SUnday Opera

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera
Your Lyric Theater Program
With Keith Brown

Programming Selections for
April 2011

Sunday April 3rd: Haydyn, Die Schöpfung. Now for one of the greatest of all oratorios. Franz Josef Haydn's Die Schöpfung ("The Creation," 1798) ranks with Handel's Messiah as a classic of the genre. I have presented several different recordings of it for over three decades of lyric theater programming. The creation story that's told through music is certainly Biblical, derived ultimately from the Old Testament Genesis narrative, but by way of Milton's English-language epic poem Paradise Lost, translated into German and subsequently reworked into a libretto by Austria's cultural mentor of the age, Baron Van Swieten. "The Creation" you'll hear today is on two Harmonia Mundi compact discs, with Rene Jacobs conducting the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and RIAS Chamber Choir. It was released in the bicentenary year of Haydn's death, 2009. Just about everything Jacobs has done in his career as a conductor specializing in eighteenth-century repertoire has been truly ear-opening, revealing beautiful new aspects of the old music. His recordings for the Harmonia Mundi label have consistently won critical praise. You've already heard his HM recording of that other famous Haydn oratorio, Die Jahreszeiten ("The Seasons," 1800). That was on Sunday, January 2, 2005. HM opera recordings with Jacobs in charge have gone out over the air on this program in recent years: Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (Sunday, April 28, 2002). Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (October 10: 02) and La Clemenza di Tito (January 21: 07).

Sunday April 10th: Martin, Golgotha, Zelenka, Lamentations. Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890 -- 1974) was inspired to write his Passion oratorio Golgotha (1949) after viewing an exhibition in Geneva of copperplate engravings by Rembrandt, which included one particularly arresting one of Christ's crucifixion. Martin put together his own libretto for Golgotha, drawing on the Passion narratives of the Evangelists and the writings of the Church Father St. Augustine. There is a Hanssler Classic release of Golgotha from 1988 that I broadcast on Sunday, April 1, 2001. This is not a frequently recorded piece of music, so I was surprised the French Harmonia Mundi label came out in 2010 with a new Golgotha, and one recorded in, of all places, Talinn, the capital of the little Baltic state of Estonia. The Estonian people happen to have a long tradition of choral singing. German conductor Daniel Reuss leads the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, augmented by the Dutch choral group Capella Amsterdam and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, with a cast of solo singers hailing from the UK, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands. Fanfare's reviewer Henry Fogel says, "... this new Harmonia Mundi release is the best way to get to know this wonderful score." (Fanfare, July/August, 2010).

Next comes the choral music for Holy Week from the Bohemian counterpart to J.S. Bach, Johann Dismas Zelenka (1679 -- 1748). He was, like Bach, a conservative musically, an eminent contrapuntalist. The Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah were customarily chanted in Catholic churches on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Many composers of the Renaissance lent their polyphonic treatments to these alphabetically ordered passages of Hebrew scripture. Zelenka's 1772 score for the Lamentations from the high Baroque era is an unusual survival in one unique manuscript. Zelenka scored his Lamentations for a small string ensemble and wood wind instruments, with organ continuo. These parts are taken on instruments of the period by the Chandos Baroque Players. Three distinguished English vocalist join them: countertenor Michael Chance, tenor John Mark Ainsley, and bass Michael George. The British Chandos label originally released Zelenka's Lamentations in 1991. That recording reappeared on a single CD in 2002 in Chandos' "Helios" line.

Sunday April 17th: Wagner, Parsifal, ACT ONE, Rautavaara,Vigilia. This Sunday, Palm Sunday, and next Sunday, Easter Sunday, for the second time on this radio program we will take part in a sacred drama in music based on the medieval legend of the Holy Grail, the wine cup Jesus passed around among his disciples at the Last Supper prior to his crucifixion. Wagner's last opera, his masterpiece of Romantic mysticism, Parsifal (1882) is too long in complete recorded performance to be accommodated in one Sunday's timeslot. For Wagner, like so many other nineteenth century Romantics, art was his religion. The Festspielhaus at Beyreuth was his temple. There Parsifal was premiered and there it was staged exclusively over the following three decades. I last presented Parsifal at Palm Sunday/Easter of 2008, making use of our station's copy of a four CD Deutsche Grammophon set. That recording preserves a 2006 Vienna State Opera production starring tenor Placido Domingo. Parsifal was recorded again in 2009, unstaged, in the concert hall of the historic Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Valery Gergiev directed the Mariinksy's orchestra and chorus. Reviewing the 2010 Mariinsky four CD release, both critics for Fanfare magazine, Henry Fogel and Andrew Quint, concur that the sound quality is superb. Both of them praise bass Rene Pape in the role of Gurnemanz. To Andrew Quint he is the Wagnerian bass of our time. Henry Fogel confesses he is a true admirer of Gergiev's interpretive powers as a conductor, especially as evidenced in his skillful handling of the most complex and exacting music Wagner ever wrote.

There's time remaining this afternoon to listen to some modern liturgical vocal music inspired by the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. Beginning on the evening of Holy Saturday the faithful take part in a Divine Service of Vespers and Matins involving much choral singing and lasting into Easter morning. The All Night Vigil (1972) of Finnish composer Einujuhani Rautavaara (b. 1928) was commissioned by the Helsinki Festival and the Orthodox Church of Finland. It premiered as part of the divine service in the Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki. The music was originally performed not at the Easter vigil, but for the vigil associated with the holy Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. The recorded version of Rautavaara's Vigilia you'll hear today is his concert adaptation for non-liturgical performance. The sacred text is in the Finnish language, not the expected Old Church Slavonic the Russian faithful are accustomed to hearing. The mixed male and female voices are those of the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, with five vocal soloists. A 1998 release on a single silver disc through the Finnish label Ondine; last broadcast on Palm Sunday, March 28, 1999.

Sunday April 24th: Wagner, Parsifal ACTS TWO AND THREE.
With the exception of the Erato recording of Carpenter's "sacred opera" David et Jonathas, which comes out of my own collection, all the featured musical selections in this two month period of programming are drawn from our station's ever-growing library of classical music on disc. Thanks as always to Vickie Hadge of Virtually Done by Vickie for her invaluable assistance in the preparation of these notes for online publication.

Composer Birthdays

Thursday Evening Classics
Composer Birthdays
April 2011
Presented by Steve Petke

April 7

1763 Domenico Dragonetti

1899 Robert Casadesus

1931 Donald Harris

April 21

1899 Randall Thompson

1920 Bruno Maderna

1933 Easley Blackwood

1939 John McCabe

Randall Thompson

Birth: April 21, 1899 in New York City, NY

Death: July 9, 1984 in Cambridge, MA

Thompson's father was an English teacher, who expected academic excellence from his children. At the family's summer vacation home in Vienna, MA, Thompson took interest in an old parlor reed organ. At this instrument Thompson wrote his earliest works around 1915. In 1916, Thompson entered Harvard University and graduated with a Masters in Music in 1922. Later in that year, a Prix de Rome enabled him to study in Italy with Gian Francesco Malipiero, by whom he was much influenced. After three years, he returned to New York. He was appointed organist and lecturer in music at Wellesley College in 1927, a position he left in 1929 to take up a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. Two years later, he embarked on a three-year study of music education commissioned by the Association of American Colleges. His research resulted in an influential report, College Music, a text that helped restructure the collegiate agenda in music education nationwide. In 1936 Thompson's cantata The Peaceable Kingdom, inspired by the work of American primitive painter Edward Hicks, was premiered in Cambridge and helped establish Thompson's popularity as a composer. In 1937 Thompson resumed an academic career, taking up a professorship at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1939 he was appointed director of the Curtis Institute of Music (where Bernstein was one of his students) and in 1941 he became head of the music division of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. He joined the music department at Princeton University in 1946 and in 1948 was appointed to a position at Harvard. He is best known for his choral works, nearly all of which were composed on commission or for a specific occasion. Choral works such as Frostiana, The Testament of Freedom and The Last Words of David achieved popularity unprecedented in the USA. His chamber and orchestral works are imaginative and substantial. The most popular of these is the Symphony #2. No work of Thompson's, however, equaled the incredible celebrity accorded to his Alleluia. It was written in four days at the request of maestro Serge Koussevitzky as a work to celebrate the opening of the new Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. It was an immediate success and has been performed countless times by choruses large and small, professional and amateur.

April 28
1954 Michael Daugherty

Scheduled Music

WWUH Classical Programming - March/April 2011
Sunday Afternoon at the Opera... Sundays 1:00 - 4:30 pm
Evening Classics... Weekdays 4:00 to 7:00/ 8:00 pm
Drake's Village Brass Band... Mondays 7:00-8:00 pm

For April Fools: The Unbegun Symphony and The Unfinished Symphony (finished)

Haydn: Die Schöpfung

Yolanda Kondonassis: Pictures of a Floating World; Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltcia: De Profundis; James Galway: The French Album
Drake's Village Brass Band - United States Coast Guard Band: The Russian Connection

Rimsky-Korsakov: Symphony #3 in C major, op 32; Sinfonietta on Russian Themes in A minor, op 31;
Rawsthorne: Symphony #2 "A Pastoral Symphony" to celebrate Spring and newly released classics

Strauss: Metamorphosen; Avison: Concerti; Durey: Songs; Litollf: Concerto Symphonique No. 5

Reincken: Partita in a; Paminger: Sacred Vocal Works; Casadesus: Violin Sonata #1 Op. 9; Donald Harris: Ludus; Miaskovsky: Symphony #16 in F Op 39; Classical Happy Hour Boyce: Symphonies #1-4; Rota: La Strada - Excepts; Bruch: String Quintet in a.

Digging into the old vinyl

Martin: Golgotha; Zelenka: Lamentations of Jeremiah

Concertos for Orchestra...Hovhaness: Concerto #7 for Orchestra; Gould: Concerto for Orchestra; Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra
Drake's Village Brass Band - Cory Band: Triumphant Brass

Tchaikovsky: String Sextet in d; Dvořák: Serenade for Wind Instruments; Schubert: Piano Trio #1; Berlioz: Harold In Italy

Palestrina: Music for Good Friday; Schaffrath: Sonata in G Major; Ravel: Miroirs; Stanford: Suite for Violin and Orchestra

New Releases. A sampling of recent acquisitions to the WWUH library.

Ben Yarmolinsky has The April 15th Blues

Wagner: Parsifal (Part 1); Rautavaara: Vigilia

In Celebration of Earth Day 2011 - Hovhaness: Sonata, Mt. Chocorua; Grofe: Niagara Falls Suite; Picker: The Encantatas; Songs of the Earth- 25 Hours on Our Planet, With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Drake's Village Brass Band - Saint Saens: Carnival of the Animals; Graham: Cats Tales

Piston: The Incredible Flutist Suite; Ligeti: Trio for Violin, Horn & Piano; Alfvén: Symphony #2; Haydn: String Quartet in D, Op. 20, #4

Stainer: Crucifixion; Stravinsky: Persephone;
Mompou: Preludes; Reger: Sonata on F Sharp Minor; Weckman: Lamentations

Mondonville: Sonata in A Op. 3 #6; Randall Thompson: Symphony #2, Pueri Hebraeorum, The Best of Rooms; Maderna: Oboe Concerto #3; Blackwood: Bagatelles, Op. 36.

Happy Passover

Wagner: Parsifal (Parts 2 & 3)

Monday Night at the Movies - Glass: Casandra's Dream; Herrmann: Citizen Kane; Rozsa: El Cid
Drake's Village Brass Band - Orr: Trombone Concerto; Hovhaness: Symphony #23 "Ani"

Vaughan Williams: "Hugh the Drover"

Monteverdi: Messa a 4; Lutoslawski: Double Concerto; Mehul: Symphony No. 3;Vivaldi: L'Estro Armonico; Pando: Lute Works

Hammerschmidt: Suite in C; Holzbauer: Symphony in G, Flute Concerto in A; Hovhaness: Mystic Flute, Concerto #7; Daugherty: Niagara Falls; Le Beau: Piano Works; Miaskovsky: Symphony #17 in g sharp Op 41; Hiller: Piano Concerto #2 in f sharp Op 69.

Zubin Mehta conducts

*****************Live in Concert!****************

March 27, 2008 @ 7:30 pm

Broadcast Live on WWUH 91.3 FM and

The 2008 Miami String Quartet Student Competition Concert

Share in the excitement as Hartt School students experience the unique opportunity
of performing with a professional quartet.

The Miami String Quartet
(Artists in Residence at The Hartt School)

with Hartt student performers:
Noriyo Fukui, flutist
Charles Huang, oboist
Soyeon Kim, pianist
Samuel Martin, violinist
Esther Rogers, cellist

For tickets to attend the live performance in Millard Auditorium on the campus of the University of Hartford please contact the University of Hartford Box Office @ 860.768.4228 or 1.800.274.8587 or online at

Composer Capsules TEst

Thursday Evening Classics
Composer Capsules for
September/October 2007

September 13
Clara Wieck Schumann
Birth: September 13, 1819 in Leipzig, Germany
Death: May 20, 1896 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
An outstanding pianist and accomplished composer, Clara Wieck Schumann is more often regarded simply as the wife of composer Robert Schumann. More recently, however, her stature as a composer has become more widely recognized. Had she been able to devote more time to composition — she raised eight children — she might have rivaled the artistic stature of her husband. She began studying the piano with her domineering and obstinate father, whom her mother, a talented singer, later divorced. Clara gave her debut concert in Leipzig at age 7 playing Kalkbrenner's duet, Variations on a March from Moses, with the composer. In 1830, Robert Schumann began study with Mr. Wieck, at which time he first met Clara. At 12, Clara toured Europe with her father, achieving great success in Paris and throughout Germany. By 1837 she was recognized as one of the leading virtuosos in Europe, and her career as a composer was developing as well. In 1837, she and Schumann became engaged, amidst vehement objections from her father. Clara seems to have escaped from her father's influence when she toured Paris alone in 1839. The break e following year she married Schumann. They would have eight children, and Clara would slowly witness her sensitive husband lose his sanity. The couple at first lived in Leipzig, where both taught at the University. Clara did not write much in the early years of her marriage. In 1853, the Schumanns moved to Düsseldorf, and Clara had a very productive summer, producing several significant works, including her Op. 20 Variations on a theme of Robert Schumann. In 1854, Robert Schumann suffered a mental collapse and attempted suicide, after which he was committed to an asylum where he lived for the rest of his life. He passed away in 1856. Johannes Brahms, who had been introduced to the Schumanns in 1853, became an increasingly important figure in Clara's life. While the nature of their relationship is unclear, it is possible that they had an affair. Brahms was 14 years younger than Clara, and perhaps felt their age difference too great an impediment to marriage. Clara composed little in the years following Robert's death, even after her children were grown. She lived in Berlin and briefly in Baden-Baden. She later took a teaching post at the Frankfurt Hoch Conservatory and continued to concertize until 1891. She died of a stroke on May 20, 1896.

Arnold Schoenberg
Birth: September 13, 1874 in Vienna, Austria
Death: July 13, 1951 in Los Angeles, CA
Arnold Schoenberg remains one of the most controversial figures in the history of music. For half a century, Schoenberg produced music of great stylistic diversity, inspiring fanatical devotion from students, admiration from peers like Mahler, Strauss, and Busoni, riotous anger from conservative Viennese audiences, and unmitigated hatred from his many detractors. Born into a family that was not particularly musical, Schoenberg was largely self-taught as a musician. An amateur cellist, he demonstrated from an early age a particular aptitude for composition. He received rudimentary instruction in harmony and counterpoint, and studied composition briefly with Alexander Zemlinsky, his eventual brother-in-law. Early in his career, Schoenberg found work orchestrating operettas, but most of his life was spent teaching and composing. His early works bear the unmistakable stamp of high German Romanticism, perhaps nowhere more evident than in his first important composition, Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4. With works like the Five Orchestral Pieces and Pierrot Lunaire, Schoenberg embarked upon one of the most influential phases of his career. Critics reviled this "atonal" (Schoenberg preferred "pantonal") music, whose structure did not follow traditional tonality. However, the high drama and novel expressive means of Schoenberg's music inspired a faithful and active following. Most notable among Schoenberg's disciples were Alban Berg and Anton Webern, both of whom eventually attained stature equal to that of their famous mentor. These three composers — the principal figures of the so-called Second Viennese School — were the central force in the development of atonal and 12-tone music in the first half of the 20th century and beyond. Though the 12-tone technique represents only a single, and by no means predominant, aspect of Schoenberg’s style, it remains the single characteristic mostly closely associated with his music. Schoenberg made repeated, though varied, use of the technique across the spectrum of genres, from chamber to orchestral to choral works. Schoenberg fled the turbulent political atmosphere of Europe in 1933 and spent the remainder of his life primarily in the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1941. During this stage of his career, he occasionally returned to tonality, reaffirming his connection to the great German musical heritage that extended back to Bach. For Schoenberg, the dissolution of tonality was a logical and inevitable step in the evolution of Western music. Despite a steady stream of criticism throughout his entire career, he persisted in his aims, insisting that his music was the result of an overwhelming creative impulse. Though debate over the man and his music rages on, Schoenberg is today acknowledged as one of the most significant figures in music history.

September 27
Cyril Scott
Birth: September 27, 1879 in Oxton, Cheshire, England
Death: December 31, 1970 in Eastbourne, England
Cyril Scott was, at one time, widely credited as the composer who brought British music into the 20th century. Although that distinction merits consideration, his music has long been neglected. Recently, however, it appears that Scott’s work is emerging from the shadows of obscurity. The son of a Greek scholar, Scott was sent at age Frankfurt to study music with Engelbert Humperdinck His English classmates there, which included Percy Grainger, Roger Quilter, Norman O'Neill, and Balfour Gardiner, are sometimes referred to as "The Frankfurt Group," though throughout his life Scott remained close only to Grainger. Although Scott was a fine pianist, he decided that composition was his true calling. Scott's professional career began in 1901 when his first symphony was premiered in Darmstadt, though Scott later withdrew this work, along with many others dating from his German years, as immature. The manuscripts of these pieces were destroyed during World War II bombing raids. Henry Wood gave the premiere of Scott's Symphony No. 2 in 1903, and its positive reception earned Scott a publishing contract with Schott. However, in 1904 he also struck a deal for lesser works with the publisher Elkin, and the business of keeping to the terms of this agreement Scott later regarded as his own undoing. At this time, Scott also discovered the second great, all-consuming passion of his life, the study of theosophy and occult sciences. In 1905, Scott composed Lotus Land, a mystically atmospheric parlor piece for Elkin that became an enormous commercial success. For the remainder of his contract with Elkin, Scott felt obliged to follow it with something similarly lucrative, a goal that he never managed to attain. The 1914 premiere of Scott's Piano Concerto No. 1 was very well received and the piece itself proved influential among young composers in England. However, starting in the 1920s, British music shifted away from the highly atmospheric, impressionistic, and harmonically voluptuous idiom in which Scott specialized toward a tart, taut, tonally centered language similar to neo-Classicism. His books on mysticism and a trilogy of novels entitled The Initiate proved popular and helped keep Scott solvent during these years. Although he mainly played concerts of his own works, Scott began to perform the music of other composers at about this time, and in 1934 gave the British premiere of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3. The response to his new works, however, went from bad to worse, with his tone poem Disaster at Sea proving a disaster in every other way as well, and his third symphony, titled The Muses, remained unperformed until 2003. During World War II, Scott suffered a health crisis that evolved into a creative one. For several years he was unable to compose, and Percy Grainger offered him a house to move into when Scott was practically destitute. His fortunes improved after the war and Scott began to compose anew. In 1963, a group of friends founded a "Cyril Scott Society" to help him recover some part of his reputation as a musician. Developments were slow in coming, and not long after Scott died, the society ceased to operate. The Society did secure a performance of Scott’s Piano Concerto No. 1 by Moura Lympany in 1969 in honor of Scott's 90th birthday. The reception of the concerto in 1969 was far more favorable than anyone could have predicted, and although it did not lead to the immediate revival of Scott's music, it did ignite a small, slow-burning spark of interest in Scott's output of more than 400 works that would evolve into an explosion after the year 2000.

October 18
Baldassare Galuppi
Birth: October 18, 1706 in Burano Island, Italy
Death: January 3, 1785 in Venice, Italy
Baldassare Galuppi was a key figure in the history of Italian comic opera. Galuppi's father was a barber and violinist who gave his son elementary music lessons. By the age of 16 he had already composed an opera, La fede nell'incostanza ossia Gli amici rivali. It was a spectacular failure, so bad that the curtain had to be brought down before the audience rioted. The puzzled young man went to the composer Benedetto Marcello to understand why. Marcello took him to task for daring to write an opera before he was ready, and made him promise not to compose anything for three years and to undertake study with Antonio Lotti. Galuppi went to Florence to work as a harpsichord player in the orchestra of Teatro della Pergola in 1726. He returned to Venice and formed a partnership with a writer friend from school, G.B. Peschetti. His second attempt at opera, Dorinda, was a major success. For the rest of his life he averaged about two operas per year, and they were staged in Italy's major theaters. In 1740 the Ospedale dei Mendicanti hired him as music director, where he established a superb orchestra and composed church music for the institution. Galuppi went on to accept an offer in 1741 from the Earl of Middlesex to write opera seria for his theater in the Haymarket, London. His first effort was modestly well received, and each successive opera was more popular than the last. On returning to Italy in 1743 he took note of the emerging Neapolitan innovation, opera buffa, and tried his hand at it. After some initial failures, these comic operas, too, started to find favor. In 1748, he was appointed maestro of the cappella ducale at St. Mark's cathedral, and later was promoted to maestro di cappella, considered the foremost musical job in Venice. In 1751, the pressure of these positions led him to relinquish the position at the Mendicanti. His first comic success was L'Arcadia in Brenta, to a libretto by Carlo Goldoni, with whom Galuppi forged a partnership. Galuppi's best operas were played widely in Europe, and he was hired to go to Russia as music director of Catherine the Great's chapel. There he inaugurated an Italian dominance of Russian operatic life that lasted until Glinka's time. In addition, he introduced Western counterpoint into the music of the Russian Orthodox Church. Galuppi returned to Venice in 1768, resumed his duties at St. Mark's, and became chorus master at the Ospedale degli Incurabili. Later, he reduced his theatrical output, writing more keyboard music, sacred works, and oratorios. His comic operas are built of short, varied vocal phrases, with a strong melodic line and lively rhythms. He was adept at musical characterization and situational thinking. His orchestration was notable – woodwinds mark important moments, and in finales he allowed the flow of string writing to carry the main melodic material while the voices exchange dialogue realistically. Galuppi's keyboard music, including over 130 sonatas, shows a bright, idiomatic, and lively style of writing, and establishes him as a major Italian composer for harpsichord and piano after Domenico Scarlatti.

