This Week At The Classical Station
by Rob Kennedy
Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana
by Rob Kennedy
Friday, September 17, 2021
Music and dance have been inextricably linked throughout history. This partnership reaches some of its greatest heights in the world of ballet. This weekend you can hear full-length performances of some of the ballets by Peter Tchaikovsky, Léo Delibes, Adolphe Adam, and Sergei Prokofiev, as well as highlights from other ballets each day.
Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”
Photo courtesy of Carolina Ballet Credit: Russ Howe
Grammy Award-winning composer Christopher Tin gained international recognition and acclaim for Baba Yetu which he composed for the game Civilization I. We spoke with Christopher about his education and his work as a composer. You can find this conversation and more on our Conversations With Composers page.
Giuseppe Saverio Raffaele Mercadante was a composer of operas who never enjoyed the fame of his younger colleagues Donizetti and Bellini. He wrote over 50 operas, only a handful of which are performed or recorded these days. Elmira, New York native Charles Griffes studied in Berlin. His music was written in what might best be described as an American impressionistic style. Professor Andriessen composed over 60 works and was instrumental in revitalizing Roman Catholic church music in The Netherlands.
Photo: Charles Griffes, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Our mission since 1978 has been to share our love of classical music with our listeners everywhere. That’s why you’ll hear our announcers mention something about the music you are about to hear. Those little 20 or 30 second factoids are perfect for our listening experience because we want less talk and more music. On the other hand, hearing what performers think about the music they play or who they studied with is fascinating. Above all, it’s downright inspiring.
Our Conversations pages offer you dozens of interviews with conductors, singers, and instrumentalists. Download them or listen to them on our app.
This evening the Thursday Night opera House presents Camille Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila. Loosely based on the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, it’s notable for its superb choruses, lavish spectacle, and sensuous beauty of Dalila’s music. Samson (tenor Placido Domingo) leads a successful Hebrew revolt against the Philistines. Prompted by the High Priest of Dagon (baritone Alain Fondary), Dalila (mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier) robs Samson of his power by cutting off his hair.
The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Bob Chapman hosts. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”
On September 16 we observe the birthday of Hildegard von Bingen, OSB. This 12th-century genius was a Benedictine abbess. She was also a prolific writer and composer whose music we play from time to time on Great Sacred Music and Peaceful Reflections. Dr. von Bingen was a polymath or someone who is well-versed in a variety of subjects, a renaissance woman if you will.
Photo: Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
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This evening at 6 p.m. Eastern we mark the beginning of Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, with a special program of music performed by the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble. Rabbi Marc Cohn of Temple Emmanuel, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, will introduce the program.
Photo: Yom Kippur courtesy of Congregation Keneseth Israel, Allentown, Pennsylvania
On September 15 we observe the birthdays of American composer Horatio Parker (1863-1919), German conductor Bruno Walter (1876-1962), Spanish conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (1933-2014), and American soprano Jessye Norman (1945-2019).
Dr. Parker established the music curriculum at Harvard University and was a director of the New England Conservatory of Music. Herr Walter was one of the great conductors of the 20th century. He lived in the United States from 1939 until his death. Señor Frühbeck de Burgos was the music director of several orchestras including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony. GRAMMY-award winning soprano Jessye Norman appeared in most of the world’s great opera houses in the course of her career.
Photo: Ms. Norman by Carole Friedman
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
September 14 is the birthday of composer Michael Haydn, the lesser-known but still quite accomplished younger brother of Franz Josef Haydn. It’s also a great day to feature other famous sibling composers and performers in the classical music world including the Bachs, Johann Christoph Friedrich, Carl Philip Emmanuel, and Johann Christian; the Mendelssohns, Felix and Fanny; and the Mozarts, Wolfgang and Nanerl. In our modern classical music world, the Labèque sisters, Gil and Orli Shaham, Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber, and the sensational Kanneh-Mason family enrich our lives with their wonderful playing. Today’s playlist tells you when performances by these talented siblings will air.
As his older brother Josef had done, Michael Haydn got his musical start as a boy chorister at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. Haydn composed over 360 works in a variety of forms. His sacred choral works were highly regarded. Monsieur Cherubini was born in Italy but spent most of his life in France. With over 35 operas to his credit, he was also an able administrator, having been appointed the director of the Conservatoire in 1822.
Photo: Portrait of Michael Haydn by Franz Xaver Hornöck, c. 1805, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Monday, September 13, 2021
This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Dresden State Orchestra. On the program are works by Johannes Brahms, Jean Sibelius, and Josef Haydn in performances led by Giuseppe Sinopoli, André Previn, and music director Christian Thielemann.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”
This evening the September edition of Renaissance Fare turns back the clock even further than usual and features music from the early stages of the Renaissance period, the late 1300s and early 1400s. Much of the music from this time comes from Italy, the birthplace of the European Renaissance.
Join George Douglas for Renaissance Fare at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Photo: From a drawing in Cassell’s Library of English Literature, Henry Morley, 1883, Fair Use, Public Domain Vectors
On September 13 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) whose birthday is variously thought to be on September 9 and 15 as well as today, German composer Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896), and Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951).
Signor Frescobaldi was a musician at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and one of the most important composers of keyboard music in the late Renaissance. Clara Schumann was the wife of composer Robert Schumann. She was a superb pianist who gave several first performances of the works of her friend Johannes Brahms. Herr Schoenberg developed the 12-tone compositional technique.
Photo: Clara Schumann, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons