This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Male Marie Muller

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, February 14, 2021

This evening on Wavelengths, we’ll hear a Jennifer Higdon composition inspired by three great American painters. For Black History Month we’ll feature a concerto by David N. Baker. And on her birthday, Renee Fleming sings music of Bjork.

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

Photo: J. Henry Fair

This evening on Preview! Israeli conductor Lahav Shani leads the Rotterdam Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Elizabeth Elliott speaks with French guitarist Thibaut Garcia about his recording Aranjuez. We’ll hear a work by Brahms for viola and piano, and the Catalyst Quartet plays music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings, Sundays at 6 p.m. Eastern. With Steve Thebes.

Photo: Luis Castilla

Get out your shawms and tabrets! This evening Renaissance Fare presents its annual tribute to Valentine’s Day.  Most of the music featured on the program will be from 16th-century France and England including French chansons from the Scholars of London and soulful music from the popular English composer John Dowland. Also on the program are the Julian Bream Consort and the Folger Consort.

Renaissance Fare begins this afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. With George Douglas.

Photo: From a drawing in ‘Cassell’s Library of English Literature’, Henry Morley, 1883, on iconspng.com

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by The Nordic Choir of Luther College, Anonymous 4, and The Choirs of Saint Paul’s Parish, K Street; Washington, DC. Also on the playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Gerald Near, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

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

Photo: Stained glass window in Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, by Elliott Brown on Flickr CC by 2.0

On February 14 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676), Swiss conductor Michel Corboz (1934-), and American soprano Renée Fleming.

Signor Cavalli’s real name was Pietro Francesco Caletti-Bruni. He wrote over forty operas, as well as some splendid polychoral sacred music. Celebrating his 85th birthday today, Maître Corboz founded the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne. A Fulbright Scholar, Ms. Fleming studied with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf among other notable teachers. She has graced the stages of most of the world’s great opera houses.

Photos: Engraving of Francesco Cavalli in Enciclopedia italiana di scienze, lettere ed arti, éd. Istituto Giovanni Trecani, Unknown Author, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; Michael Corboz, Eigenes Werk, CC by SA 3.0 on Wikipedia.org; Ms. Fleming/Andrew Eccles


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Joyce DiDonato

The 2020-21 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Cendrillon, Jules Massenet’s elegant and witty take on the Cinderella tale. This encore broadcast from 2018 stars mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role opposite mezzo-soprano Alice Coote as Prince Charming. Soprano Kathleen Kim sang Cendrillon’s Fairy Godmother, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe was her overbearing stepmother Madame de la Haltière, and bass-baritone Laurent Naouri sang Cendrillon’s beleaguered father Pandolfe. Bertrand de Billy led the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

The curtain goes up at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

On February 13 we observe the birthday of Spanish composer Fernando Sor (1778-1839). Known as a virtuoso performer, Fernando Sor o Josep Ferran Sorts i Muntades also found time to write over one hundred compositions in a variety of genres.

Photo: Fernando Sor by Godfrey Engelmann, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org


Friday, February 12, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Massenet’s Cendrillon, Saturday, February 13, 1 p.m. Eastern

On February 12 we observe the birthday of Czech composer Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812). Besides being a prolific composer, Jan Dussek was highly regarded as a virtuoso pianist. He was also a much sought-after teacher.

Photo: Hyperion Records UK, Unknown Author


Thursday, February 11, 2021

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents two works by American composer Leonard Bernstein: On the Town & West Side Story. On a 24-hour leave in New York City, three sailors meet and connect with three women. In a modern Romeo and Juliet story, a Puerto Rican woman, Maria, falls in love with a “real” American, Tony.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Bob Chapman hosts.

Photo of Leonard Bernstein by Jack Mitchell

On February 11 we observe the birthdays of Scottish conductor Sir Alexander Gibson (1926-1995), Czech-born American pianist Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994), and English organist Christopher Dearnley (1930-2000). Sir Alexander Drummond Gibson was the conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra from 1959-1984. Rudolf Firkušný studied with legendary pianists Alfred Cortot and Artur Schnabel. Christopher Dearnley was organist of Salisbury Cathedral and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Photos: Photo of Sir Alexander Gibson, Unknown Author on Florentschmitt.com; Rudolf Firkušný, Unknown Author on Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; Christopher Dearnley, Unknown Author on Composer For Organ


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

On February 10 we observe the birthdays of American soprano Leontyne Price (1927-) and American composer Peter Boyer (1970-)

Laurel, Mississippi native Leontyne Price was highly-regarded as a lyrico-spinto soprano until her retirement in 1985. Over 125 of her recordings are available. A graduate of The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, Peter Boyer is known for his film scores.

Photo of Ms. Price by Jack Mitchell; Mr. Boyer by Danika Singfield, CC BY-SA 4.0 on Wikipedia.org


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

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Valentine’s Day By Advance Request
Sunday, February 14, 12 noon until 5 p.m. Eastern
Make a classical music request in honor of your sweetie. We’ll play as many requests as we can from noon until 5:00 p.m. Because we have only 5 hours to fill, we encourage you to ask for shorter works or single movements. Submit your request by February 10 to make sure we can play it for you.

On February 9 we observe the birthdays of English composer and founder of the Royal School of Church Music, Sir Sydney Nicholson (1875-1947), Austrian composer Alban Berg (1885-1935) and Welsh organist and choral conductor George Guest (1924-2002).

Sir Sydney Nicholson was organist of Westminster Abbey and founder of the School of English Church Music which later became the Royal School of Church Music. A proponent of the 12-tone compositional technique, Alban Berg is best known to 21st-century audiences for his operas Wozzeck and Lulu. Director of the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, from 1951-1991, George Guest made the Choir one of the most renowned in the world.

Photo: Photo of Sir Sydney Nicholson, Unknown Author on FindaGrave.com; Photo of George Guest, Author Unknown on Singers.com; Photo of Alban Berg, Unknown Author on OnMusic Dictionary,com

Monday, February 8, 2021

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  On the program are works by Hector Berlioz, Luis Enríquez Bacalov, and Ottorino Respighi in performances led by Marek Janowski, Lorin Maazel, and current musical director Manfred Honeck.

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

Photo: pittsburghsymphony.org

Get out your shawms and tabrets! This evening Renaissance Fare presents its annual tribute to Valentine’s Day.  Most of the music featured on the program will be from 16th-century France and England including French chansons from the Scholars of London and soulful music from the popular English composer John Dowland. Also on the program are the Julian Bream Consort and the Folger Consort.

Renaissance Fare begins this evening at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: From a drawing in ‘Cassell’s Library of English Literature’, Henry Morley, 1883, on iconspng.com

On February 8 we observe the birthdays of French composer André Ernest Modeste Grétry (1741-1813), Polish-born American pianist and teacher Artur Balsam (1906-1994), and American composer John Williams (1932-).

A student of Galuppi and Pergolesi in Rome, Monsieur Grétry composed over fifty operas. Artur Balsam was a distinguished teacher whose students included Emmanuel Ax and Murray Perahia. While serving in the Air Force, John Williams conducted the United States Air Force Band. He also studied at Julliard. Mr. Williams has written some of the most memorable film scores ever.

Photos: Portrait of André Ernest Modeste Grétry by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Public Domain on Wikipedia.org; Photo of Artur Balsam, Unknown Author on Primephonic;  Photo of John Williams by Alex McNayr, CC BY-SA 2.0 on Wikipedia.org