This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, June 21, 2020

This evening on Wavelengths, guitarist Sharon Isbin performs a concerto written for her by Chris Brubeck. Percussionist Evelyn Glennie plays music of Christos Hatzis, and we’ll hear works by Frank Ticheli and Libby Larsen. Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. With Hadyn Jones.

Photo: Sharon Isbin/J. Henry Fair

This evening on Preview! cellist Amit Peled joins the Aviv Quartet to perform music of Schubert. Rob Kennedy speaks with members of the Miró Quartet about  recording the complete Beethoven string quartets. Violinist Nicola Benedetti plays Elgar and Les Vents Francais play music of French composer George Onslow.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings and arts news each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern with David Jeffrey Smith.

Photo: Miro Quartet/

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, Libera, and the Leipzig Radio Chorus. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Carson Cooman, and George Frederic Handel.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music. Every Sunday morning. 8 a.m. Eastern. Right after Sing For Joy. With Naomi Lambert.

Photo: G.F. Handel/

On June 21 we observe the birthdays of German composer Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732-1795) and Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili (1987-). J.C.F. Bach was the fifth son of Johann Sebastian Bach. Ms. Buniatishvili records on the Sony Label.

Photos: Khatia Buniatishvili/J.L. Clendenin J.C.F. Bach/

Saturday, June 20, 2020

On June 20 we observe the birthdays of French composer Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880), Austrian pianist Ingrid Haebler (1929-), American composer Arthur Battelle Whiting (1861-1936), and American pianist André Watts (1946-). Monsieur Offenbach is best known for his operettas of which he wrote one hundred or so. Ms. Haebler was highly regarded for her recordings of Mozart and Schubert. She celebrates her 94th birthday today. Arthur Whiting studied with Joseph Rheinberger. Andre Watts teaches at Indiana University where he holds the Jack I. and Dora B. Hamlin Endowed Chair in Music.

Photos: Andre Watts/Indiana University; Others/

Friday, June 19, 2020

On June 19 we observe the birthday of Czech composer Johann Stamitz (1717-1757). Jan Václav Antonín Stamic was a composer who straddled the Baroque and Classical eras.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

An encore performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani (The Puritans), hosted by the late Al Ruocchio (1937-2007), will be heard on this week’s Thursday Evening Opera House. With a libretto by Carlo Pepoli, after Jacques Ancelot and Xavier Boniface Saintine’s Têtes Rondes et Cavalier, which was itself based on Sir Walter Scott’s Old Morality, the opera was first performed in Paris on January 25, 1835.

In mid-17th-century Plymouth, the Puritan governor Lord Gualtiero Valton (bass Nicolai Ghiaurov) has promised the hand of his daughter Elvira (soprano Joan Sutherland) to Sir Riccardo Forth (baritone Piero Cappuccilli). However, Elvira loves the royalist Lord Arturo Talbot (tenor Luciano Pavarotti) and Gualtiero consents to the match. On the wedding day, Arturo is given a pass to leave the castle with his bride. He discovers that Charles I’s widow Enrichetta di Francia (Anita Caminada) is held captive in the castle and uses his pass to let her escape, wearing Elvira’s bridal dress as a disguise. Sir Riccardo sees Arturo leaving with another woman, and the knowledge causes Elvira to go out of her mind. Returning later to see Elvira, Arturo is arrested and sentenced to death. However, news is brought of a Puritan victory and a general amnesty for all prisoners. Elvira regains her reason and is reunited with Arturo.

Richard Bonynge conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and the Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in this 1987 Decca/London recording, CD 417588.

Photo: Scene from the 2016-17 Metropolitan Opera production of I Puritani/Ken Howard/

On June 18 we observe the birthdays of Estonian composer and conductor Eduard Tubin (1905-1982) and Hungarian dramatic soprano Éva Marton (1943-). Maestro Tubin is largely known for his symphonies and use of folk music in his works. Ms. Marton was acclaimed for her Wagnerian roles.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

On June 17 we observe the birthdays of French composer Charles Gounod (1818-1893) and Russian-American composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971). Gounod is best known as a composer of operas of which he wrote twelve and an Ave Maria based on a Bach prelude. What perhaps is not as well known is that later in life, Gounod played the guitar. Stravinsky was supposed to be a lawyer. His studies with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov changed that career path.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

On June 16 we observe the birthdays of Bohemian cellist and composer David Popper (1843-1913), American dramatic soprano Helen Traubel (1899-1972), Austrian conductor and violinist Willi Boskovsky (1909-1991), and Romanian-Israeli-American Sergiu Comissiona (1928-2005). Popper was one of the last cellists to play the instrument without using an endpin. Ms. Traubel was highly regarded for her interpretation of Wagnerian roles. Boskovsky was famous for his Vienna New Year’s concerts. Among his other accomplishments, Maestro Comissiona established the Baltimore Symphony as a world-class orchestra during his tenure there from 1969.

Photos: Helen Traubel/Missouri History Museum; Wili Boskovsky/Vienna Philharmonic; Others/

Monday, June 15, 2020

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  On the program is music of Edvard Grieg, Kara Karayev, and Erich Korngold in performances led by Vernon Handley, Ronald Thomas, and current chief conductor Kirill Karabits. The program begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Ken Clifford

On June 15 we observe the birthdays of German composer Franz Danzi (1763-1826), Irish composer Charles Wood (1866-1926), and Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). A composer who bridged the Classical and Romantic periods, Danzi wrote music in a variety of genres. He was perhaps best known for his operas. Largely known these days for his choral works, Charles Wood taught Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells. Famous for his Piano Concerto which Franz Liszt helped him orchestrate, Edvard Grieg is considered one of the great Romantic era composers.