This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller

Sunday, February 9, 2020

This week on Preview! we’ll hear music from Oscar-nominated soundtracks to the films 1917 and Little Women. Rob Kennedy speaks with Robert Simpson, founder and artistic director of the Houston Chamber Choir, about their Grammy-winning CD of choral works by Maurice Duruflé. Diana Damrau sings music of Richard Strauss, and pianist Javier Perianes plays Ravel. See What’s Playing for a detailed playlist.

Preview! – the best in new classical recordings and arts news each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to play WCPE.

Photo: Houston Chamber Choir/Jeff Davis

This week on WAVELengths we’ll hear a recent Grammy-winning composition by Wynton Marsalis, featuring violinist Nicola Benedetti. Also on the program is music for winds by Valerie Coleman. See What’s Playing for a detailed playlist.

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

Photo: Wynton Marsalis/


This week Great Sacred Music will include choral music sung by the Voices of Ascension, the Choir of Wells Cathedral, and the Cambridge Singers. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Antonio Vivaldi.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music for your Sunday morning. Right after Sing For Joy. 8 until 11 eastern. With Rob Kennedy. See What’s Playing for a detailed playlist. Tell your smart speaker to “play The Classical Station.”

Photo: Daily bread window in The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, England/

On February 9 we observe the birthdays of English composer and founder of the Royal School of Church Music, Sir Sydney Nicholson (1875-1947), Austrian composer Alban Berg (1885-1935) and Welsh organist and choral conductor George Guest (1924-2002). Sir Sydney Nicholson was organist of Westminster Abbey and founder of the School of English Church Music which later became the Royal School of Church Music. A proponent of the 12-tone compositional technique, Alban Berg is best known to 21st-century audiences for his operas Wozzeck and Lulu. Director of the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, from 1951-1991, George Guest made the Choir one of the most renowned in the world.


Saturday, February 8, 2020

What would you like us to play for you this evening? The Saturday Evening Request Program is our ever-popular weekly request program. It’s six hours of music you have chosen. Click Music Request and let us know what you want us to play. Short works? Yes. Long works? Yes. You are the Music Director for Saturday evening. The program usually is over-subscribed by 2 p.m. on Saturday, so get your request in as soon as you can.

If you prefer, call 919-556-0123 anytime after 6 a.m. Eastern and tell the announcer what you would like to hear. Then, after 6 p.m., check What’s Playing to see when your request will be played.

On February 8 we observe the birthdays of French composer André Ernest Modeste Grétry (1741-1813), Polish-born American composer Artur Balsam (1906-1994), and American composer John Williams (1932-). A student of Galuppi and Pergolesi in Rome, Monsieur Grétry composed over fifty operas. Artur Balsam was a distinguished teacher whose students included Emmanuel Ax and Murray Perahia. While serving in the Air Force, John Williams conducted the United States Air Force Band. He also studied at Julliard. Mr. Williams has written some of the most memorable film scores ever.


Friday, February 7, 2020

The 2019-20 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with La Damnation de Faust, Hector Berlioz’s vividly dramatic adaptation of the Faust legend. American tenor Michael Spyres makes his network broadcast debut in the title role as the world-weary philosopher. Latvian mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča is Marguerite, an innocent young woman led to ruin, and Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov is the diabolical Méphistophélès. Berlioz’s unique masterpiece features the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus in a concert performance led by Edward Gardner.

La Damnation de Faust will be heard on The Classical Station at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, February 8. Listen on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, online or apps. Tell your smart speaker to play “The Classical Station.”

Photo: Edward Gardner conducts Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust. Ken Howard/Met Opera (Photo taken at the January 22, 2020, dress rehearsal.)

We have lots of music by Anonymous. Once again it’s All Request Friday here at The Classical Station! If you want to hear one of Anonymous’ compositions, then give us a call at 919-556-0123 or click on Music Request in the upper right hand corner of this page. But don’t delay! This popular program fills up very quickly. We play listener requests from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Eastern every Friday. What’s Playing has the details of your requests.


On February 7 we observe the birthdays of Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927) and Polish conductor Antoni Wit (1944-). Besides being the artistic director and conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra from 1906-1922, Carl Wilhelm Eugen Stenhammar managed to compose three symphonies, two piano concerti and a host of other works in his short life of fifty-six years. A student of Nadia Boulanger, Maestro Wit has conducted many of the world’s great orchestras. He currently teaches at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw.


