This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller

Sunday, February 28, 2021

This evening on our final Wavelengths for Black History Month, we’ll hear music of American icon Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. We’ll also a tribute to Duke by Jeff Scott, and works by Hale Smith and Florence Beatrice Price.

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

José Serebrier
Photo courtesy of

This evening on Preview! Bulgarian violinist Liya Petrova performs a concerto attributed to Mozart. Rob Kennedy speaks with conductor José Serebrier about his CD, Last Tango Before Sunrise. Contralto Nathalie Stutzman sings music of Handel, and the Modigliani Quartet plays Haydn.

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


WIndow in Durham Cathedral

This week Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Cathedral Choir and Schola of St. Philip’s Cathedral, Atlanta, the Kansas City Chorale, and the Choir of First United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas. Also on the playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Theodore Dubois, and Jean Mouton.

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

Photo: The Last Supper by Mark Angus, Combe Down, Bath, courtesy Durham Cathedral & Jarold Printing

On February 28 we observe the birthdays of French composer Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825-1889) and American soprano Reri Grist (1932-).

A teacher as well as a composer, Monsieur Arban was the first virtuoso valved-trumpet player.  With her birthday tomorrow on February 29 if it were a leap year, Ms. Grist made her Metropolitan Opera debut on February 25, 1966. Happy 89th birthday!

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Arban, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons;  Reri Grist, Unknown Author, Alchetron


Saturday, February 27, 2021

This afternoon the 2020-21 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, a highlight from 2017. Soprano Renée Fleming starred as the glamorous and worldly Marschallin, making her final appearance in that signature role, and mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča bid farewell to the role of Octavian, the Marschallin’s much younger lover. The acclaimed cast also featured soprano Erin Morley as Sophie, who captures Octavian’s heart, and bass Günther Groissböck as the Marschallin’s insufferable cousin Baron Ochs, along with tenor Matthew Polenzani as the Italian Singer and baritone Marcus Brück as Faninal. Sebastian Weigle led the Met Orchestra and Chorus in this humorous and deeply moving opera that deals with the passage of time and the changes it brings.

The curtain goes up at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

On February 27 we observe the birthdays of English composer Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918), American contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993), Italian soprano Mirella Freni (1935-2020), and Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer (1947-).

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry is best known these days as the composer of the 1902 coronation anthem I was glad. One of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century, Ms. Anderson made history on April 9, 1939, when she sang before a crowd of 75,000 at the National Mall. Signora Freni performed on most of the world’s great opera stages during her long career. A student of David Oistrakh, Gidon Kremer has performed with many of the world’s top orchestras.

Photos: Photo of Sir Hubert Parry, Unknown Author, The Musical Quarterly, July 1919, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Marian Anderson by Carl Van Vechten, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Mirella Freni, Unknown Author, NPR; Photo of Gidon Kremer, Kasskara, ECM Records.

Friday, February 26, 2021

On February 26 we observe the birthdays of Czech-born French composer Anton Reicha (1770-1836), English composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941) and Russian pianist Lazar Berman (1930-2005).

A friend of Beethoven, Reicha also taught Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, and César Franck. Frank Bridge’s music is relatively unknown to this day. Berman was one of the great pianists of the 20th century.

Photos: Engraving of Anton Reicha by C. Constans, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons;  Illustrated London News 6 August 1921, p. 196. Credited to “Loeb”, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Lazar Berman, Unknown Author, Bach Cantatas.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.  After meeting Mélisande while hunting in the forest, Prince Golaud marries her and then introduces his new wife to his half-brother, Pelléas—and they promptly begin an adulterous relationship. Bob Chapman hosts. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern.

On February 25 we observe the birthdays of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) and Spanish conductor Jesús López-Cobos (1940-2018).

Signor Caruso was one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century. He made over 260 recordings and sang in many of the world’s great opera houses. Maestro López-Cobos was the director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Orquesta Nacional de España, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and the Teatro Real in Madrid.

Photos: Photo of Enrico Caruso in the Engravings and Photographs Division of the U.S. Library of Congress, Unknown Author, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Jesús López Cobos, Unknown Author  in obituary in TeleMadrid


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Our Spring 2021 Membership Drive will begin in a few weeks. The point of our membership drives is to encourage listeners to become supporting members of The Classical Station. Did you know that Angels help us achieve that objective? Well, yes, they do and have done so for many years. Our Angels are amazing listeners who will match your gift to encourage you to support this unique classical music radio station that you enjoy so much.

The way it works is very simple. For example, a listener in Virginia commits $600 to the membership drive. She tells us that she will match 5 contributions of $10 per month. So, once her angel match is met and 5 new members have become Sustaining Members at $10 per month, The Classical Station garners $600 from our Angel and another $600 from the 5 listeners who have become Sustaining Members at the $10 per month level.

Can you be an Angel during our Spring 2021 Membership Drive? Here’s how to make that happen: call Tanja Greaves here at the station and let her know that you want to be an Angel with your gift of $300 or more. You can reach Tanja at 800-556-5178 or email her.

If you prefer, you can become an Angel by making your gift of $300 or more online via our secure server. Just be sure to mention that you want to be an Angel in the Comments box. Or pop a check in the mail to WCPE The Classical Station, P.O. Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588. Thank you for inspiring other listeners to support The Classical Station. Don’t hesitate to call if you have questions.

Photo: Unknown Author, Angels Angelology

On February 24 we observe the birthdays of English composer Samuel Wesley (1766-1837), Italian soprano and opera director Renata Scotto (1934-), and Czech conductor Jiri Belohlávek (1946-2017). Son of Methodist hymn writer Charles Wesley, Samuel Wesley was both composer and performer. After her retirement from singing in 2002, Ms. Scotto has turned her attention to directing operas. Founder of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Belohlávek was the director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Photos: Portrait of Samuel Wesley by John Jackson, National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Ms. Scotto, Unknown Author, courtesy Piper Anselmi Artists Management; Photo of Jiri Belohlávek by Petra Hajska

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Music makes memories. Hearing our favorite pieces brings us back to those special times when we first heard the music of Bach or Beethoven or Brahms. We each can recall the effect that music had on us. That’s what we do here at The Classical Station. We program music which soothes you when the stress of everyday life gets to be too much. Our rousing overtures get you going during Rise and Shine in the morning. And we have been doing this since 1978 thanks to the support of thousands of listeners like you.

To make sure this marvelous legacy remains alive, please become a Sustaining Member. It’s simple to set up. Click the Donate button at the top of this page. Then choose the amount you wish to donate each month – $10, $15, $20 or whatever you decide to give. Fill in your contact information and payment information on our secure server. Don’t forget to choose a Thank You Gift while you are there. Your donation ensures that this legacy of great classical music continues to thrive here on The Classical Station. Please become a sustainer now. This classical music we play is counting on you.

On February 23 we observe the birthdays of English composer John Blow (1649-1708), German-born English composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), and American composer Elinor Remick Warren (1900-1991).

John Blow was a distinguished Baroque era composer who held the post of organist at Westminster Abbey, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and the Chapel Royal during his lifetime. A native of Germany who was educated in Italy, George F. Handel spent most of his life in his adopted country, England. He wrote over forty operas, over twenty oratorios, and vast amounts of chamber music. Handel is considered the epitome of a Baroque composer. A student of Nadia Boulanger, Elinor Remick Warren composed prolifically with over 200 compositions to her credit.

Photos: Engraving of John Blow by Charles Grignion the Elder, Gallica Digital Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Portrait of G.F. Handel by Balthasar Denner in National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; The Chandos Portrait of Georg Friedrich Händel, Unknown Author, Fitzwilliam Gallery, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Handel commemorative stamp issued by Guinea-Bissau in 2009; Photo of Elinor Remick Warren in 1961, Unknown Author, Hampsong Foundation

Monday, February 22, 2021

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.  On the program are works by George Gershwin, Zoltan Kodaly, and Sergei Prokofiev Prokofiev in works led by David Zinman, Sergiu Comissiona, and Marin Alsop. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to”Play The Classical Station.”

Photo: Marin Alsop conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Myerson Hall, 11/11/10. Photo by Chris Lee

On February 22 we observe the birthdays of German musicologist Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818), Danish composer Niels Gade (1817-1890) and French conductor Louis Auriacombe (1917-1982).

Herr Forkel wrote a biography of J.S. Bach and was one of the first musicologists. A composer of eight symphonies, Niels Gade studied in Liepzig where he was friends with Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann. Monsieur Auriacombe was one of the great French conductors of the 20th century.

Photos: Johann Niklaus Forkel by Carl Traugott Riedel, Gallica Digital Library,Public Domain on Wikimedia Commons; Portrait of Niels Gade, Danish composer. Original in Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, Denmark, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons