This Week At The Classical Station

Photo of Yellowstone Lake by Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The 11th annual edition of Lullabies and Carols airs this evening at 10 p.m. Lullabies and Carols is an oasis of calm for you in the midst of the holiday season. Quire Cleveland, The Cathedral Singers, and the Utah State University Chamber Singers, and more sing music by John Rutter, Morten Lauridsen, and Philip Stopford. Rob Kennedy hosts. You can hear Lullabies and Carols again on Tuesday, December 22 at 8 p.m., and Friday, December 25 at 3 a.m. Eastern.  Here is the playlist.

Merry Christmas from all of us at The Classical Station!

Photo: Author Unknown/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 

This evening on Wavelengths we’ll hear new music by Icelandic composer and producer Olafur Arnalds. Also on the program are contemporary works for Christmas from composers including Glenn Rudolph, Abbie Betinis, and James Whitbourn.

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

The December edition of Renaissance Fare will visit several European countries to hear the sounds of Christmas during the 1400s and 1500s. Many beautiful holiday tunes and hymns were written during the Renaissance period. Join George Douglas this afternoon at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Wikipedia.org

This evening on Preview! we’ll hear the Christmas Oratorio, Part 1, by Johann Sebastian Bach, in a new performance led by Jordi Savall. Elizabeth Elliott speaks with violinist Jerilyn Jorgenson about recording the Beethoven violin sonatas. And clarinetist Jörg Widmann joins pianist Sir András Schiff to play Brahms.

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

Photo: Sir András Schiff/Nadia F. Romanini

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music for the season sung by The Washington National Cathedral Choir, Blue Heron, and Chanticleer. As is our custom on the Sunday before Christmas, we will air a performance of Handel’s Messiah in its entirety.

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

Photo: Chanticleer/Lisa Kohler

On December 20 we observe the birthday of Japanese-born British pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida. Besides appearing with most major orchestras and making dozens of recordings, Ms. Uchida is also Artistic Director of the Marlboro Music Festival.

Photos: Richard Avedon & Marco Borggreve


Saturday, December 19, 2020

The 11th annual edition of Lullabies and Carols airs this morning at 11 a.m. Lullabies and Carols is an oasis of calm for you in the midst of the holiday season. Quire Cleveland, The Cathedral Singers, and the Utah State University Chamber Singers, and more sing music by John Rutter, Morten Lauridsen, and Philip Stopford. Rob Kennedy hosts. You can hear Lullabies and Carols again on Sunday, December 20 at 10 p.m., Tuesday, December 22 at 8 p.m., and Friday, December 25 at 3 a.m. Eastern.  Here is the playlist.

Merry Christmas from all of us at The Classical Station!

Photo: Poinsettia by Frank Vincentz on Wikipedia.org

On December 19 we observe the birthdays of French composer Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749), Hungarian-born American conductor Fritz Reiner (1888-1963), and American-born French conductor William Christie (1944-).

Organist of Eglise Saint Sulpice in Paris, Monsieur Clérambault left us compositions for keyboards, as well as many sacred and secular choral works. Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra before becoming music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1953-1962. Educated at Harvard and Yale, William Christie emigrated to France in the 70s where he founded the highly-regarded early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants.

Photos: Portrait of  Louis-Nicolas Clérambault by Louis-Simon Lempereur, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; Fritz Reiner/United Artists/Federal Films, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; William Christie/Chris Christodoulou/BBC


Friday, December 18, 2020

On December 18 we observe the birthdays of French piano maker Camille Pleyel (1788-1855), American composer Edward MacDowell (1860-1908), Swiss conductor Edmond de Stoutz (1820-1997), and English conductor William Boughton (1948-).

Joseph Étienne Camille Pleyel inherited the family piano-making business which supplied pianos to Frederic Chopin, among others. Edward MacDowell left us over sixty compositions even though he died at the young age of 48. Besides composing, he was well-known as a concert pianist and teacher. de Stoutz was the founder of the Zürcher Kammerorcheste. William Boughton is currently the Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and is on the faculty of the Yale School of Music. He has guest-conducted most of the world’s major orchestras.

Photos: William Boughton/S.M. Cooper; Camille Pleyel, Edward MacDowell/Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; Edmond de Stoutz/Author Unknown on German Wikipedia.org


Thursday, December 17, 2020

We have some special holiday programming for you today at 1 p.m. Join George Douglas for A Renaissance Christmas. This program repeats on Saturday at 7 a.m. and Wednesday, December 22 at 11 a.m.

Photo: Painting of Mary with Child by Joos van Cleve, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Domenico Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto. Il Matrimonio Segreto takes place in eighteenth-century Bologna. Paolino (tenor Ryland Davies) has secretly married Carolina (soprano Arleen Auger), the younger daughter of the prosperous merchant Geronimo (baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau). Their situation is complicated by Carolina’s aunt Fidalma (mezzo-soprano Julia Hamari), who has the hots for Paolino, and by the arrival of an Englishman, Count Robinson (bass Alberto Rinaldi), who—although engaged to Geronimo’s elder daughter Elisetta (soprano Julia Varady)—falls in love with Carolina. After much scheming and amorous intrigue, the truth about Paolino and Carolina’s secret marriage is finally revealed, and everyone lives happily ever after! Daniel Barenboim conducts the English Chamber Orchestra in this 1977 recording.

This opera comes from the archives of the late Al Ruocchio who hosted Opera House from 1980-2007. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m.

Photo: Author Unknown/Opera World

On December 17 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) and American conductor Arthur Fiedler (1894-1979). Signor Cimarosa wrote over eighty operas. Boston native Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra for more than fifty years.

Photos: Arthur Fiedler/RCA Victor Records, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; Domenico Cimarosa/Etching by Anton Wachsmann, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Have you visited our Virtual Art Exhibit yet? While we all miss visiting museums and art galleries and being able to stand before some work of art wondering what the artist was trying to say, our virtual art exhibit allows you to inspect dozens of works of art from your computer, smartphone, or tablet.  What’s very special about this exhibit is that all of the works were inspired by classical music. Thank you to everybody who participated. Enjoy!

On December 16 we observe the birthdays of Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967), American organist and organ builder Robert Noehren (1910-2002), English harpsichordist, and conductor Trevor Pinnock (1946-), and German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).

Besides being a composer, Zoltán Kodály was a teacher. His Kodály Method still enjoys popularity among music teachers worldwide. Dr. Robert Noehren was for many years University Organist and Head of the Organ Department at the University of Michigan. Trevor Pinnock has been a pioneer in the field of early music since his student days at the Royal College of Music. Happy 75th birthday, Dr. Pinnock! Scholars can find no record of Beethoven’s birth on December 16 although they do agree that he was baptized on December 17, 1770. Regardless of that bit of trivia, Beethoven composed some of the greatest music ever written.

Photos: Zoltán Kodály/Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; Robert Noehren/Author unknown; Trevor Pinnock/Gerard Collett; Beethoven in 1815 portrait by Joseph Willibrord Mähler/Public DOmain on Wikipedia.org


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

This year the world marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, a tragic figure whose towering accomplishments forever changed the course of music. His compositions embody the best of qualities of mankind—freedom, dignity, and heroism in the face of adversity.

We’ll spend three days celebrating the music of Beethoven, culminating on the presumed day of his birth with his stirring Symphony no. 9 in D Minor. Among the wide range of recordings that we’ll play are Quatuor Ébène’s Beethoven Around the World, Stephen Hough’s Beethoven: The Piano Concertos, and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies.

Photo: WCPE Photo Services

On December 15 we observe the birthdays of French composer Michel Richard Delalande (1657-1726) and Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas (1905-2000). A contemporary of Jean-Baptiste Lully and François Couperin, Baroque composer Michel Delalande was employed by King Louis XIV. Ferenc Farkas wrote music in several forms including music for the stage. One of his students was the composer György Ligeti,

Photos: Michel Richard Delalande/Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; Ferenc Farkas/CC BY-SA 3.0 on Wikipedia.org


Monday, December 14, 2020

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony is an all-Beethoven edition, as we celebrate the first night of Beethovenfest on The Classical Station.  We’ll hear performances by the Philharmonia Orchestra, violinist Midori and pianist Stephen Hough.  The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Stephen Hough/Andrew Crowley

The December edition of Renaissance Fare will visit several European countries to hear the sounds of Christmas during the 1400s and 1500s. Many beautiful holiday tunes and hymns were written during the Renaissance period. Join George Douglas this evening at 7:00 p.m.

Photo: Wikipedia.org

On December 14 we observe the birthdays of English composer Capel Bond (1730-1790), American composer Ron Nelson (1929-), American pianist Rosalyn Turek (1914-2003), and American classical guitarist Christopher Parkening (1947-).

Capel Bond composed several works for strings which are still played to this day. Dr. Nelson is known as a versatile composer. His works for wind ensemble and band are highly-regarded. Rosalyn Turek was well-known for her interpretations of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach. A virtuoso classical guitarist, Christopher Parkening is the Distinguished Professor of Music and Chair of the Guitar Department at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Photos: Rosalyn Turek/Keith Saunders on WIkipedia.org; Christopher Parkening/Christian Steiner; Capel Bond/PD on Wikipedia.org; Ron Nelson on ronnelson.info