This Week At The Classical Station

Drawing by Dale Marie Muller

Sunday, April 5, 2020

This week on Preview! violinist Lara St. John performs music of César Franck. Dan McHugh speaks with pianist Jonathan Biss about his experience recording all thirty-two Beethoven piano sonatas. Trumpeter Paul Merkelo plays Hummel and baritone Will Liverman sings Copland. 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. Please support Preview by calling 800-556-5178 or clicking a gift to us online.

Photo: Jonathan Biss/Jillian Edelstein

This week on WAVELengths, conductor Teddy Abrams leads the Louisville Orchestra in a performance of one of his own compositions. We’ll also hear music for harp and orchestra by Dan Locklair, and we’ll reach back to 1922 for a sonata by Leos Janacek, played by violinist Maia Cabeza. 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: Teddy Abrams/Opus 3 Artists

This week Great Sacred Music includes music sung by the Choir of Wells Cathedral, the Bavarian Radio Choir, and the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Gabriel Fauré, and Luigi Boccherini. What’s Playing has a detailed playlust.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music for your Sunday morning. Right after Sing For Joy. From 8 a.m. until noon Eastern. With Rob Kennedy.

Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem in Strassburger Cathedral/Rolf Kranz on Creative Commons

On April 5 we observe the birthdays of German composer Louis Spohr (1784-1859) and Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989). Louis Spohr, also known as Ludvig Spohr, was an inventive composer who came up with the ‘chin-rest’ for the violin, was one of the first conductors to use a baton and mark his scores with ‘rehearsal letters’ so he could guide his musicians. Principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years, Maestro von Karajan was one of the greatest 20th-century conductors. He recorded prolifically. ArkivMusic shows 741 of his recordings still available.


Saturday, April 4, 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.

You may call 919-556-0123 after 7 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.

The 2019-20 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck’s operatic fable about undying love and the power of music, in a performance from November 1, 2019. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton stars as the legendary musician Orpheus. Soprano Hei-Kyung Hong is Eurydice, the bride he is determined to rescue from the underworld, and soprano Hera Hyesang Park is the compassionate god Amore. Mark Wigglesworth conducts the Met orchestra and chorus in a jewel of the late baroque repertoire.

Orfeo ed Euridice will be heard on The Classical Station at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, April 4. Listen on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, online or on our apps. Tell your smart speaker to “play the Classical Station.”

Painting of Orfeo and Euridice by Titian (1490-1576)/

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.


Friday, April 3, 2020


WCPE String Quartet
Courtesy of NCCMI

We’ve collected links to Classical Music Videos and Streams by some of the thousands of musicians and and musical organizations who have been shuttered during the pandemic. We play their performances regularly here on The Classical Station. If you would like us to add an artist or group to this list, email us.

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.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

All of us here at The Classical Station are very concerned about the plight our wonderful musicians find themselves in. Thousands of concerts, recitals, master-classes, and so many more events cancelled or postponed indefinitely mean that these talented artists are suddenly without any income. With that in mind, I asked JoAnn Falletta, the distinguished artistic director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and one of the world’s great conductors, to offer a message of encouragement for these challenging times. You can find JoAnn’s message, together with a message from Andrew Ousely, founder of Unison Media, on our Coronovirus Resources page. Please share it with a musician as well as your family and friends. ~Rob

Photo: Cheryl Gorski

This evening on WCPE Opera House, Bob Chapman presents Léo Delibes’ Lakmé, the beautiful but ultimately tragic love story of the daughter of a Brahmin priest and a British military officer in colonial India. Lakmé contains two very famous numbers, the Bell Song, a coloratura soprano favorite, and the Flower Duet, which has been used in Ghiradelli chocolates and British Airways commercials. Delibes, who was born on February 21, 1836, is perhaps best known as the composer of the ballets Coppélia and Sylvia. Based on Pierre Loti’s 1880 autobiographical novel Rarahu, ou Le Mariage de Loti, the opera was first heard at Paris’s Opéra Comique on April 14, 1883.

Set in nineteenth-century colonial India, the British Army officer Gérald (tenor Gregory Kunde) falls in love with Lakmé (soprano Natalie Dessay), daughter of Nilakantha (bass-baritone José Van Dam), a Brahmin priest. Lakmé and her servant Mallika (mezzo-soprano Delphine Haidan) venture down to the river to gather flowers and to bathe, removing their jewels. Swearing to take revenge on the violator of his temple, Nilakantha forces Lakmé, who’s in love with the English officer, to sing at the bazaar so as to identify the culprit. When Gérald appears, Lakmé faints, thus giving him away. Later, Nilakantha stabs Gérald but Lakmé nurses him back to health at a secret forest hideout, where he is eventually found by his fellow officer, Frédéric (baritone Franck Leguérinel), who persuades Gérald to return to his military duties. When Lakmé returns to the hideout, she senses the change in her lover and commits suicide by eating the poisonous datura leaf.

Michel Plasson conducts the orchestra and chorus of the Capitole de Toulouse in this 1997 EMI Classics recording.

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.”

Don’t forget that we have more opera for you on Saturday. The Metropolitan Opera’s radio broadcasts continue with recorded performances of the scheduled opera. This week the Met is presenting a performance of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice from November 1, 2019. Jamie Barton and Hei-Kyung Hong sing the title roles, and Hera Hyesang Park is Amore. Mark Wiggleworth conducts. Curtain time: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Scene from the 2014 production of Lakmé/Opéra de Toulon

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.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Have you discovered our Conversations With Conductors? In these conversations with Rob Kennedy, distinguished musicians such as JoAnn Falletta, Karina Canellakis, Sir Stephen Cleobury, Nicholas McGegan, and many more, talk about their early years and education, their art, and much more. These musicians love what they do and are most eager to share their art with everybody. Let your family and friends know about these conversations which they can listen to or download anytime. You can also enjoy these conversations on our apps and on your favorite podcast platform.

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!


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The classical music we play twenty-four hours a day here on The Classical Station means different things to different people. Some listeners love Pachelbel. Some folks say we play too much Pachelbel. Some people would like us to play more Stravinsky. Others don’t want to hear anything composed after 1900. But the one thing everybody seems to agree on is that classical music takes our minds off our cares and worries about the COVID-19 epidemic and all the shocking news that comes with it. All of that “noise” fades into the background as we listen to beautiful classical music.

We are your constant in these troubled times. And with your help and support, we will remain here for you. On 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, on our partner stations, on cable companies and everywhere on our apps and online.

That’s why we want to express our gratitude to all of you who supported this unique radio station during our Spring Membership Drive 2020 which ended on Sunday evening. You keep the music of Mozart, Bach, Brahms, and so many other composers, playing. Your support lets us program the recordings of great orchestras such as the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony, and countless others. Performers such as Joshua Bell, Stephen Hough, Rachel Barton Pine and so many more delight us with their artistry. You make all of this possible. From the bottom of our hearts, “Thank you.”

If you didn’t have time to send in your donation, you can do so safely online or by calling us anytime at 800-556-5178. If you prefer, mail a check to WCPE The Classical Station, P.O. Box 828, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27588

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

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.”


Monday, March 30, 2020

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony shines the spotlight on the Amsterdam-based Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. On the program is music of Johannes Brahms, Maurice Ravel, and Franz Schubert in performances led by conducting legends Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Mariss Jansons.

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: The Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Are you homeschooling your children while school is closed? Our programming is ideal for the Music component of your lesson plans. Our announcers love the music they play. Better yet, you can schedule your Music lesson anytime convenient for you. All you have to do is consult What’s Playing to see what your children will be hearing.

In addition to listening the beautiful music with them, enrich your lessons by showing them the birthdays for the day. Our birthday posts here and on Facebook have links to source material about the composers and performers. For even more enrichment, search Spotify and YouTube for composers and performers. There’s a wealth of material you can use. Finally, please share your Music lesson tips and ideas on Facebook. Together we will get through these difficult days.

Photo: Lucelia Ribeiro/Flickr

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.