Upcoming and Noteworthy

What's ahead on The Classical Network? Catch some of these great programs coming your way. Information on evening concert broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other nationally broadcast performances can be found on our home page.

The new Broadway comedy Chicken and Biscuits takes place at a funeral in an African-American church. It turns out to be not the sort of funeral you'd expect. Hear Theater Critic Howard Shapiro's review of the play this week on In a Broadway Minute, Friday (10/22) at 8 am and Saturday (10/23) at 10 am.

Picture Perfect: Spooky Comedies

Oct 21, 2021

Whether to subvert our fears or to generate laughter from tension, filmmakers have frequently juxtaposed humor with the supernatural – or at any rate death.  Get into the Halloween spirit with music from four macabre comedies, including “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Max Steiner), “The Trouble with Harry” (Bernard Herrmann), “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (Vic Mizzy), and “Beetlejuice” (Danny Elfman).  It’s a mishmash of horror and humor, this Saturday at 6 pm.

  

Host Gabriel Crouch reviews all the recordings that made the short list of the 2021 Gramophone Award for choral music. Listen Sunday (10/24) at 2 pm.

LA Opera is taking us to sea on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/24 3:00 p.m.) with their recent production of Benjamin Britten’s 1951 opera “Billy Budd.”   Based on the novel by Herman Melville, the story centers on the naïve and innocent sailor who, after being transferred to a new ship, becomes the obsession of the Master-at-arms, John Claggart, who is accidentally killed by Billy when Claggart pushes him too far.  This results in the hanging of the young Budd who is loved by the crew and, for whom they would mutiny, but Billy, true to his good nature, resignedly goes to his fate and is hanged for the death of Claggart. 

After last month’s look at new songs that were added to film versions of musicals, we found that we had enough material for another program, and this week’s Dress Circle (10/24 7:00 p.m.) is the result.   Some of the films from which we’ve mined our songs include “Bells Are Ringing,” “Call Me Madam,” “Grease,” “Guys and Dolls,” “The Music Man,” “Evita,” and “On the Town.”  

  This Sunday at 8 pm on The Lyric Stage we have musical selections from The Threepenny Opera, whose  disreputable characters and social and political satire of Berlin in 1928 were inspired by Elisabeth Hauptman's translation of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera from 1728.

The Lost Chord: October 24 - Byronic Beecham

Oct 21, 2021

Manfred is the quintessential Byronic hero, a romantic superman who endures unimaginable suffering and mysterious guilt in connection with the death of his beloved.  He wanders the Alps, longing for extinction, and meets his fate defiantly, rejecting all authority, whether corporeal or supernatural.  When conductor Sir Thomas Beecham resurrected Schumann’s incidental music for Byron’s dramatic poem, it was an act of total reimagination.  Hear selections from this seldom-heard 1954 recording, Sunday at 10 pm.

  

Bagatelles generally are definied as short, humorous piano pieces.

“But not all of them,” says the Classical Network’s Artist-in Residence Jed DIstler, who is the creator, producer and host of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys.

“For this week’s Between the Keys  episode, I’ve come up with an amazing variety of bagatelles , not to mention wonderful pianists. You’ll hear Beethoven and Smetana alongside Earl Kim, George Tsontakis, Jack Gallagher, and Arthur Whiting, just to name a few."


Picture Perfect: To and From Mars

Oct 14, 2021

According to Orson Welles’ notorious radio dramatization, H.G. Wells’ Martians touched down in Grover’s Mill, NJ, not far from the studios of WWFM!  Plan your escape to music from two film adaptations of “The War of the Worlds” (by Leith Stevens and John Williams, respectively), or hitch a ride to out-of-this-world selections from “Robinson Crusoe on Mars” (Van Cleave) and “John Carter” (Michael Giacchino).  The interplanetary exchange program begins this Saturday at 6 pm.

Guitarist Tony Morris has brought performances to patients and others in hospitals and hospices for nearly 20 years through his Music in Medicine community outreach program. A Tempo this week wraps up its series on music and wellness with an interview with Morris, who hosts Classical Guitar Alive. Listen Saturday (10/16) at 7 pm.

