January 24, 2015

Stereo Treasures

A bargain label with brilliant acoustics and low surface noise.


January 17, 2015

Beethoven: Accompaniment for drama

Beethoven's life offers strong material for drama: his struggles with deafness, his custody battle for his nephew Karl, and the enigma of "The Immortal Beloved." His music, full of storm and stress, is ideal to accompany the personal crises. All this makes for a good recipe for such a film as "Immortal Beloved." We'll hear to what dramatic purposes Beethoven's great music is put in this film. 


January 10, 2015

Recordings of Polish pianist Paderewski

From the 1890s on, he was the most famous performing artist. For his adoring concert audiences, Paderewski was the embodiment of the concept "piano virtuoso." His stirring advocacy of independence for his native Poland complemented his artistic image. He made a number of recordings, especially of the piano music of Chopin. We'll look at his recorded legacy.


January 03, 2015

50 years ago in classical music

What did the classical music record business look like 50 years ago? We will looks at winners of the 1965 classical Grammy awards. Certain names are predictable and still have a famous ring to them: Horowitz, Heifetz, von Karajan. Other names have faded, like snows of yesteryear. And guess who was Most Promising New Artist? Listen in Saturday and find out!


December 27, 2014

A labyrinth of Stravinsky recordings

Stravinsky gets many votes as greatest classical composer of the 20th century. He also spent a lifetime conducting his music. Thanks to Columbia Records, a collection of 22 compact discs contains just about everything Stravinsky recorded. Now that collection is available at bargain prices. The pleasures of this set are plentiful, but its scope is somewhat daunting. I will explore the labyrinth. 


December 20, 2014

Christmas vocal and orchestral performances

As Christmas approaches, we will feature some famous vocal performances of Christmas carols by famous singers of the past, such as Jussi Bjorling, as well as orchestral performances of works associated with the Christmas season. 


December 13, 2014

Handel’s ‘Messiah’: Old and new

Handel's Messiah is probably the most often-recorded Baroque work (after Vivaldi's Four Seasons). The commentary about what version to perform is immense and controversial. Older recordings resemble Victorian performances with gigantic choruses. In recent decades, leaner, authentic instrument performances have become more popular, and there are recordings in between the extremes. We will sample old and newer performances. 


December 06, 2014

Performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

Beethoven's Violin Concerto premiered in 1806. After a slow start, it became in the 19th century one of the most important concertos in the violin repertory. In the days of 78 rpm recording, great  violinists were eager to get their interpretations on discs. We will hear how Fritz Kreisler, Josef Szigeti and Jascha Heifetz played it. 


November 29, 2014

Harvest music

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness ..." As befits the second day after Thanksgiving, we will play some music of the season of autumn, of the gathering of harvests and the expressing of thanks.


November 22, 2014

Casals chamber ensemble

One of the outstanding chamber ensembles of the early 20th century was composed of the great cellist Pablo Casals and two outstanding French musicians, the violinist Jacques Thibaud and the pianist Alfred Cortot. Together they recorded in the 1920s and 1930s some of the classics of the piano trio repertory. We will sample some of their recordings. 


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WILL Highlights

Big questions somewhat answered

Big Picture Science: 5 pm Saturday on WILL-AM. The show will provide answers to the biggest cosmic puzzlers of our time. Somewhat.