This Week At The Classical Station

Photo by Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, March 14, 2021

This evening on Wavelengths we continue our Women’s History Month feature with works written by Stefania de Kenessey, Arlene Sierra, and Thea Musgrave. We’ll also hear new music by Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds.

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

This evening on Preview!, we’ll hear music that’s taking the classical world by storm, sung by the Poor Clare Sisters Arundel. Rob Kennedy speaks with New York Times Chief Classical Music Critic Anthony Tommasini about the life and work of composer Virgil Thomson. Violinist Gil Shaham plays Brahms with the Brooklyn ensemble, The Knights, and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor plays the music of Franz Liszt.

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

Photo: Poor Clares Arundel

This afternoon the March edition of Renaissance Fare features the music of the royal courts of Europe. Music became more accessible to the common person during the Renaissance, but the great palaces and churches were the primary source of great musicians and composers.  Get out your shawms and tabrets and join George Douglas for Renaissance Fare at 5 p.m.

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


Richard Danielpour
Photo ⓒ Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the St. Olaf Choir,  and New York Polyphony. Also on the playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Salomone Rossi, and Richard Danielpour.

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


On March 14 we observe the birthdays of German composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), and Austrian composer Johann Strauss (1804-1849).

A prolific composer, Herr Telemann was a friend of Johann Sebastian Bach and godfather to his son Carl Philipp Emmanuel. Besides composing waltzes and popularizing that genre, Herr Strauss is well-known for another piece, namely, the Radetzky March.

Photos: Georg Philipp Telemann, after a lost painting by Ludwig Michael Schneider (1750), Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons; Lithograph of Johann Strauss, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons. Both photographic reproductions are considered to be in the public domain in the United States.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

A compelling soundtrack is a large part of what makes a film great. We’ll feature the music that has enriched your cinematic experience, including classical favorites used in beloved movies and music written specifically for the silver screen. Make some popcorn and settle in for a great weekend with composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, and John Williams.

Photo: Fox Movietone Camera, Fox Corporation, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The 2020-21 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart’s timeless comedy about the feud between the classes and the sexes. This encore broadcast from 2018 features an outstanding ensemble cast. Bass Ildar Abdrazakov starred as the quick-witted valet Figaro opposite soprano Nadine Sierra as his equally resourceful bride, the maid Susanna. Soprano Ailyn Pérez sang the Countess Almaviva with baritone Mariusz Kwiecien as the philandering Count, and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard was the perpetually love-sick pageboy Cherubino. Harry Bicket led the Met Orchestra and Chorus in this sparkling musical masterpiece.

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

Photo: Scene from Le Nozze di Figaro by Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera

On March 13 we observe the birthday of English composer Helen Glatz (1908-1996). Ms. Glatz was a student of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music where her classmates were Benjamin Britten, Imogen Holst, and Elizabeth Lutyens, among others.

Photo: Unknown Author, on Dartington Trust.

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Mozart’s Il Nozze de Figaro, Saturday, March 13, 1 p.m. Eastern

On March 12 we observe the birthdays of English composer Thomas Arne (1710-1778) and French composer Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911).

Thomas Arne is best known for Rule Britannia! and God Save The Queen. Monsieur Guilmant was Organiste Titulaire de l’Église de la Trinité in Paris from 1871-1901. He also was Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatoire.

Photo: Portrait of Thomas Arne by Robert Dunkarton, National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons; Photo of Alexandre Guilmant by A. Dupont, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Have you discovered our Conversations With Conductors? In these conversations distinguished musicians such as JoAnn Falletta, Karina Canellakis, William Henry Curry, Sir Stephen Cleobury, Nicholas McGegan, and many more, talk about their early years and education, their art, and much more. These musicians love what they do and are most eager to share their art with everybody. Let your family and friends know about these conversations which they can listen to or download anytime.

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents a studio recording of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. First heard on Christmas Eve 1871 in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo, Verdi had six months to work on the score once the contract was signed, but it took him only four to complete it. Camille du Locle drafted a complete libretto in French, but Verdi insisted that the opera be in Italian, so he hired Antonio Ghislanzoni to translate the text.

Du Locle’s libretto was based on a story written by August Mariette, a French Egyptologist. Mariette had suggested to the Khedive of Egypt that his story would make a great opera to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal, but by the time Verdi acquired the synopsis in the spring of 1870, the Canal had already been open for several months.