Sounds Choral: Oct. 17

Oct 14, 2021

Sounds Choral host James Jordan, music professor  at Westminster Choir College and conductor of The Same Stream choir shares more selections from the choir's latest recording, To Hold the Light, including the Requiem by Peter Relph. Sounds Choral can be heard Sunday (10/17) at 2 pm.

Let’s talk about an operatic hero who does very little during the course of the opera other than be an extremely nice person.   That’s Tito (Emperor Titus) in this week’s Sunday Opera (10/17 3:00 p.m.) in Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” from LA Opera.   Tito (Russell Thomas) is the Roman Emperor who has chosen Berenice, the daughter of a rival, to be his wife.  This angers Vitellia (Quanqun Yu) who, as the daughter of the former emperor, feels she should be next in line.  She convinces Sesto (Elizabeth DeShong), a young patrician in love with her, to plot Tito’s assassination.   Meanwhile, Tito has turned his attentions from Berenice to Servilia (Janai Brugger), Sesto’s sister.  

It’s more “Pop-Rodgers” with Lorenz Hart on this week’s Dress Circle (10/17 7:00 p.m.) and the second part of this series.  Once again, we’ll be looking at songs from Rodgers and Hart works that found lives outside of the shows.   Those shows include:  “Spring Is Here,” “By Jupiter,” “Pal Joey,” “She’s My Baby,” “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum,” “I Married an Angel,” and “Babes in Arms.”  

Two of the finest singers of their era were Renata Scotto and Jose Carreras, and this week on The Lyric Stage they sing selections from  La Traviata and Madama Butterfly, both live performances. 

 

Sometimes even Romantic geniuses can use a little help.  Tune in for a Liszt of collaborative efforts, including the rarely-heard “Concerto in the Hungarian Style” (orchestrated by Tchaikovsky), “The Black Gondola” (orchestrated by John Adams), and “Hexameron,” a titanic set of piano variations with introduction, interludes and finale by Liszt and contributions from five other virtuoso superstars of the 1830s (among them Carl Czerny, Sigismond Thalberg, and Frédéric Chopin).  Liszt gets by with a little help from his friends, this Sunday at 10 pm.

For this week's episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, the Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler explores new piano releases, plus “newish” releases in the form of rare archival material featuring relatively unknown yet important pianists such as Claudette Sorel and Pietro Scarpini.

However, the lion’s share of tonight’s lineup is given over prominent keyboard practitioners of today, like Kit Armstrong, Fanny Azzuro, Cathy Krier, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Igor Levit, Nathalia Milstein and Jeroen van Veen.


Alfred Hitchcock’s most celebrated musical collaborator was Bernard Herrmann.  Herrmann scored just about every one of Hitch’s films over the span of a decade, enhancing the impact and memorability of such classics as “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest,” and “Psycho.”  But Hitchcock also worked with any number of other notable composers.  We’ll cast some light into Herrmann’s shadow with selections from “Rebecca” (Franz Waxman), “Strangers on a Train” (Dimitri Tiomkin), “Spellbound” (Miklós Rózsa), and “Family Plot” (John Williams).  Herrmann goes on hiatus, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Among the works that expand the diversity of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's programming this season are a pair of compositions by Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an 18th-century violinist and swordsman of French and African descent. Conductor Nicholas McGegan will lead the orchestra in the works, and two by his near contemporary, Beethoven, next weekend. A Tempo this Saturday (10/9 at 7 pm) features a conversation with McGegan about his interest in de Saint-Georges' musical output, which included symphonies, concertos and operas, as well as a conversation with NJSO President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst.


Join us for a trip to Normandy and the Rouen Opera House for this week’s Sunday Opera (10/10 3:00 p.m.) and their production of Claude Debussy’s “Pelleas et Melisande.”   Based on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, the symbolic story focuses on the doomed love of the title characters.  Melisande (Adele Charvet) is found by Golaud (Nicolas Courjal), one of two grandsons of King Arkel (Jean Teitgen), by a spring in the forest looking at what is apparently her crown in the water.  She offers no information to Golaud, but he falls in love with and marries her anyway.   When Golaud brings her home, Melisande meets his brother, Pelleas (Huw Montague Rendall), with whom she is immediately taken, but the two form a Platonic relationship which will eventually cause Golaud to become so jealous that he will kill both Pelleas and Melisande.  

