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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Scheherazade and the One Thousand and One Nights conjure up images of the ancient tale we also know as The Arabian Nights. Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1888 setting of the tale captures the Middle Eastern mood together with some nods to Russian history, of course. Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic play The Sea and Sinbad’s Ships from Rimsky-Korsakov’s most popular work, Scheherazade.

Jean-Marie Leclair by F. Lugi
Public Domain on Wikipedia.org

The Classical Station’s listeners love Baroque music. Igor Ruhadze and the Ensemble Violini Capricciosi play a gem from the French Baroque, the Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 7 No. 5, by Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764). Musicologists consider Leclair as the founder of the French violin school. He left us dozens of violin sonatas and concerti.

French pianist Hélène Grimaud’s new Deutsche Grammophon CD pairs three Mozart works with three compositions by contemporary Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. She plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, accompanied by the Camerata Salzburg.

“I was always interested in couplings that were not predictable, in unusual combinations, because I feel as if certain pieces – even sometimes pieces by different composers – can shed a special light on to one another.” – Hélène Grimaud

I interviewed pianist Liza Stepanova about her CD E Pluribus Unum which features the music of composers who have emigrated to the United States. Liza’s playing is stunning.

Guitarist Sharon Isbin is well-known to our listeners. From her CD Affinity she plays the delightful Waltz No. 3, Natalia, by Venezuelan composer Antonio Lauro.

Florence Price
Unknown Photographer on WQXR.org

Florence Price (1887-1953), was the first African-American woman to recognized as a symphonic composer. John Jeter conducts the Fort Smith Symphony in a performance of Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor. The work was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in June 1933.

Influenced by Dvorak and Coleridge-Taylor, she drew on the wellspring of Negro spirituals and vernacular dances, full of lyricism and syncopation.

It’s always a pleasure to be able to air music written by one of our own North Carolina composers. The Pangaea Chamber Players play Dan Locklair’s Fantasy in the Woods from Reynolda Reflections. Each of the five movements of Reynolda Reflections is inspired by a painting in the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

French composer and virtuoso pianist Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) was a Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire. We’ll hear her Grand Variations on a Theme by Count Gallenburg, Op. 25 played by the European Soloists of Luxembourg, under the direction of Christoph Konig, with soloist Jean Muller.

French-Canadian conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in a performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45. This was his last major work. He composed it in 1940 while living in Centerport, Long Island, New York.

~Rob Kennedy