This Week At The Classical Station

Sunday, December 15, 2019

This evening on Preview! pianist Jae-Hyuck Cho plays a Piano Sonata by Beethoven. Dan McHugh speaks with cellist Nancy Green about her recent recording of Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano. The Choir of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle sings music of the season. 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: Nancy Green/Christian Steiner

This week on Wavelengths we’ll feature the music of American composer Bryce Dessner, a Cello Concerto by Bruce Wolosoff, and Nativity Carols by Stephen Paulus (1949-2014). 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: Stephen Paulus/

This week Great Sacred Music will include music sung by Quire Cleveland, Pomerium, and the RIAS Chamber Choir. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Anton Bruckner, and Benjamin Britten. See What’s Playing for a detailed playlist.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music for your Sunday morning. Right after Sing For Joy. 8 until 11 eastern. With your host Rob Kennedy.

Photo: Nativity window in Canterbury Cathedral/Wikimedia Commons

On December 15 we observe the birthdays of French composer Michel Richard Delalande (1657-1726) and Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas (1905-2000).

A contemporary of Jean-Baptiste Lully and François Couperin, Baroque composer Michel Delalande was employed by King Louis XIV. Ferenc Farkas wrote music in several forms including music for the stage. One of his students was the composer György Ligeti,


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Classical music on The Classical Station is an inspiring tradition. Played on quiet, restful evenings and during joyous, holiday festivities, truly, The Classical Station is a companion to life’s most cherished moments. Listener support makes these moments and this incredible music happen. As 2019 comes to a close, please do your part for this music that matters so much to you with an important year-end donation. Please submit your gift by clicking the Donate button on our website or mail a contribution to The Classical Station, PO Box 828, Wake Forest, North C Carolina 27588. You can also call us anytime at 800-556-5178 to donate. A member of staff is always on duty and will be happy to take down your information and transmit it securely to our membership department.


On December 14 we observe the birthdays of English composer Capel Bond (1730-1790), American composer Ron Nelson (1929-), American pianist Rosalyn Turek (1914-2003) and American classical guitarist Christopher Parkening (1947-). Capel Bond composed several works for strings which are still played to this day. Dr. Nelson is known as a versatile composer. His works for wind ensemble and band are highly-regarded. Rosalyn Turek was well-known for her interpretations of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach. A virtuoso classical guitarist, Christopher Parkening is the Distinguished Professor of Music and Chair of the Guitar Department at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.


Friday, December 13, 2019

The 2019-20 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Tchaikovsky’s thriller The Queen of Spades. Tenor Yusif Eyvazov stars as Hermann, an officer who succumbs to his obsession with gambling. In the role of her highly acclaimed Met debut, Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen is Lisa, who is destroyed by her love for Hermann. The cast also features Larissa Diadkova as the notorious old Countess, as well as Igor Golovatenko as Prince Yeletsky, Elena Maximova as Pauline, and Alexey Markov as Tomsky. Vasily Petrenko makes his network broadcast debut conducting the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

The Queen of Spades will be heard live on The Classical Station at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, December 14. Listen on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina as well as on our website and apps.

Lise Davidsen as Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera

Each year The Classical Station spends three days celebrating one of the greatest composers of all time: Ludwig van Beethoven. We call the celebration Beethovenfest. Tomorrow through Monday, we will play his symphonies, sonatas, concertos, and more, culminating in the glorious Ninth Symphony on the presumed day of his birth, this Monday. What’s Playing has the details. Tell your smart device to play WCPE!

Don’t forget to share your favorite Beethoven work with us on the Saturday Evening Request Program.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

This evening on Opera House, we’ll hear an encore broadcast of Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, hosted by the late Al Ruocchio (1937-2007). Suffused with the composer’s deep humanity and burning passion for human freedom, the music totally transcends the Singspiel structure in which the opera is written. The original version, which was titled Leonora (after the heroine) was first performed in Vienna on November 20, 1805. This final version had its premiére on May 23, 1814, also in Vienna.

The opera takes place in eighteenth-century Seville. The noble Florestan (tenor Ben Heppner) has been imprisoned for political reasons. His wife, Leonora (soprano Deborah Voigt), has disguised herself as the boy “Fidelio” and entered the service of the jailer Rocco (bass Matthias Hölle). Rocco’s daughter Marzelline (soprano Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz) has fallen in love with Fidelio, to the displeasure of her admirer Jacquino (tenor Michael Schade), the gatekeeper. Leonore discovers that Florestan is in the deepest dungeon and that the evil governor Don Pizzaro (bass Günter von Kannen) plans to kill him before an imminent ministerial inspection takes place. Rocco and Fidelio dig his grave in the dungeon, and Pizzaro attempts to murder Florestan, but is prevented from doing so by Leonore, who reveals herself as Florestan’s wife. The arrival of the minister, Don Fernando (baritone Thomas Quasthoff), puts an end to the murder attempt. Pizzaro is arrested and Fernando allows Leonore herself to remove her husband’s chains. Sir Colin Davis conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the Bavarian State Opera Men’s Chorus in this 1995 RCA Victor recording, CD number 68344.

Join Bob Chapman at 7 p.m. for Opera House on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, streaming everywhere on our apps and online.

Photo: Act 3 of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio as performed a the Théâtre Lyrique in 1860/Ange Louis Janet on

Our collection of conversations with composers, conductors, singers, and instrumentalists grows weekly. We have most of these interviews saved for your listening pleasure on a page we call Conversations. Chats with Joyce DiDonato, Karina Canellakis, JoAnn Falletta, Fred Scott, Olivier Latry, Sir Stephen Cleobury, Gernot Wolfgang, Ilan Eshkeri, Barnaby Smith, Jennifer Higdon, and many more musicians are ready for you to download and enjoy. These musicians love what they do. They offer fascinating insights into their early years, what inspired them, and how they built their careers. You can also find these Conversations on our apps.


On December 12 we observe the birthday of Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden (1960-). He is the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.

From the maestro’s website: “Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings, the most recent of which is a 2019 release with the New York Philharmonic  of  the World Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, continuing the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold. In 2018 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, he completed a four-year project conducting the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which have been recorded and released on Naxos Records as individual recordings as well as a complete set.  His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the latter of which earned Maestro van Zweden the prestigious Edison Award for Best Opera Recording in 2012, are available on CD/DVD.”

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

As you think about gifts for family and friends, why not celebrate that 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 with wording chosen by you. It’s also a special way to memorialize a loved one.

Find out more about Day Dedications and Patron announcements here on The Classical Station by contacting our Membership Director,  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 Quarter Notes.


On December 11 we observe the birthdays of French composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), Polish composer Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876-1909), and Ukrainian-American pianist Valentina Lisitsa (1973-).

Hector Berlioz is perhaps best known to 21st century audiences for his Symphonie fantastique and Grande Messe des Morts or Requiem. Mieczyslaw Karlowicz occupied a place in Polish musical history between Frederic Chopin and Karol Szymanowski. Ms. Lisitsa has developed a large following on YouTube for her performances of literature from the Romantic era.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Join Nick Robinson during As You Like It for a special ticket giveaway! This week we’ll be offering a pair of tickets to Christmas With The Celts, a music and dance performance, on Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Louisburg College. This concert will feature Irish dancing and popular holiday music.

From their website: “Christmas With The Celts is the brainchild of producer Ric Blair. Mr. Blair reigns as one the country’s most respected purveyors of Celtic music. American-born he credits the popularity of the Christmas With The Celts concert presentation and the nationwide broadcasting of the show as a PBS-TV special to his unique blend of modern Christmas standards and sounds with the spirit and sounds of Celtic roots.”

Listen to The Classical Station between 2 and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11th, for a chance to win tickets to this event. Good luck!

On December 10 we observe the birthdays of Belgian-born French composer César Franck (1822-1890), French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), American composer Morton Gould (1913-1996, and British pianist Kathryn Stott (1958-).

While César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was born in what is now Belgium, he took French citizenship when he was appointed to the faculty of Conservatoire de Paris in 1872. He composed four operas, several oratorios, as well as orchestral and chamber works. His music for organ is a staple of every organist’s repertoire. Besides being a composer and organist, Olivier-Eugène-Prosper-Charles Messiaen was an ornithologist. He is widely considered one of the great composers of the 20th century. Richmond Hill, New York native Morton Gould published his first composition at the age of six. He wrote symphonies, film scores, Broadway musicals, and much more. His manuscripts are archived in the Library of Congress. Ms Stott teaches at the Royal Academy of Music. She concertizes regularly and is a long-time collaborator of cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Photos: Kathryn Stott on; others on

Monday, December 9, 2019

The December edition of Renaissance Fare features traditional carols from England and France performed by the Waverly Consort and Apollo’s Fire. Also on the program is a special collection of holiday tunes by hammered dulcimer player Maggie Sansone and much more. Join George Douglas for Renaissance Fare this evening at 7 p.m. Eastern.


This evening Monday Night at the Symphony shines the spotlight on the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. On the program is music of Antonio Vivaldi, Benjamin Britten, and Felix Mendelssohn in performances led by Sir Neville Mariner, Kenneth Sillito, and the current music director, Joshua Bell, on his 52nd birthday. 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: St. Martin in the Fields Logo

If you missed the interview with guitarist Sharon Isbin on Preview yesterday evening, you can hear it anytime here. In the interview, Dan McHugh and Sharon Isbin chatted about her collaboration with the Pacifica Quartet on the CD Souvenirs of Spain and Italy.

Photo: Sharon Isbin/J. Henry Fair

On December 9 we observe the birthdays of five musicians: French composer Émile Waldteufel (1837- 1915), Spanish composer Joaquín Turina (1882-1949), German-born British soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (1915-2006), English composer Alan Ridout (1934-1996), and American violinist Joshua Bell (1967-).The composer of many waltzes including the well-known Les Patineurs, Monsieur Waldteufel dominated the London music scene in the 1870s and 80s, thanks to substantial royal patronage. A friend of Ravel and Debussy from his time in Paris at the Conservatoire, Senor Turina wrote a variety of works including operas. Dame Olga Maria Elisabeth Friederike Schwarzkopf was one of the 20th-century’s great singers of lieder. She appeared in many of the world’s great opera houses and recorded extensively. A prolific composer, Alan Ridout studied with Herbert Howells and Sir Michael Tippett. One of the 21st-century’s most celebrated violinists, Joshua Bell is Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He performs in concerts around the world and has recorded extensively.

Photos: &