October 25
Johann Strauss II
Birth: October 25, 1825 in Vienna, Austria
Death: June 3, 1899 in Vienna, Austria
Johann Strauss, Jr. is the first truly well-known composer of music particular to his hometown, the Viennese waltz and Viennese operetta. The Blue Danube Waltz is not only the most popular of his works, but is among the most widely played and arranged pieces, known to the most casual listener today from many radio, film and television uses of it. He showed remarkable skills early in his childhood, despite his father's opposition to a career in music for any of his three sons. Johann, Sr. wanted him to become a banker, but the younger Strauss had his own ideas, taking violin lessons in secret from a player in his father's band. When Strauss was 17, his father left the family, thus allowing him to begin serious study unimpeded. His mother, an amateur violinist who had always encouraged him, remained supportive. Strauss studied theory and continued violin lessons. In 1844 young Johann led his first concert and a year later formed his own band, and in so doing competed with his father's own orchestra. He was also writing his own quadrilles, mazurkas, polkas, and waltzes for performance by his ensemble, even conducting works by his father, and receiving praise from the press. His real success began in 1849 after Johann Strauss, Sr. died. Johann, Jr. merged his father's orchestra with his own and assumed his father's contracts. His career moved along smoothly for the next several years, eventually gaining the respect of as Brahms, Wagner, and Verdi for his seemingly unlimited imagination for melody. Strauss married singer Henriette "Jetty" Treffz in August 1862, and they settled in Hietzing. Thereafter, she became his business manager and apparently a great inspiration, drawing him toward operetta, just as Viennese theater operators were becoming weary of the works of Offenbach. Strauss’ most famous, Die Fledermaus was staged in 1874 with great success. Eine Nacht in Venedig and Der Zigeunerbaron were his only other international operetta hits. In 1872, he traveled to the United States and led highly successful concerts in Boston and New York. For all the success that came in the 1870s for Strauss, there was also tragedy. His mother and brother Josef died in 1870, and his wife died suddenly of a heart attack in 1878. Her death devastated him, and the suddenly helpless composer unwisely married the much-younger actress Angelika Dittrich, just 6 weeks later. The marriage lasted only 4 years, though it may have saved the composer from personal disaster in the months following his wife's death. Strauss, a Roman Catholic, left the church and had to give up his Austrian citizenship to marry Adele Deutsch in 1887, owing to the Church's refusal to recognize his divorce. His new wife, with whom he had lived for a long period before their marriage, seemed to inspire him much like his first wife. In his last years, Strauss remained quite productive and active. He was working on a ballet, Cinderella, when he died on June 3, 1899.

Sunday Opera Test

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera
Your Lyric Theater Program with Keith Brown
Programming Selections for the Months of September and October

There could not be a more appropriate opera to air on the Sunday before Labor Day than Daron Aric Hagen's Bandanna (2000). That's because the underlying issue in this work forces us to consider the plight of those who physically labor in the United States of America. It's amazing how topical the story of this opera is! In a tiny town on the Texas/Mexico border, a double-dealing local cop enforces the law by day, but at night conducts illegal Mexican workers across the line. Officer Jake arouses the jealousy of his boss, the police chief, by convincing him that a rival officer, Cassidy, is having an affair with his wife. The misplaced placed bandanna Mona wears is taken as a sign of her infidelity. Sound like Shakespeare's Othello? The composer (b. 1961) intended it that way. Musically, Bandanna is entirely accessible and eminently singable. Hagen admits his style is derived in part from the lyricism of Leonard Bernstein. For local color he added a mariachi band to the sound of the University of Las Vegas Wind Orchestra. Hagen himself conducted that ensemble and the university's Opera Theatre Chorus for the Albany Records world premiere recording of Bandanna.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 9TH: You're wrong if you think all of Giocamo Puccini's operas are in the international standard operatic repertoire. Even after Puccini made major revisions in the score over a period of fifteen years, Edgar (1889) his second operatic essay, never made it into the canon of his works. Its premiere at La Scala was a failure, due no doubt to a preposterous libretto. Yet the music audibly displays the melodic genius of this composer in its earliest flowering. In radio broadcast you can forget about the romantic absurdities of the plot and concentrate on some glorious singing. Edgar has had its supporters, one of whom is a discerning music critic, Raymond Tuttle. Four commercial recordings of the opera have been made over the past three decades or so. One rare revival of Edgar took place in a concert performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. This was the world premiere of the complete opera on LP discs, made in 1977 for Columbia Masterworks. Comparing the singing casts of the three live-in-performance recordings and the single studio taping, Raymond Tuttle concludes that the oldest one from Carnegie Hall is the best. Operatic superstars tenor Carlo Bergonzi and soprano Renato Scotto, "... squeeze the last drops of juice out of the score...", (Fanfare, Jan/Feb, 2007). Eve Queler directed the Opera Orchestra of New York. I last broadcast the Columbia Masterworks Edgar on Sunday, May 22, 1988. On the second occasion my substitute Bob Walsh will spin those same two vinyl platters.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16TH: Under terms of the contract he accepted from the town fathers of Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach was forbidden to write operas. His youngest son, Johann Christian Bach (1735 - 82), wrote eleven of them, as well as fifty symphonies and many other instrumental works. The theme music for this show is the rondo, the third movement from his Symphony in D major, Op. 18, No. 4 (1781), which is in the form of a three movement Italian opera overture. The music of "The London Bach" could easily be mistaken for early Mozart. J. C. Bach befriended the child prodigy when he visited London in 1764 - 5. Recordings of Bach's operas are few and far between. Amadis des Gaules (1779), was his last and the only one with a libretto in French rather than Italian. Bach crafted it with Gluck's reformed French lyric tragedies in mind. The plot is trite and the characterization pretty shallow by the standards of the mature Mozart. Forgetting that, Amadis is musically more solidly composed, more suave, melodic, and Italian than any of Gluck's operas. Too bad that Parisian opera politics ruined its premiere. In the Jan/Feb, 1991 issue of Fanfare, that bible of classical music record review, David Mason Greene wrote very favorably of Hannssler Classic's world premiere release of this opera on two CDs. Helmut Rilling, who has in his long career revived many neglected works of the baroque and early classical periods conducts the instrumentalists of the Bach Collegium Stuttgart and the choral group he founded, the Gachinger Kantorei. American tenor James Wagner sings in the title rôle. The original French libretto of Amadis has been rendered into German. Surprisingly, in that language, the overall recorded musical effect approaches Mozart's "Magic Flute" or perhaps even a proto-Romantic Carl Maria von Weber in his most classical and heroic mode. I last broadcast this recording on Sunday, October 13, 1991.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23RD: The operas of Leŏs Janáčk (1854 - 1928) are better known now than they ever were in his lifetime, even in his own country. Best known today and most frequently produced is the "The Cunning Little Vixen" (1924), which established an international reputation for itself only much later on in the twentieth century. It was heard on this program this past summer. Janáčk had to struggle terribly hard for recognition outside of his native land. He came from provincial Moravia. Performance in the national capital was necessary to insure success. Unfortunately, the musical genius from Brno was unwelcome at the Prague National Theatre, so his third opera "Jenufa" (1904) had to wait twelve years for the attention it deserved. This one also continues to cling to the fringe of the international operatic repertoire. In 1970 EMI cooperated with the Czechoslovak state record label Supraphon in producing what remains the definitive recording of the work. Bohumil Gregor conducted the chorus and orchestra of the National Theatre at Prague. Originally titled in Czech Jeji Pastorkine or "Her Foster Daughter.""Jenufa" is the story of a family tragedy among the Moravian peasant folk. Janáčk's theatrical genius lay in his ability to latch onto universal human emotions and situations, in the case of this story, jealousy in love and guilt over the covering-up of a heinous crime. I last broadcast "Jenufa" on Sunday, September 8, 1985. You hear it again today working from the same boxed set of Angel stereo vinyl discs

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH: Nancy Van de Vate (b. 1930) is an American composer by birth who has long lived and worked in Vienna, Austria. She has written operas in both German and English language. You've heard two of her operas with English librettos in recent times on this program, most recently Where The Cross Is Made (2005) in July of this year. That one was her operatic treatment of a play by Eugene O'Neil. Thinking of Armistice Day, on Sunday, November 7, 2004 I programmed All Quiet on the Western Front (2003), her adaptation for the lyric stage of the famous anti-war novel set during World War One. Now you get to listen to her German language opera Nemo:Jenseits von Vulkania ("Nemo: Beyond Volcania." 1994). Nemo's libretto takes its inspiration from Jules Verne's science-fiction novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. The hero of the opera is the son of Captain Nemo, the builder of the submarine Nautilus. As a stage work Nemo combines elements of adventure, romance, and fantasy. For the world premiere recording of Nemo, Toshiyuki Shimada conducted the Moravain Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus Ars Brunensis, based in the Moravian capital Brno. A 2001 release on two CDs through Vienna Modern Masters, a record label founded by the composer's late husband Clyde Smith in 1990.

SUNDAY OCTOBER 7TH: Falstaff (1893) is a marvelous finale to Giuseppe Verdi's career as an opera composer. He regarded it fondly as a labor of love. With an excellent libretto by Arrigo Boito to work from, Verdi handled the dramatic aspects of Shakespeare's comedy with a mastery unparalleled in anything he had previously written. I have broadcast two CD releases of Falstaff: the 1994 Sony Classical starring baritone Juan Pons (Sunday, April 30, 1995) and the one from LSO Live with Italian baritone Michele Pertusi in the title rôle (Sunday, February 6, 2005). Today we dig deep into the musty, dusty vaults of our WWUH classical collection to exhume a historically significant recording of Falstaff on three Angel monaural LPs. Herbert von Karajan was on the podium directing the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, plus the singers of what Angel billed in 1956 (?) as the Philharmonia Opera Company. The legendary baritone Tito Gobbi is our Falstaff, with baritone Rolando Panerai as Mister Ford. Tenor Luigi Alva participates as the young suitor Fenton. The list of operatic luminaries who took part in tapings carries on with the female voices: soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf as Mistress Ford and Anno Moffo as Nanetta. That latter name is the Italian language diminutive form of Anna that Boito assigned to the character. She's known as Mistress Anne Page in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor.

SUNDAY OCTOBER 14TH: Over the past decade or two, at long last all of the Italian opere serie of George Frideric Handel have been recorded in state-of-the-art sound and in historically informed interpretations. Many of these operas have been issued for the first time under the French Harmonia Mundi label. Perhaps the most novel and sprightly of them is Giustino (1737). The story of the Emperor Giustino is a species of rags to riches parable, rather like the English tale about Dick Whittington. It was a staple of baroque opera. Esteemed composers Legrenzi, Scarlotti, and Albinoni had written scores for successful productions of it. Handel breathed the best of his musical high spirits into the cartoonish characters. How can a theatrical production on so grand a scale fail, when as part of the spectacle the hero gets to fight with a bear and a sea monster! Nevertheless, Handel's London opera season of 1736 - 37 was pretty much a disaster. The English public was growing tired of the imported musical entertainment, sung in a language they didn't understand. Nicholas McGegan seems to have captured those Handelian high spirits well in his interpretation of Giustino for Harmonia Mundi. He directs the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (a period instrument ensemble) with countertenor Michael Chance in the title rôle. Giustino was taped in its 1994 Göttingen Festival revival. The painting reproduced on the cover of the HM two CD set resides in Hartford's own Wadsworth Athanaeum. I last broadcast Giustino on Sunday, April 14, 1996.

SUNDAY OCTOBER 21ST: The teenage Mozart had already written two operas for appreciative audiences in Milan, when in 1772 he was invited to return there to the Theatro Regio Ducale (the predecessor of La Scala) to write a new opera seria. He was commissioned to compose music for Lucio Silla - a common subject for baroque lyric theater, drawn from Roman history and dealing with the conflict between love and duty. Strangely, this was Mozart's last operatic excursion into Italy. While Lucio Silla was favorably received and ran for 26 performances, it disappeared from the stage immediately thereafter and was never revived. This was because the entire genre of Italian opera seria was passing away. The mock heroics, the male soprano castrati singers, the dull secco recitative passages and the rigid formula of the da capo arias -- all that the mature Gluck was already in the process of reforming. The young Mozart took the most progressive approach you could under the circumstances in writing a new work in an old art form. His music for Lucio Silla is, as you would expect, utterly beautiful and surprisingly dramatic. Lucio Silla was resuscitated in concert performance in the Vienna Koncerthaus in 1989 in historically-informed eighteenth-century musical style. Nikolaus Harnoncourt directed his own period instrument ensemble, the Concentus Musicus. Teldec release the recording on two compact discs, which I last broadcast on this program on Sunday, October 17, 1993.

SUNDAY OCTOBER 28TH: Halloweentide programming calls for something magical, even if it might be out of its proper season. I have broadcast Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1596) at the appropriate time of year, i.e. at the summer solstice, on Sunday, June 23, 1985. On that occasion I presented the entire spoken-word comedy as recorded in 1960 for Decca/Argo in their stereo LP series of the complete plays of the Bard. One year previous to that, however, I broadcast Benjamin Britten's opera of the same name, which premiered at the 1960 Aldeburgh Festival in England. For that Decca/London recording Britten himself conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, with a singing cast that included the pioneering countertenor Alfred Deller in the rôle of Oberon, King of the Fairies, and Britten's lover tenor Peter Pears as Lysander. Britten and Pears prepared the libretto themselves, using about one half of Shakespeare's original verse. They added virtually nothing. In 2004 Decca reissued all their classic recordings of Britten's operas in a ten-CD box. In most of them the composer is conducting. The first two CDs in the package are devoted to A Midsummer Night's Dream, the same recording heard in LP format on this program twenty three years ago.

The first person I must thank as I look back to my programming for the Fall of 2007 is my WWUH radio colleague Bob Walsh. Earlier this year he substituted for me on certain Sundays, often on relatively short notice. He will be doing so again on the second Sunday in September. I'm sure to call on him for Sundays to come. As always, I thank Rob Meehan, who was a classical music deejay on this station three decades ago, for loaning me for broadcast various items from his extensive private record collection. He's a specialist in the "alternative musics" of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This time around he loaned me his Albany Records copy of Daron Aric Hagen's Bandanna and the boxed Decca CD set that includes Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. From my own holdings of opera on silver disc come J. C. Bach's Amadis des Gaules and Mozart's Lucio Silla. All the other featured recordings new or old, on LP or CD come from our WWUH classical music record library - an enormous collection, to be sure, which keeps on growing.

Scheduled Music Test

WWUH Classical Programming – September/October 2007
Sunday Afternoon at the Opera… Sundays 1:00 – 4:30 pm
Evening Classics… Weekdays 4:00 to 7:00/ 8:00 pm
Drake’s Village Brass Band… Mondays 7:00-8:00 pm

