This Week At The Classical Station

Spring Membership Drive 2021

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, March 28, 2021

This morning on Great Sacred Music we are asking for your support of The Classical Station on the last day of our Spring Membership Drive. Our playlist includes music sung by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Gloriae Dei Cantores, Kantorei, and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Sir Michael Tippett, and Henry Purcell. We have a Thank You Gift of music by American composer Jake Runestad. Sing Wearing The Sky can be yours for a donation of $10 per month.

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

Photo: Sing Wearing The Sky courtesy of Naxos

On March 28 we observe the birthday of Dutch conductor Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951), English composer and organist Sir William Harris (1873-1973), Bohemian-born pianist Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991), and American bass Samuel Ramey (1942-).

While Maestro Mengelberg was primarily associated with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, he found time to conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1921-1930. Sir William Harris was Organist of Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor from 1933-1951. Besides being a famous pianist of his generation, Mr. Serkin was associated with two major American institutions, the Marlboro Festival, and the Curtis Institute. Acclaimed for his roles as Faust in the Gounod and Boito operas, Samuel Ramey is currently Distinguished Professor of Opera at Wichita State University’s School of Music.

Photos: Willem Mengelberg, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Sir William Henry Harris, Unknown Author, Fair Use (The photo is only being used for informational purposes), Wikimedia Commons; Rudolf Serkin, Bilsen, Joop van/Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Wikimedia Commons; Samuel Ramey, Christian Steiner

Saturday, March 27, 2021

This evening we observe the beginning of Passover with a special program of music at 6 p.m. Eastern. Theodore Bikel and The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble have teamed up to tell and sing the Passover story, providing a seamless, thoroughly entertaining recording that illuminates the Passover themes.

“The music is an eclectic compilation of songs and compositions from many sources reflecting the tremendous diversity of Jewish cultures. Selections include Hebrew folk melodies, classical European liturgical music, ancient Sephardic chants, Klezmer-style improvisations, and traditional songs from the Seder, including the ‘adopted’ song of slavery, the Negro spiritual ‘Go Down Moses’ – all sung with the superb musicianship and zest that are hallmarks of Western Wind performances.” —Miami Jewish Journal

Rabbi Amy Feder of Temple Israel, Saint Louis, Missouri, will offer a greeting. Happy Pesach!

Photo: Eczebulun on Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0

The 2020-21 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Mozart’s gripping morality tale Don Giovanni in an encore broadcast from 2012. Bass-baritone Gerald Finley starred in the title role as the charismatic and notorious Don Juan. Soprano Marina Rebeka was Donna Anna, the noblewoman who swears vengeance on Giovanni, and tenor Matthew Polenzani was her dutiful fiancé Don Ottavio. Soprano Ellie Dehn sang Donna Elvira and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard was the peasant girl Zerlina, two more of Giovanni’s victims, and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel was the Don’s hectored servant Leporello. Andrew Davis conducted the Met Orchestra and Chorus in a musical masterpiece that balances on a knife-edge between drama and comedy.

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

Photo:  Gerald Finley as the title character and Bryn Terfel as Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

On March 27 we observe the birthdays of French composer Vincent D’Indy (1851-1931), American composer Ferde Grofé (1892-1972), and Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007).

A student of Cesar Franck, Paul Marie Théodore Vincent d’Indy taught Darius Milhaud, Cole Porter, Albert Roussel, and Erik Satie among others. Ferdinand Rudolph von Grofé came from a very musical family. He was well-known in the 20s and 30s as the arranger for the Paul Whiteman Band. One of the 20th-century’s greatest cellists, Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich was also highly-regarded as a conductor.

Photos: Vincent D’Indy, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Ferde Grofe, Bain News Service, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Vyatkin, RIA Novosti, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Friday, March 26, 2021

From Brilliant Classics: “This 4-CD set brings together the most famous, beloved and iconic symphonic works, melodies which are engraved in the consciousness of everyone, the canon of classical music as the world knows it. Played by the prestigious and famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded in full digital sound. A must-have for both the seasoned connoisseur as well as the classical starter. The booklet notes include a detailed description of each work.”

Get this Thank You Gift featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra when you become a Sustaining Member of The Classical Station at the $12.50 a month level. Click your donation to us online, pop a check in the mail to The Classical Station, P.O. Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588. Thank you for your support.

Photo: Brilliant Classics

On March 26 we observe the birthdays of South Korean violinist Kyung Wha Chung (1948-) and French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez (1925-2016).

Besides being well-regarded for her recital performances and recordings, Ms. Chung has been on the faculty of The Julliard School since 2007. Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez was a champion of the music of the first half of the 20th-century. He also was in demand as a conductor with stints at the BBC Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.

Photo: Kyung Wha Chung by Benjamin Olivega; Pierre Boulez, Joost Evers on Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Recorded at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2019,  Delibes: Ballet Suites is another one of our curated Thank You Gifts we know you’ll want to add to your collection. Neeme Järvi conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in performances of  Suites from Sylvia, La Source, and Cappélia by Léo Delibes. Take it as a Thank You Gift for your Sustaining Membership of $15 per month.  Call us at 800-556-5178 or click a gift to us online.

