This Week At The Classical Station

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Join us this evening at 6 p.m. Eastern for a special program of music to celebrate the beginning of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. We’ll present additional seasonal selections throughout the eight-day observance of Chanukah.

This evening on Preview! we’ll survey new releases for the holiday season from the Five Browns, the Gesualdo Six, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and the boy band Libera. Violinist Alina Ibragimova and friends play music of Cesar Franck, 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: Libera/

This week on Wavelengths we’ll hear pianist Nadia Shpachenko perform a work inspired by the home of Aaron Copland, from her recent Grammy-nominated CD, The Poetry of Places. Violinists Ariana Kim and Guillaume Pirard perform music of Steve Reich. And we’ll hear works by Hannah Lash and Luis Bacalov. 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: Nadia Shpachenko/Albert Chang

This week Great Sacred Music will include music sung by the Rodolfus Choir, The Sixteen, and Les Arts Florissants. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel, and John Tavener. 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: Creche at Oratoire Saint Joseph, Montréal, Quebec/Wikimedia Commons

On December 22 we observe the birthdays of German composer Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787), Austrian composer Franz Schmidt (1874-1939), French-born American composer Edgard Varèse (1883-1965), and Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924). Besides being a composer, Herr Abel was a virtuoso viola da gamba player. A pianist as well as a composer, Herr Schmidt was Professor of Piano at the Imperial Academy of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna. Monsieur Varèse was prominent in using electronic and new instruments to create his music. Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini is considered by many to be the greatest composer of opera after Giuseppe Verdi. His operas La Bohème, Manon Lescaut, and Madama Butterfly are loved by audiences everywhere.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

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. Chanukah music? Absolutely. Christmas carols? Sure. You are the Music Director for Saturday evening.

If you prefer, call 919-556-0123 anytime after 6 a.m. Eastern and tell the announcer what you would like to hear.

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 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 21 we observe the birthdays of Czech composer Zdenêk Fibich (1850-1900), Hungarian-born British pianist András Schiff (1953-), and American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (1944-). While not as well-known as his countrymen Antonin Dvorák or Bedrich Smetana, Zdenêk Fibich was a prolific composer who created hundreds of works in a variety of forms. Sir András Schiff is highly-regarded for his interpretations of Bach and Mozart. He has many recordings to his credit and has appeared in concert halls worldwide. Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony since 1995, Tilson Thomas established the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1987. He has conducted most of the world’s major orchestras and has over 120 recordings to his credit.

Photos: Michael Tilson Thomas/

Friday, December 20, 2019

The 2019-20 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Verdi’s Macbeth, a performance taped live on September 25, 2019. Anna Netrebko and Željko Lučić reunited as Shakespeare’s ruthlessly ambitious Scottish couple, after having won tremendous acclaim for their portrayals at the Met in 2014. The revival also starred Matthew Polenzani as Macduff and Ildar Abdrazakov as Banquo, with Marco Armiliato on the podium, leading the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

Macbeth will be heard on The Classical Station at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, December 21. Listen on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina as well as on our website and apps.

Željko Lučić in the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth. Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Bob Chapman has prepared a special program of Christmas music sung by great voices from the world of opera. You will hear Bryn Terfel, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Hermann Prey, Roberto Alagna, and more, sing much-loved music of the season. Join Bob for Christmas At The Opera House this afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern. See What’s Playing for a detailed playlist.



On December 20 we observe the birthday of Japanese-born British pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida. Besides appearing with most major orchestras and making dozens of recordings, Ms. Uchida is also Artistic Director of the Marlboro Music Festival.

Photos: Richard Avedon & Marco Borggreve


Thursday, December 19, 2019

George Douglas has prepared a special program of Renaissance music for Christmas. Featuring carols and other season music, A Renaissance Christmas airs this afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern. See What’s Playing for the playlist.

An encore performance of Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love) is this week’s Opera House offering, hosted by the late Al Ruocchio (1937-2007). One of the composer’s best-loved works, it’s almost an opera semiseria rather than an opera buffa, as it contains both moments of real pathos and one of the greatest of all buffo roles: “Doctor” Dulcamara. Written in haste in a six-week period, L’Elisir d’Amore was first performed on May 12, 1832 in Milan, and it continues to be one of the most frequently performed of all Donizetti’s operas.

Nemorino (tenor Roberto Alagna) is distracted by his inability to win the heart of the capricious landowner Adina (soprano Mariella Devia), and is further put out when she agrees (partly to spite him) to marry the bumptious Sergeant Belcore (baritone Pietro Spagnoli). The ambulant quack Dulcamara (bass Bruno Praticò) arrives proclaiming his miraculous nostrums and, in desperation, Nemorino asks him for a love potion. Dulcamara sells him a bottle of Bordeaux wine with a hastily affixed label. Nemorino’s subsequent inebriated behavior annoys Adina, who agrees to marry Belcore forthwith.

Nemorino is desperate for a second bottle to provide an immediate effect but, having no money, enlists in the army with Belcore and buys another bottle with his pay. Meanwhile, Gianetta (soprano Francesca Provvisionato) and the other girls have learned that Nemorino’s uncle has died and left him a fortune. They suddenly discover how handsome he is! Nemorino, ignorant of his uncle’s death, puts their attentions down to the effect of the potion. Adina, miffed by Nemorino’s new indifference to her, purchases his release from the army and finally admits that she loves him. The two are united and Dulcamara, claiming all the credit, does a brisk trade in love potions. Marcello Viotti conducts the English Chamber Orchestra and the Tallis Chamber in this 1992 Erato recording, CD number 998483.

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: Metropolitan Opera/Ken Howard

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.

Have you downloaded Cadenza yet? Cadenza is a fast-paced, classical news magazine offering classical music news and conversations with composers and performers, as well as excursions into the music you love. Cadenza is also available on our apps and on Google Play.

Episode 6: Sharon Isbin, Rabbi Eric Solomon and More

In this edition of Cadenza, Nan Pincus reports on the first radio broadcast of music in 1906. Dan McHugh speaks with world-renowned guitarist Sharon Isbin. Dr. Haydn Jones recounts the life of French composer Gabriel Fauré. Nick Robinson takes us on another tour of his Gallery of Sounds. Rob Kennedy speaks with Rabbi Eric Solomon about the history, customs and music of Chanukah.

Episode 5: Rebecca Cypess, Angela Brown and More

In this edition of Cadenza, Dr. Rebecca Cypess speaks with Dan McHugh about her CD, Sisters, Face to Face: The Bach Legacy in Women’s Hands. Opera House host Bob Chapman speaks with American soprano Angela Brown in an interview from our archives.

Episode 4: Jennifer Higdon, Marcel Tyberg and More

In this edition of Cadenza, Dan McHugh explores the music of Marcel Tyberg. Rob Kennedy speaks with composer Jennifer Higdon about her Harp Concerto, her opera Cold Mountain and more. Dr. Greysolynne Hyman reports on the origins of music. Opera House host Bob Chapman speaks with the Canadian soprano Teresa Stratas in an interview from our archives.

Episode 3: Matthew Lipman, Censorship, High Holidays Music and More

In this edition of Cadenza, Dan McHugh speaks with violist Matthew Lipman. Nan Pincus reports on the musical instruments of the Renaissance. Rob Kennedy speaks with Rabbi Eric Solomon about the music and customs of the Jewish High Holidays.

Episode 2: Nancy Green, A Beethoven Mystery and More

In this edition of Cadenza, Dan McHugh speaks with cellist Nancy Green. Nan Pincus investigates a Beethoven mystery. Haydn Jones explains sonata form. Nick Robinson shows us how cartoons use classical music.

Episode 1: Drostan Hall, Anthony Roth Costanzo and More

In the first edition of Cadenza, Dan McHugh speaks with Drostan Hall about how he founded Camerata Chicago, and his new recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Bob Chapman speaks with counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo about his role in Philip Glass’ 1983 opera Akhnaten. Haydn Jones talks about the life of Antonio Vivaldi. Nick Robinson takes us on a spooky tour of some of classical music’s creepiest pieces in his Gallery of Sounds.

The great opera composer Giuseppe Verdi executed several major philanthropic projects during his lifetime. He funded a hospital on the edge of his estate. Then, in an act of profound kindness, he built and endowed the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, a home for retired musicians. Inspired by Verdi’s example? A gift through your will or other estate plan is a wonderful way to keep classical music coming to Central North Carolina and the world here on The Classical Station. As Giuseppe Verdi has inspired you, so too will your legacy gift inspire future generations. For more information about leaving a bequest to The Classical Station in your will, give Dan McHugh a call at 800-556-5178.

On December 19 we observe the birthdays of French composer Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749), Hungarian-born American conductor Fritz Reiner (1888-1963), and American-born French conductor William Christie (1944-). Organist of Eglise Saint Sulpice in Paris, Monsieur Clérambault left us compositions for keyboards, as well as many sacred and secular choral works. Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra before becoming music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1953-1962. Educated at Harvard and Yale, William Christie emigrated to France in the 70s where he founded the highly-regarded early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019


The 10th annual edition of Lullabies and Carols airs this morning at 10 a.m. We’ve programmed Lullabies and Carols to be an oasis of calm for you in the midst of the busy holiday season. The choirs of Saint Thomas’ Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, the Cambridge Singers, Anonymous 4, and more sing music by John Rutter, Benjamin Britten, and Gerre Hancock. Rob Kennedy is your host. Lullabies and Carols can be heard again on Sunday, December 22 at 4 p.m. and on Tuesday, December 24 at 9 p.m. Eastern. See What’s Playing for a detailed playlist.

Merry Christmas from all of us at The Classical Station!

On December 18 we observe the birthdays of French piano maker Camille Pleyel (1788-1855), American composer Edward MacDowell (1860-1908), Swiss conductor Edmond de Stoutz (1820-1997), and English conductor William Boughton (1948-). Joseph Étienne Camille Pleyel inherited the family piano-making business which supplied pianos to Frederic Chopin, among others. Edward MacDowell left us over sixty compositions even though he died at the young age of 48. Besides composing, he was well-known as a concert pianist and teacher. de Stoutz was the founder of the Zürcher Kammerorcheste. William Boughton is currently the Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and is on the faculty of the Yale School of Music. He has guest-conducted most of the world’s major orchestras.

Photos: William Boughton/S.M. Cooper; Others on

Tuesday, December 17, 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 Burning Coal Theatre’s production of Camelot, running this weekend and next in downtown Raleigh. This classic, family-friendly musical brings to life the story of King Arthur, Lady Guinevere, and Lancelot. Listen between 2 and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18th, for a chance to win tickets to this event.



On December 17 we observe the birthdays of Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) and American conductor Arthur Fiedler (1894-1979). Signor Cimarosa wrote over eighty operas. Boston native Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra for more than fifty years.



Monday, December 16, 2019

This evening on Monday Night at the Symphony we’ll culminate our annual Beethovenfest by enjoying interpretations of the master’s work by three great orchestras. On the program are the Vienna Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in performances led by legendary conductors, Sir Simon Rattle, Kurt Masur, and Bernard Haitink. 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: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

From big, powerful symphonies to marvelous new performances, to a vast kaleidoscope of brilliant sounds.. moment by moment, we’ve built a year, a year made more memorable with The Classical Station by your side. That’s why, as 2019 comes to a close, we ask you to consider the depth and richness that The Classical Station brings into your life, and then make a vital year-end contribution to ensure that this incredible public service continues to thrive in 2020 and beyond. You can give securely online, by mail to The Classical Station, PO Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588, and by calling 800-556-5178 anytime.

Special Limited Time Offer! We have a limited number of copies available of these CDs. Please call the station to get yours before they are gone. 800-556-5178
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 for a donation of $120 Pianist Alessio Bax gives a lyrical yet technically stunning performance of the “Emperor” Concerto with Simon Over leading the Southbank Sinfonia, plus Beethoven works for solo piano. FMV = $ 17.99
O lux beata Trinitas for a donation of $150. Graham Ross leads the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, in exploring the mysteries of the Trinity through Russian and English works from the Renaissance through modern times. FMV = $ 19.98


On December 16 we observe the birthdays of Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967), American organist and organ builder Robert Noehren (1910-2002), English harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock (1946-), and German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Besides being a composer, Zoltan Kodaly was a teacher. His Kodaly Method still enjoys popularity among music teachers worldwide. Dr. Robert Noehren was for many years University Organist and Head of the Organ Department at the University of Michigan. Trevor Pinnock has been a pioneer in the field of early music since his student days at the Royal College of Music. Scholars can find no record of Beethoven’s birth on December 16 although they do agree that he was baptized on December 17, 1770. Regardless of that bit of trivia, Beethoven composed some of the greatest music ever written.