Sun 2 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…Hagan: Bandanna
Mon 3 Sowerby: All on a Summer’s Day; Converse: Flivver
10 Million; Bax: On the Sea Shore; Macdowell: Woodland Sketches; Buck: Variations on the Last Rose of Summer
Drake’s Village Brass Band…Summer Time Band
Concert #7 – Drake’s Grand Finale
Tue 4 Host’s Choice
Wed 5 Host’s Choice
Thu 6 Steve’s Favorites. An annual indulgence in which
your host plays some of his favorite recordings…
Mozart: Magic Flute Overture; Monteverdi: Vespro
Dello Beate Virgine; Beethoven: Piano Sonata #14
“Moonlight”; Rachmaninov: Symphony #2
Fri 7 On the 20th Century Limited…Music to Celebrate the
Labor Day Holiday
Sun 9 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…Puccini: Edgar
Mon 10 Hindemith: Ludus Tonalis; Foulds: Mirage;
Persichetti: Symphony #7 “Liturgical”; Grosz: Afrika-Songs; Hindemith: Suite 1922
Drake’s Village Brass Band…Malcolm Arnold for
Tue 11 Barber: Piano Sonata, Op. 26; Richter: Sinfonia #53
Borodin: String Quartet #1; Berlioz: Requiem
Wed 12 Host’s Choice
Thu 13 Lombardini Sirman: Violin Concerto Op. 3 #1;
Beethoven: Piano Sonata #15; C. Schumann: Piano
Sonata in G Minor; Palestrina: Lamentations of
Jeremiah – 3rd Book; Foote: Chamber Music;
Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire, Piano Concerto;
Jarre: Film Music
Fri 14 On the 20th Century Limited…The White-haired
Girl – Music of the Chinese Ballet
Sun 16 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…J. C. Bach:
Amadis des Gaules
Mon 17 Chadwick: Piano Pieces; Hovhaness: Concerto #10
For Piano, Trumpet and Strings; Persichetti:
Symphony #8, Symphony #9 “Janiculum”
Drake’s Village Brass Band…U. S. Air Force Band –
Songs of the Earth
Tue 18 Host’s Choice
Wed 19 Host’s Choice
Thu 20 Host’s Choice, including new releases and new
additions to the WWUH library
Fri 21 On the 20th Century Limited…Bruch: Kol Neidre and
Other Music for the Jewish High Holidays
Sun 23 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…Janacek: Jenufa
Mon 24 Copland: Music for a Great City; Herrmann: The
Devil and Daniel Webster Suite; Weill: Little Three
Penny Music; Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilieras #2;
North: 2001 A Space Odyssey
Drake’s Village Brass Band…Philip Jones Brass
Ensemble – The Battle
Tue 25 Continuation of several ongoing series:
Shostakovich: Preludes and Fugues, J. S. Bach:
Well Tempered Klavier Book 2; Rubbra: Symphonies;
Milhaud: Symphonies; Arnold: Works
Wed 26 Host’s Choice
Thu 27 Roman: Golovin Music; Arcadelt: Missa Noe Noe;
Beethoven: Piano Sonata #16; Faure: Violin Sonata
#1; Scott: Festival Overture, Violin Concerto
Fri 28 On the 20th Century Limited… “What You Will” –
Host’s Choice as Will Mackey fills in for the
Vacationing Larry
Sun 30 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…Van de Vae:
Nemo: Janseits von Vulkania
Mon 1 Guarnieri: Symphonies #2 & 3; Hovhaness:
Armenian Rhapsodies; Elgar: The Starlight Express
Drake’s Village Brass Band…Washington Symphonic
Brass – Nielsen on Brass
Tue 2 Host’s Choice
Wed 3 Host’s Choice
Thu 4 Tempestuous Tunes…Purcell: The Tempest Overture;
Vivaldi: Concerto “Tempesta di Mare”; Salieri: Sinfonia “ Tempesta di Mare”; Beethoven: Piano
Sonata #17; Liley: The Tempset; Chausson: The
Tempest, Op. 18 – Dances; Tchaikovsky: The Tempest, Op. 18; Sibelius: The Tempest, Op. 109
Fri 5 On the 20th Century Limited… The Kronos Plays…!
Sun 7 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera… Verdi: Falstaff
Mon 8 Color Symphonies…Various: Tone Poems of Color;
Torke: Ecstatic Orange; Bliss: A Colour Symphony;
Corigliano: The Red Violin – Chaconne for Violin and
Orchestra; Ellington: Black, Brown and Beige;
Russo: Street Music – A Blues Concerto
Drake’s Village Brass Band…Washington Symphonic
Brass- Ancient Airs for Brass and Organ
Tue 9 Sibelius: Piano Quintet in G Minor; Lieberson:
Neruda Songs; Gorecki: Symphony #2; Schubert:
Mass #1 in F Major
Wed 10 Host’s Choice
Thu 11 Fischer: Le Journal des Printemps – Suite 1;
Beethoven: Piano Sonata #18; Josquin: Songs and
Motets; Herschel: Symphonies 12 -14; Shostakovich:
October, Op. 131; Dett: Magnolia Suite; Morricone:
Film Music; Wolf-Ferrari: Suite Concertino;
Prokofiev: String Quartet #1
Fri 12 On the 20th Century Limited…The Juliet Letters:
A Song Sequence for String Quartet and voice –
played in its entirety in response to listener
feedback to excerpts
Sun 14 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…Handel: Giustino
Mon 15 Prokofiev: Waltz Suite; Britten: Death in Venice
Suite; Korngold: Deception; Rozsa: Spellbound
Drake’s Village Brass Band…Triton Trombone
Quartet – Triton’s Journey
Tue 16 Host’s Choice
Wed 17 Host’s Choice
Thu 18 Lawes: Consort Music; Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
#19 & #20; Galuppi: Concerto in C; Schutz:
Deutches Magnificat; Foerster: Symphony #4;
Biggs: Triple Concerto; Faure: Violin Sonata #2
Fri 19 On the 20th Century Limited…Native American
Music of R. Carlo Nakai
Sun 21 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…Mozart: Lucio Silla
Mon 22 Monday Night at the Movies… Herrmann: Torn
Curtain; Rozsa: Madame Bouvery; North: Viva
Zapata, Death of a Salesman
Drake’s Village Brass Band…Persichetti- Band Works
Tue 23 Stamitz: Clarinet Concerto #11; Myaskovsky:
Symphony #25; Borodin: String Quartet #2;
Bruckner: Te Deum
Wed 24 Host’s Choice
Thu 25 Bizet: L’Arlesienne – Complete; J. Strauss II: Waltzes
and Polkas; Grechaninov: Symphony #2; G. A.
Schumann: Sacred Songs; Rogister: String Quartet
#2; Burrell: Resurrection; Lieberson: Neruda Songs
Fri 26 On the 20th Century Limited…Pre-Halloween music –
Glass: Dracula; Strauss: Death and Transfiguration
Sun 28 Sunday Afternoon at the Opera…Britten: A
Midsummer Night’s Dream
Mon 29 Collins: Masque of the Red Death; Sowerby: Theme
in Yellow; Elfman: Mummy, Daddy; Gould: Jekyll
and Hyde Variations; Kaper: Them!
Drake’s Village Brass Band…French Trumpet
Concertos, John Holt Trumpet
Tue 30 Continuation of several ongoing series:
Shostakovich: Preludes and Fugues, J. S. Bach:
Well Tempered Klavier Book 2; Rubbra: Symphonies;
Milhaud: Symphonies; Arnold: Works
Wed 31 Host’s Choice