Aida (soprano Anja Harteros), an Ethiopian slave to Amneris (soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk), daughter of the Pharaoh, is emotionally torn by her love for the general Radamès (tenor Jonas Kaufmann) when he’s named commander of an Egyptian campaign against Ethiopia. Amneris is also in love with Radamès and tricks Aida into revealing her true feelings. The victorious Radamès returns in triumph and is rewarded with Amneris’s hand. Disguised among the prisoners is Aida’s father Amonasro (baritone Ludovic Tézier), the Ethiopian king. He persuades his daughter to wheedle out of Radamès the route of the next military campaign against his country. Radamès’ inadvertent betrayal is overheard and Ramfis (bass Erwin Schrott) and the priests condemn him to be buried alive. In love with her country’s enemy to the end, Aida joins Radamès in the tomb.

Sir Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the National Academy of Saint Cecilia in this 2015 Warner Classics recording, CD number 552766. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Bob Chapman hosts.

Photo: Triumphal Scene from Aida by Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera

Today we observe the birthday of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). Piazzolla studied with Nadia Boulanger and was well-known for infusing the traditional tango with classical music and jazz to create a form he called nuevo tango.

Photo: Astor Piazzolla in 1971 by Galego, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, March 10, 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 March 10 we observe the birthdays of Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), American composer Dudley Buck (1839-1909), Swiss composer Arthur Honegger (1892-1955), and English conductor Sir Charles Groves (1915-1992).

A virtuoso violinist whose musical prowess astounded audiences of the time, Pablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascués composed music mainly to show off his prodigious technique. A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Dudley Buck composed music, wrote several books about music and was an organist. Although born in Switzerland, Monsieur Honegger spent most of his life in Paris, France. Sir Charles Groves spent fifteen years as director of the Royal Liverpool Orchestra.

Photos: Photo of Pablo de Sarasate, 1906, Unknown Author, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons; Photo of Dudley Buck, Unknown Author, Library of Congress, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons; German stamp showing Arthur Honegger, Fair Use, WikiMedia Commons; Photo of Sir Charles Groves, Unknown Author, Fair Use, Divine Art, WikiMedia Commons

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

On March 9 we observe the birthdays of two American musicians: composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981) and conductor Thomas Schippers.

A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Samuel Barber attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Maestro Schippers attended the Curtis Institute and the Julliard School. He made his debut as a conductor with the New York City Opera at the age of 21. He was only 47 years old when he died.

Photos: 32¢ United States Stamp of Samuel Barber issued September 12, 1997; Photo of Thomas Schippers, Unknown Author, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, on Alchetron

Monday, March 8, 2021

We observe International Women’s Day here at The Classical Station by celebrating the achievements of women performers, composers, and conductors. We have an extensive collection of conversations with distinguished musicians for you to enjoy.  You can find them on our Conversations page. Here’s a sampling of the artists who await you there. Click the link below each photo to hear our conversation with that musician.

Photos: Carr-Petrova by David Beyda; JoAnn Falletta by Cheryl Gorski; Ofra Harnoy by Denise Grant; Barbara Harbach courtesy of; Gail Archer by Stephanie Berger

This evening Monday Night At The Symphony features the Seattle Symphony Orchestra which was founded in 1903.  On the program is music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leopold Mozart, Gabriel Fauré, Alan Hovhaness, and Carl Nielsen with conductors Gerad Schwartz, Ludovic Morlot, and current music director Thomas Dausgaard.

Photo: SSO by Brandon Patoc

This evening the March edition of Renaissance Fare features the music of the royal courts of Europe. Music became more accessible to the common person during the Renaissance, but the great palaces and churches were the primary source of great musicians and composers.  Get out your shawms and tabrets and join George Douglas for Renaissance Fare at 7 p.m.

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

On March 8 we observe the birthdays of German composer Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach (1714-1788), American composer Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000), and Spanish guitarist Pepe Romero (1944-).

The second son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach, Herr Bach wrote music that bridged the baroque style in which his father wrote and the classical style which followed. As a side-bar, this radio station has the call letters WCPE. That was not by design, but sheer luck, as the FCC assigns call letters arbitrarily. Naturally, we couldn’t have been happier with the assigned call letters and their association with Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. A native of Somerville, Massachusetts, Alan Vaness Chakmakjian was one of the 20th-century’s most prolific composers with over 500 works to his credit. Señor Romero has appeared with most of the world’s great orchestras as a soloist. This legendary musician comes from a family of brilliant guitarists which we collectively refer to as The Romeros.

Photos: Portrait of C.P.E. Bach by Franz Conrad Löhr, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Photo of Alan Hovhaness by George Ruhe; Photo of Pepe Romero by Antón Goiri