Thursday, February 6, 2020

This week Opera House presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball). Antonio Somma’s libretto is loosely based on Eugène Scribe’s 1833 play Gustave Trois, about the historical assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, who in 1792 was stabbed while attending a masked ball and died thirteen days later from the wounds. Censors in Naples refused to allow an opera that focused on regicide, but they did agree to allow Verdi to change the King of Sweden into the British royal governor of Boston, and the locale to colonial New England. The opera in this form finally had its premiere on February 17, 1859 in Rome.

In colonial Boston, the royal governor Riccardo (tenor Carlo Bergonzi) is in love with Amelia (soprano Leontyne Price), the wife of his friend and adviser Renato (baritone Robert Merrill). He is warned by the fortune-teller Ulrica (mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett) that he will be killed by the next man to shake his hand – who turns out to be Renato. Amelia returns Riccardo’s love and Ulrica tells her of a magic herb that will cure her of her feelings for the governor. As Amelia is gathering the herbs near the scaffold, she is joined by Riccardo and, later, Renato. When the latter discovers that the veiled woman he had agreed to escort back to town is his own wife, he joins Samuel (bass Ezio Flagello) and Tom (bass Ferruccio Mazzoli) in their conspiracy to murder Riccardo. Renato is chosen for the act and, at a masked ball, discovers Riccardo’s identity from the page, Oscar (soprano Reri Grist), and shoots him. Riccardo dies, declaring Amelia’s innocence and forgiveness to his enemies. Erich Leinsdorf conducts the RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this 1966 RCA recording, CD number 86645.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Listen to Opera House on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, streaming everywhere on our apps and online.

Photo: August Pollak

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On February 6 we observe the birthday of Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau (1903-1991). Señor Arrau was considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. Steinway & Sons has a fascinating article about Señor Arrau entitled “How Claudio Arrau Nearly Became Glenn Gould”


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Celebrate the special classical music lover in your life with a daily, weekly, or monthly announcement here on The Classical Station. With a Sustaining Membership of $100 per month, you can have a weekly on-air dedication. To find out more about day dedications and patron announcements on The Classical Station or to renew your announcement, contact Dan McHugh at 800-556-5178 or email him.

If your vehicle – automobile, truck, boat, motorcycle, RV, or aircraft – is no longer of use to you, it can still go a long way as a donation in support of the beautiful music you love on from The Classical Station. Here’s how it works: Center for Car Donations (CFCD) manages the donations on our behalf. Call them toll-free at 1-877-927-3872 for more information and to begin the car donation process. Don’t forget to mention that The Classical Station is the recipient of your donation.

A CFCD representative will schedule a pickup that’s convenient for you, and provide you with confirmation of your donation. We will mail you a confirmation that states how much your vehicle sold for at auction. This amount is what you can claim on your itemized tax return. You also will receive a one-year subscription to our quarterly member magazine, Quarter Notes.


On February 5 we observe the birthday of English conductor Sir John Pritchard (1921-1989). He was the music director of the San Francisco Opera when he died. Besides being an authority on Mozart and Rossini, Sir John was well-regarded as a champion of contemporary British music for which he was knighted in 1983. He had a long association with the Glyndebourne Festival.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Join Nick Robinson during As You Like It for a special ticket giveaway! This week we’ll be offering a pair of tickets to The Choral Society of Durham‘s winter concert. The chorus will be performing John Rutter’s Requiem and Louis Vierne’s Mass for Two Organs and Choir at Duke University Chapel on Friday, February 7th starting at 8 p.m. Listen between 2 and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5th, for a chance to win tickets to this event.

On February 4 we observe the birthday of Austrian-born American conductor Erich Leinsdorf (1912-1993). He was one of the great conductors of the 20th-century.


Monday, February 3, 2020

American composer Adolphus Hailstork is our guest on the February edition of My Life In Music. Dr. Hailstork is Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Join Rob Kennedy for My Life In Music on Monday, February 3 at 7 p.m. eastern. My Life In Music is made possible by our listeners and by The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. The music on the program was composed entirely by Dr. Hailstork.

Photo: Adolphus Hailstork/Rose Grace

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. This conductor-less ensemble, based in New York City, will perform music of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, along with pianist Jan Lisiecki. See What’s Playing for details.

You can enjoy the concert beginning at 8 p.m. on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina and streaming everywhere online and on our apps.

Photo: Matt Dine


On February 3 we observe the birthday of German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847). Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was born into a wealthy family. He was a versatile musician who played the piano and organ as well as composing in a variety of genres.