Some months ago, we had fun with “Pop-Kern” and “Pop-Porter,” and on this week’s Dress Circle (10/10 7:00 p.m.), we’re continuing the series with “Pop-Rodgers.”   We’re going to be looking at several shows based on the works of Richard Rodgers, and the first two are going to be dedicated to “pop” renditions of songs written by Rodgers and his first long-time lyricist, Lorenz Hart.  Many of the shows like “Higher and Higher,” “Ever Green,” “America’s Sweetheart,” “One Damn Thing After Another,” "Chee Chee,” and “Spring Is Here” might be unfamiliar, but we’re sure that you’ll know songs such

Viva VERDI!  At a time when the Italian peninsula was divided into separate states, the composer’s surname served as a convenient acronym for Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia.  Long live Victor Emanuel, King of Italy!  The patriotic slogan was used to promote national unification.  This week, the focus will be on musical unification, collaborative efforts undertaken by prominent Italian composers, including Antonio Vivaldi (in the serenata “Andromeda Liberata”) and Verdi himself (one of 13 contributors to a “Messa per Rossini”).  Lend your undivided attention, this Sunday at 10 pm.

From Russia With Love. Isn’t that a James Bond movie?

Actually, it’s the title of this week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, hosted by the Classical Network’s Artist-in-Reisdence Jed Distler.


Venture very far from Turner Classic Movies territory, with selections from “The Beastmaster” (Lee Holdridge), “The Sword and the Sorcerer” (David Whitaker), “Clash of the Titans” (Laurence Rosenthal), and “Conan the Barbarian” (Basil Poledouris).  If the playlist serves to illustrate anything, it’s that the overall quality of a film (or lack thereof) need not hinder a composer!  Slip on your man-flops and release the Kraken, this Saturday at 6 pm.

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced its Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant to support programs that offer arts and music programs for veterans, members of the military and their families. A Tempo host Rachel Katz this Saturday (10/2 at 7 pm) looks at the program and some existing initiatives in a conversation with Bill O'Brien, Project Director for Creative Forces, Christine Bial, Director of Arts and Humanities Grant-Making at Mid-America Arts Alliance, which is partnering with NEA on the grant program, and Dr.

We’re finishing our brief visit to Opera Southwest on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/3 3:00 p.m.) and a once-lost opera by Giovanni Bottesini about Ali Baba based loosely on the story found in “One Thousand and One Nights.”   Here, however, Ali Baba is an older, now successful merchant who is trying to arrange a profitable marriage for his daughter, Delia.  Delia, however, loves a poor man named Nadir who will do anything to win the hand of his beloved, and, like Ali Baba before him, he stumbles on the secret of the treasure cave of a band of thieves and amasses the fortune he needs, but it’s not all smooth sailing although it does have a happy ending when the pirates, who are hiding in barrels of moka (coffee) are “smoked out” when the contraband barrels containing the thieves are set afire.   The thieves and their leader, Orsacane, are apprehended by Aboul Hassan, the customs officer who was trying to blackmail Ali Baba about the moka to gain the hand of Delia.  

October is the month of pumpkins, ghosties, and black cats, but it’s also the month of calendula and opals and more wonderful New York musical openings which we’ll be sampling on this week’s Dress Circle (10/3 7:00 p.m.).   We’re covering 117 years of Broadway history this month beginning with the opening of Victor Herbert’s hit “Babes in Toyland.”  At the other end of the spectrum, our most recent opening is coming this month (after over a year-long delay because of the pandemic) with the interestingly quirky story of the six wives of Henry VIII titled “Six” which finds those wives meeting to discuss who actually had it the worst with the infamous monarch.   

Andrzej Panufnik is the sleeping giant of Polish music, always teetering on the verge of greatness, yet never achieving the full degree of recognition he deserves.  His particular brand of modernism was eclipsed, in part, by the avant-garde experiments of his friend and compatriot, Witold Lutoslawski.  Sample two of Panufnik’s major works:  the folk-inflected “Sinfonia Rustica” and the religio-patriotic “Sinfonia Sacra.”  Watch your toes!  The giant stirs, this Sunday at 10 pm.

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