Thank you for your support.

On March 25 we observe the birthdays of Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), Hungarian composer Béla Viktor János Bartók (1881-1945), and Czech conductor Zdeněk Košler (1928-1995).

Arguably one of the greatest conductors of the 20th-century, Maestro Toscanini was well-known for his work with the orchestra created especially for him, the NBC Symphony. What do Ralph Vaughan Williams and Béla Bartók have in common? Their love of folk music. Bartók was one of the first ethnomusicologists. Active in the latter half of the 20th-century, Maestro Košler was well-known for his opera performances.

Photos: Arturo Toscanini, Aime Dupont Studio, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Béla Bartók, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Zdeněk Košler, Unknown Author, Opera Slovakia

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Here’s what Presto Music had to say about one of our Thank You Gifts, Alison Balsom: Magic Trumpet: “Alison Balsom is a passionate and eloquent advocate for her instrument and its creative possibilities – and for cultivating a rich and diverse repertoire. Her phenomenal range as a virtuoso and an interpreter can be experienced to the full with Magic Trumpet. Embracing 20 pieces whose timeline runs from the splendour of the Baroque era to the popular idioms of the 20th century, Magic Trumpet confirms just why The Sunday Times has written: “The music is glorious; so is Balsom’s artistry.” This CD can be yours for a Sustaining Membership of $10 per month. Click a gift here on this website or call 800-556-5178.

Photo: Warner Classics

On March 24 we observe the birthdays of American pianist Byron Janis (1928-) Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau (1962-).

Byron Janis studied with Vladimir Horowitz. He is known for his interpretation of the music of Frederic Chopin. A distinguished violinist in her own right, Ms. Dubeau and La Pietá, the ensemble which she founded in 1997, are highly-acclaimed both in Canada and worldwide.

Photos: Ms. Dubeau/; Mr. Janis, Sol Hurok, Unknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

On Day 5 of our Spring Membership Drive 2021 we have a special Thank You Gift for your donation of $10 per month. Ultimate Classical Guitar is a five CD collection on the Decca label featuring guitarists Pepe Romero, Alexandre Lagoya, and Eduardo Fernandez performing favorite concertos by Joachin Rodrigo, Antonio Vivaldi and Mauro Giuliani. It also has works for solo guitar by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Antonio Lauro, Leo Brouwer, and Augustin Barrios, as well as a disc of flamenco classics.

Make your gift today by phoning 800-556-5178. If you choose to give online, please note in the “Additional Comments” field of the pledge form that you would like Ultimate Classical Guitar. Thank you for supporting The Classical Station!

On March 23 we observe the birthdays of German composer Julius Reubke (1834-1858), Austrian composer Franz Schreker (1878-1934), French composer Eugène Gigout (1844-1925), English composer Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986), and English mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker (1953-).

While Herr Reubke died very young at the age of 24, he will be forever remembered by organists for his monumental composition entitled Sonata on the 94th Psalm. Herr Schreker was known as an opera composer. A pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns, Monsieur Gigout was an organist who taught Léon Boëllmann and André Marchal among others. A prolific composer, Edmund Rubbra wrote 11 symphonies and many other works in a variety of genres. Active from the 50s to the 80s, Dame Janet Baker was highly regarded for her interpretations of baroque as well as contemporary music.

Photos: Julius Reubke, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Franz Shreker, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Eugène Gigout, Unknown Author,  Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Edmund Rubbra, Unknown Author, Classical Net; Dame Janet Baker, Unknown Author,

Monday, March 22, 2021

During our Spring Membership Drive, one of our Thank You Gifts is Songs of Comfort and Hope featuring acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Katherine Stott. From the SONY Classical website: “Ma and Stott mark the next chapter in the project with this new album, offering consolation and connection in the face of fear and isolation. The album includes 21 new recordings, which span modern arrangements of traditional folk tunes, canonical pop songs, jazz standards, and mainstays from the western classical repertoire. ‘Songs are little time capsules of emotions: they can contain long-lost dreams and desires, and feelings of great spirit, optimism, and unity,’ Ma and Stott write of Songs of Comfort and Hope. It can be yours for a gift of $12.50 per month. Call 800-556-5178 or give securely online.

Photo: SONY Classical

On March 22 we observe the birthdays of Scottish composer Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916), English humorist Gerard Hoffnung (1925-1959), and English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-).

Part of the Strauss dynasty, he and his brothers Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss composed much light music to entertain the good people of Vienna. A conductor as well as a composer, Hamish MacCunn studied briefly at the fledgling Royal College of Music. Gerard Hoffnung delighted audiences with his musical parodies and jokes. Baron Lloyd-Webber has written 13 musicals, a couple of film scores, and a requiem mass, among other works.

Photos: Lithograph of Hamish MacCunn, John Pettie, National Portrait Gallery, Wikimedia; Gerard Hoffnung, Unknown Author, Wikimedia Commons;  Andrew Lloyd Webber by Tracy Nolan, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons