert Spirituel. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Josef Haydn, and Ildebrando Pizzetti.

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

Photo: Ildebrando Pizzetti/PD-US on

Today we observe the birthday of The Right Reverend Phillips Brooks (1835-1893). He was a bishop of the Episcopal Church and rector of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts. However, you and I know him better as the author of the familiar Christmas hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Photo: PD-US/

Saturday, December 12, 2020

This afternoon the Metropolitan Opera presents a rebroadcast of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, starring Adrianne Pieczonka as Leonore and Klaus Florian Vogt as Florestan, in a performance from April 1, 2017. Fidelio tells the story of Leonore, who disguises herself as a young man named Fidelio in order to free her husband Florestan, a political prisoner. The cast also includes Falk Struckmann as the jailer Rocco; Greer Grimsley as Don Pizarro, the corrupt governor of the prison; Günther Groissböck as Don Fernando; Hanna-Elisabeth Müller in her network broadcast debut as Rocco’s daughter Marzelline; and David Portillo as Rocco’s assistant Jaquino. Sebastian Weigle conducts. Fidelio begins at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

On December 12 we observe the birthday of Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden (1960-). He is the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Friday, December 11, 2020

Our collection of conversations with composers, conductors, singers, and instrumentalists continues to grow. We have most of these interviews saved for your listening pleasure on a page we call Conversations. Chats with Joyce DiDonato, Karina Canellakis, JoAnn Falletta, Sherill Milnes, Stephen Hough, Sir Stephen Cleobury, Simone Dinnerstein, Jennifer Higdon, and many more musicians, are ready for you to download and enjoy. These musicians love what they do. They offer fascinating insights into their early years, what inspired them, and how they built their careers. You can also find these Conversations on our app.

Photo: WCPE Photo Services

On December 11 we observe the birthdays of French composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), Polish composer Mieczysław Karłowicz (1876-1909), and Ukrainian-American pianist Valentina Lisitsa (1973-).

Hector Berlioz is perhaps best known to 21st-century audiences for his Symphonie fantastique and Grande Messe des Morts and Requiem. Mieczysław Karłowicz occupied a place in Polish musical history between Frederic Chopin and Karol Szymanowski. Ms. Lisitsa has developed a large following on YouTube for her performances of literature from the Romantic era.

Photos: Hector Berlioz/France Musique; Mieczysław Karłowicz/Łaski Diffusion/East News; Valentina Lisitsa/Michael von Aichberger on 3.0

Thursday, December 10, 2020

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Hector Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust. In a nutshell, the plot involves an aged philosopher, Faust, who sells his soul to the devil, Méphistophélès, in exchange for another shot at youth, then seduces the beautiful Marguerite. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern with host Bob Chapman.

Join us this evening at 6 p.m. Eastern for a special program of music to celebrate the beginning of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Rabbi Amy Feder of Temple Israel in Saint Louis, Missouri, will offer the introduction and Blessing. We’ll present additional seasonal selections throughout the eight-day observance of Chanukah.

We also invite you to enjoy a conversation with Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue here in Raleigh, North Carolina, about Chanukah, its history, its customs and its music. You can listen to and download this podcast here. Happy Chanukah! Hanukkah sameach!

Photo: Menorah in the Arch of Titus/

On December 10 we observe the birthdays of Belgian-born French composer César Franck (1822-1890), French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), American composer Morton Gould (1913-1996, and British pianist Kathryn Stott (1958-).

While César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was born in what is now Belgium, he took French citizenship when he was appointed to the faculty of Conservatoire de Paris in 1872. He composed four operas, several oratorios, as well as orchestral and chamber works. His music for organ is a staple of every organist’s repertoire. Besides being a composer and organist, Olivier-Eugène-Prosper-Charles Messiaen was an ornithologist. He is widely considered one of the great composers of the 20th century. Richmond Hill, New York native Morton Gould published his first composition at the age of six. He wrote symphonies, film scores, Broadway musicals, and much more. His manuscripts are archived in the Library of Congress. Ms Stott teaches at the Royal Academy of Music. She concertizes regularly and is a long-time collaborator of cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Photos: Jeanne Rongier’s 1885 painting “César Franck at the console of the organ at St. Clotilde Basilica, Paris, 1885/Public Domain on; Olivier Messiaen/Public Domain on CC 1.0; Morton Gould/Milken Archive of Jewish Music; Kathryn Stott on

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

If your vehicle – automobile, truck, boat, motorcycle, RV, or aircraft – is no longer of use to you, it can still go a long way as a donation in support of the beautiful music you love on from The Classical Station. Here’s how it works: the Center for Car Donations (CFCD) manages the donations on our behalf. Call them toll-free at 1-877-927-3872 for more information and to begin the car donation process. Don’t forget to mention that The Classical Station is the recipient of your donation.

A CFCD representative will schedule a pickup that’s convenient for you, and provide you with confirmation of your donation. We will mail you a confirmation that states how much your vehicle sold for at auction. This amount is what you can claim on your itemized tax return. You also will receive a one-year subscription to Quarter Notes.


On December 9 we observe the birthdays of five musicians: French composer Émile Waldteufel (1837- 1915), Spanish composer Joaquín Turina (1882-1949), German-born British soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (1915-2006), English composer Alan Ridout (1934-1996), and American violinist Joshua Bell (1967-).

The composer of many waltzes including the well-known Les Patineurs, Monsieur Waldteufel dominated the London music scene in the 1870s and 80s, thanks to substantial royal patronage. A friend of Ravel and Debussy from his time in Paris at the Conservatoire, Senor Turina wrote a variety of works including operas. Dame Olga Maria Elisabeth Friederike Schwarzkopf was one of the 20th-century’s great singers of lieder. She appeared in many of the world’s great opera houses and recorded extensively. A prolific composer, Alan Ridout studied with Herbert Howells and Sir Michael Tippett. One of the 21st-century’s most celebrated violinists, Joshua Bell is Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He performs in concerts around the world and has recorded extensively.

Photos: Émile Waldteufel, Joaquín Turina/Public Domain on; Elizabeth Schwarzkopf on, CC 2.5 Switzerland; Alan Ridout/Unknown; Joshua Bell/Alex Duff on, CC 3.0 France.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Have you visited our Virtual Art Gallery yet?  What an amazing collection of works by our listeners! Classical music touches us in so many different ways. Some pieces console us. Others make us want to dance. So, it’s fascinating to see those emotions expressed in visual form. Thanks to everyone who participated.

On December 8 we observe the birthdays of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), Mexican composer Manuel Ponce (1882-1948), Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959), and Irish flute player Sir James Galway (1939-). Johan Julius Christian Sibelius was the composer who put Finland on the map, musically speaking. He composed scores of works until 1926. After that, Sibelius apparently wrote very little music for the next thirty years. Manuel María Ponce Cuéllar was one of those skillful composers like Sibelius and Vaughan Williams who knew how to weave his country’s folk music into his compositions. Bohuslav Martinu was another prolific composer who created fifteen operas, seven symphonies, fifteen ballets, and a host of works in a variety of other forms during his lifetime. Belfast native Sir James Galway has been nicknamed “The Man With the Golden Flute”. Sir James has over sixty recordings to his credit.

Photos: Jean Sibelius/; Manuel Ponce/;  Bohuslav Martinu/ CC BY-SA 3.0 cz; Sir James Galway/Paul Cox

Monday, December 7, 2020

Grammy Award-winning American composer Libby Larsen is our guest on the December edition of My Life In Music. Libby has composed over 500 works including operas, chamber music, and much more. She talks about how she got her start as a composer back when she was in elementary school. She also shares the influences which shape her work.

My Life In Music is made possible by our listeners and by our friends at The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. Join The Classical Station’s Rob Kennedy for My Life In Music this evening at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Ann Marsden

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. On the program are works by Maurice Ravel, Franz Schubert, and Johannes Brahms, in performances led by Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Chailly and Ivan Fischer.

Photo: The Concertgebouw/Emmely Siebrecht

On December 7, we observe the birthday of two composers and an organists: Italian composer Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), American composer Richard Felciano (1930-) and American organist Daniel Chorzempa (1944-).

Pietro Antonio Stefano Mascagni wrote fifteen operas of which Cavalleria Rusticana was the most famous. Felciano studied with Darius Milhaud and Luigi Dallapiccola. He is a Professor Emeritus of Music, University of California, Berkeley, California. While he is well-regarded as an organist, Dr. Chorzempa (1944-) also studied architecture and holds a Ph.D. in musicology and Renaissance studies.

Photos: Pietro Mascagni/Library of Congress; Richard Felciano (1986)/; Daniel Chorzempa/