This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Ian B. Kennedy

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, April 4, 2021

This evening on Wavelengths Scottish percussionist Colin Currie performs the music of Austrian composer H.K. Gruber. Violinist Viktoria Mullova plays Arvo Pärt and flutist Demarre McGill plays the music of Marc-André Dalbavie.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

This evening on Preview! the Multipiano Ensemble plays music of Mozart for three pianos and orchestra. Elizabeth Elliott speaks to Hilary Hahn about her new album, Paris.

And we’ll hear works by Beethoven and Fauré. Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings, Sundays at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Hilary Hahn/Peter Miller

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music for Easter sung by the Choir of St. Thomas Church, New York, the Harvard University Choir, and the Bach Collegium Japan. Also on the playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Herbert Howells, and Hector Berlioz.

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 in Gloria Christi chapel below the apse of the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana by Runner1928,  CC-BY-SA-3.0, Wikimedia Commons

On April 4 we observe the birthdays of French conductor Pierre Monteux (1875-1964) and Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski (1972-).

During his lifetime Monsieur Monteux was the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, the San Francisco Symphony, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Among his other positions, Maestro Jurowski was Music Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera from 2001-2013.

Photos: Pierre Monteux, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Vladimir Jurowski, Roman Gontcharov

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The 2020-21 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Dvořák’s hauntingly beautiful fairy-tale Rusalka in an encore broadcast from 2014. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted a cast led by soprano Renée Fleming who starred in one of her signature roles as Rusalka, the water nymph who longs to become human. Tenor Piotr Beczała was the fickle Prince, and mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick was Ježibaba, the witch who grants Rusalka’s wish at an awful price. Bass John Relyea sang Rusalka’s father, the Water Gnome, and soprano Emily Magee was the jealous Foreign Princess.

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

Photo:  Renée Fleming by Andrew Eccles

On April 3 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and American pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

A student of Ildebrando Pizzetti, Signor Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote 100 works for the guitar. A native of New York, Garrick Ohlsson was the first American to win the International Chopin Competition. Listen to Garrick speak about his life and career as a performer in a conversation we recorded in 2020.

Photos: Garrick Ohlsson, Hart Hohlmann; Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Unknown Author,

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka, Saturday, April 3, 1 p.m. Eastern

On April 2 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Giacomo Ferrari (1763-1842), German composer Franz Lachner (1803-1890), and Italian composer Teodulo Mabellini (1817-1897).

A noted opera composer in his day, Signor Ferrari spent most of his professional career in England and France. A friend of Franz Schubert, Herr Lachner’s wrote several hundred works in a variety of genres. A colleague of the great Giuseppe Verdi, Signor Mabellini himself wrote nine operas.

Photos: Giacomo Ferrari, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Franz Lachner, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Teodulo Mabellini, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Common

Thursday, April 1, 2021

This evening on the Thursday Night Opera House, Bob Chapman presents Richard Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal. The vessel that was used to serve the wine at Jesus Christ’s Last Supper has been one of the supposed subjects of Holy Grail literature in Christian mythology. The quest for the Holy Grail makes up an important segment of the Arthurian cycle, combining Christian lore with a Celtic myth of a cauldron endowed with special powers. The early Grail romances centered on Percival, who, in the hands of Wagner, evolved into Parsifal. Parsifal was described by Wagner as a Bühnenweihfestspiel (stage consecration festival play).

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Listen on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, streaming everywhere on our apps and online. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

Photo:  Metropolitan Opera/Ken Howard

On April 1 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1824) and Russian-born American composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

A virtuoso concert pianist and teacher in his day, Signor Busoni is mostly remembered in our time for his transcriptions of various Bach works. Can you imagine Vladimir Horowitz playing Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto? Well, it happened!

Photos: Photograph of Ferruccio Busoni, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Sergei Rachmaninoff, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

On March 31 we observe the birthday of Austrian composer Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809). ClassicFM states it succinctly: “Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. Haydn wrote 107 symphonies in total, as well as 83 string quartets, 45 piano trios, 62 piano sonatas, 14 masses, and 26 operas, amongst countless other scores.”

Photo: Portrait by Ludwig Guttenbrunn, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Postage stamp issued by Hungary in 1959, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Franz Joseph Haydn

Tuesday, March 30. 2021

The number of composers represented on our playlists every day is quite remarkable. We program over 100 pieces of music every day. Some are short pieces especially during Rise and Shine and Allegro. Others are long works, such as you hear during Classical Cafe, As You Like It, and Concert Hall. But notice that we don’t play only Beethoven or Brahms or Bach. Neither do we play only Baroque music or Romantic music.

They say that variety is the spice of life. And so it is with our programming. Thank you for supporting us during our recent Spring Membership Drive. If you haven’t sent in your donation, please do so here online or call us anytime. 800-556-51-78.

On March 30 we observe the birthdays of Austrian cantor and composer Salomon Sulzer (1804-1890) and Russian composer Sergei Vasilenko (1872-1956).

Salomon Sulzer is perhaps best known for arranging traditional Hebrew chants with modern harmonies. A Professor at the Moscow Conservatory, Sergei Nikiforovich Vasilenko taught Aram Katchaturian among others.

Photos: Salomon Sulzer, Unknown Author, Public Domain U.S., Wikimedia Commons; Sergei Vasilenko, Author Unknown, Toccata Classics

Monday, March 29, 2021

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Photo copyright Nick Rutter

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony presents an evening with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, based in London. On the program is music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Ernest Chausson, and Sir William Walton in performances led by André Previn, Andrew Litton, and Jac van Steen.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

On March 29 we observe the birthdays of English composer Sir William Walton (1902-1983) and English organist E. Power Biggs (1906-1977).

Sir William Walton was one of the most important 20th-century British composers.  English-born E. Power Biggs was a prominent concert organist who was very active in the middle of the 20th-century.

Photos: Sir William Walton, Unknown Author, The Walton Trust; E. Power Biggs, GiovanniScuola, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons