This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller

This Week At The Classical Station

By Rob Kennedy

Sunday, May 10, 2020

This evening on Wavelengths, we follow the evening’s earlier Preview! interview with English pianist Stephen Hough by playing one of his compositions for chorus and orchestra. We’ll also hear works by Aaron Jay Kernis and Welsh composer Grace Williams. Daily Playlists has details.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music, Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern. With host Ed Amend.

Photos: Aaron Jay Kernis/Brad Oliphant

This evening on Preview! French ensemble Quatuor Ebene celebrates Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with their release of the complete string quartets, recorded in concerts around the world. Rob Kennedy speaks with English pianist and composer Stephen Hough. And tenor Rolando Villazon sings favorite arias from his new release, Mozartissimo.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings and arts news each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern. With host Jeffrey David Smith.

Photo: Stephen Hough/Andrew Crowley

American baritone Sherrill Milnes is our guest on the May edition of My Life In Music. Most famous for his Verdi roles, Mr. Milnes was associated with the Metropolitan Opera from 1965 until 1997. In our interview, Sherrill talks about his early years and the roles he has sung. Join The Classical Station’s Bob Chapman for My Life In Music this afternoon at 5 p.m. Eastern. Here is the playlist.

Photo: Sherrill Milnes/Dario Acosta

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by The Cathedral Singers, Gloriae Dei Cantores, and The Turtle Creek Chorale. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, F. Melius Christiansen, and Daniel Gawthrop. Pastor Bruce Benson offers a commentary for Mothers’ Day.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music. Every Sunday morning. 8 a.m. eastern. Right after Sing For Joy. With Rob Kennedy.

Stained glass: Window on the south wall of St Andrews Church, Bebbington, just outside the Feilden chapel, by Henry Holiday and depicting Holy Women of the Old and New Testaments: Sarah, Hannah, Ruth and Esther in the top four panels and the Virgin Mary, Elizabeth, Mary of Bethany and Dorcas in the lower.

On May 10 we observe the birthdays of French composer Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764), American composer Milton Babbitt (1916-2011), and Turkish violinist Ani Kavafian (1948-). Monsieur Leclair was a virtuoso violinist who wrote music primarily for his instrument. Milton Babbitt taught at Princeton University and The Julliard School. His students included Stephen Sondheim. Ani Kavafian teaches at Yale University.


Saturday, May 9, 2020

In the last scheduled Saturday matinéee radio broadcast of its 2019-20 season, the Metropolitan Opera presents Donizetti’s riveting historical drama Maria Stuarda. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings the title role, in a performance from 2013, when the opera had its Met première. DiDonato is Mary Stuart, the deposed Queen of Scots, being held captive in England. Soprano Elza van den Heever stars opposite her as Queen Elizabeth I, who sees Mary as a threat to her rule, and tenor Matthew Polenzani is the Earl of Leicester, whose love for Mary stokes Elizabeth’s jealousy. The cast also features Matthew Rose and Joshua Hopkins, with Maestro Maurizio Benini conducting the Met orchestra and chorus in Donizetti’s powerful score.

This performance of Maria Stuarda, recorded live at the Met on January 19, 2013, will be heard on The Classical Station at 1:00 p.m. Eastern today.

A scene from Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
Taken during the rehearsal on December 27, 2012 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

On May 9 we observe the birthdays of Italian conductor Carlo Maria Giulini (1914-2005) and Swedish mezzo-soprano Sofie van Otter (1955-). Maestro Giulini was one of the great conductors of the 20th-century. Sofie van Otter is one of those artists who is at home singing lieder, opera, oratorios and pop songs.


Friday, May 8, 2020

Looking for a good book on classical music? Check out our Book Reviews page. Carefully curated by Christina Romano, the editor of our member magazine, Quarter Notes, these books will provide you with many hours of reading pleasure.

On May 8 we observe the birthdays of German composer Karl Stamitz (1745-1801), American composer and pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), English sopranos Heather Harper (1930-2019) and Felicity Lott (1947-). Herr Stamitz composed 50 symphonies as well as 60 concertos for various instruments. A native of New Orleans, Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s talent was recognized by Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt. Heather Harper was highly-regarded on both the operatic stage and in the concert hall. During her long career, Felicity Lott sang both opera and lieder.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

This evening Opera House  presents Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, with the exciting tenor Mario del Monaco in the title role. Giordano’s most successful and enduring work, it is historically based on the life of the French poet André Chénier (1762-1794), who was executed during the Reign of Terror for anti-revolutionary activities. The opera was premiered in Milan on March 28, 1896. As well, we’ll celebrate the career of American baritone Thomas Hampson with arias from Mozart and Rossini, and duets from Verdi’s La Traviata with Anna Netrebko and Don Carlos with Jerry Hadley.

Opera House begins at 7 p.m. Tell your smart speaker to “play The Classical Station.”

Photo: Scene from the 2014 production of Andrea Chénier by the Metropolitan Opera/Beth Bergman

On May 7 we observe the birthdays of German composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). Johannes Brahms was one of the greatest classical musicians who ever lived. His enormous output included orchestral, chamber, keyboard, choral, and vocal music. Ballets, symphonies, concerti, operas, and much more flowed from the pen of Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest Romantic-era composers.



Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Over the years, we have had the privilege and pleasure of speaking with many conductors, performers, and composers for Preview! and My Life In Music. It’s fascinating listening to these musicians talking about how they got started and what inspired them. We have repackaged these recordings as podcasts which you can download or listen to here. Please tell two friends about our Conversations Page.

Conversation with Anne Anne Azéma

From Boston Camerata’s website: “French-born vocalist, scholar and stage director Anne Anne Azéma has directed The Boston Camerata since 2008 and the French ensemble Aziman, which she founded, since 2005. Intensely engaged since her student days with the song repertoire of the Middle Ages, she is esteemed as a charismatic solo performer. But she is also widely admired for her creative skill in building and directing complete musical productions of varied styles and periods, both for her recital programs and for larger ensemble forces (concert and stage) in Europe and the United States.” In this podcast Rob Kennedy and Anne Azéma discuss the Camerata and its CD Free America.

Photo: Anne Azéma/Simone Poltronieri

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

You may have heard of the English choral ensemble Stile Antico. This 12-voice vocal group performs Renaissance music. Under normal performance circumstances, that makes singing the 40-part motet Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis impossible. But, these are not normal circumstances. Through the magic of virtual choirs, Stile Antico has recorded one of our listener favorites, Spem in Alium. You can enjoy it on Classical Music Videos and Streams, which is part of our Facebook page.

On May 5 we observe the birthdays of English organist T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953), Paraguayan guitarist Agustin Barrios (1885-1944), German composer Hans Fitzner (1869-1949), French-Cypriot pianist Cyprien Katsaris (1951-), and Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (1978-). Dr. Noble was Organist of York Minister until he was translated to St. Thomas Church, New York where he founded the St. Thomas Choir School among other achievements. Agustín Barrios Mangoré and Nitsuga was both a virtuoso performer and prolific composer. Not well-known these days, Herr Fitsner nonetheless was a highly-regarded composer and teacher in his day. His students include Otto Klemperer, Charles Much, and Carl Orff, to name but a few. Monsieur Katsaris gained a certain notoriety for recording Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies. One of the few contemporary composers who seem to understand writing for voices, Ola Gjeilo is well-regarded by choirs and choral conductors worldwide.




Monday, May 4, 2020

American baritone Sherrill Milnes is our guest on the May edition of My Life In Music. Most famous for his Verdi roles, Mr. Milnes was associated with the Metropolitan Opera from 1965 until 1997. In our interview, Sherrill talks about his early years and the roles he has sung. Join The Classical Station’s Bob Chapman for My Life In Music this evening at 7 p.m. Eastern. Here is the playlist.

Photo: Dario Acosta

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  On the program is music of Peter Tchaikovsky, Johannes Brahms, and Richard Strauss in performances led by Yoel Levi, Donald Runnicles, and current artistic director Robert Spano.  Listen each week as we showcase a great orchestra on Monday Night at the Symphony. The concert begins at 8 p.m. You can find the playlist at Daily Playlists.

Photo: Jeff Roffman

On May 4 we observe the birthdays of Austrian composer Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek (1860-1945), American soprano Roberta Peters (1930-2017), Russian conductor Gennady Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky (1931-2018), and Mexican conductor Enrique Bátiz Campbell (1942-). Quick facts about our birthday celebrants: Emil von Reznicek was a personal friend of Richard Strauss. He is perhaps best known to modern audiences for his opera Donna Diana. A remarkably agile coloratura soprano, Roberta Peters had a thirty-five-year association with the Metropolitan Opera. Gennady Rozhdestvensky was actually born Gennady Nikolayevich Anosov. He adapted his mother’s last name to avoid any confusion with his famous musician parents. He went on to conduct many of the world’s orchestras. Enrique Bátiz’ full name is Enrique Bátiz Campbell because the Mexican naming convention gives a child two apellidos or last names: the first from his father, the second from his mother.