Classic Mornings

Not Totally Eclipsed

classic morning logo bird

We’re headed for another milestone! We’ve just begun our 15th year of Classic Mornings!

No, outside of this blog, you haven’t read all about it. The headlines belong to the major events taking place around the world. Yet many listeners across central Illinois continue to tune in each weekday morning to enjoy classical music, along with stories and celebrations which are a part of that music. We’ve had the opportunity to get together from 9-noon for nearly a decade and a half. That’s very special!

I’m always amazed by the steady flow of milestone music celebrations that become a part of the program. And I’m excited that Classic Mornings itself is in the spotlight for having begun its 15th year.

Just over the past few weeks, there have been some memorable anniversaries. I’ve also learned about several that aren’t specific to any particular day. The Coull String Quartet, based in England, celebrates its 50th this year. We’ve enjoyed selections from their recording of Felix Mendelssohn’s quartets. That CD turns 30 this year. On March 25, we celebrated the 325th anniversary of the birth of Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783), who was successful as an opera composer in his time. We continue to acquire and enjoy recordings of some of his instrumental music.

Modest Mussorgsky was born on March 21, 1839 – 185 years ago. He’s best known for Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain. On that same day, Franz Schubert’s 9th symphony was performed for the first time. Long after the composer’s death, his brother presented the manuscript to Robert Schumann, who arranged for the performance in Leipzig, Germany, led by Felix Mendelssohn.

Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo wrote his famous guitar concerto (Concierto de Aranjuez) 85 years ago. 50 years ago, Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta arranged it for his instrument. And the recording of the concerto with French harpist Isabelle Moretti turns 30 this year. Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis’s collection titled A New Baroque was released 25 years ago. And Riccardo Chailly’s album of rare orchestral pieces by Puccini is now 40 years old, reminding us of Chailly’s years as music director of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Cellist Myung-Wha Chung, the eldest member of the famous Korean family of musicians, turned 80 on March 19. And the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific turned 75 on April 7.

The music world lost Italian pianist Mauizio Pollini, who died on March 23 at age 82. He won the gold medal at the 1960 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Poland. And singer/songwriter Eric Carmen passed away a few weeks ago. He was 74. Some classical and non-classical music listeners are indebted to him for introducing the music of Sergei Rachmaninov, which he borrowed for some of his songs. In turn, he became legally indebted to the Rachmaninov estate.

The Classic Mornings blog is celebrating its 10th anniversary. I began writing blogs in February 2014. On the program, I often remind listeners that all of them are archived at our website. I assure them that if they have time, I’ve got blogs. Recently, I found it amusing that while searching for a musical fact, one of my blogs popped up in the search.

We may well be eclipsed by all the happenings in the world. And podcasts may be popular. But many listeners “show up” daily for Classic Mornings. It’s a live radio program. And beyond just making use of the medium, I always hope to contribute to what radio has been at its best. It’s a community gathering as well. Listeners look forward to my keeping them company each day, just as I look forward to being with them. They’ve come to trust that I’m going to share music that they’ll enjoy hearing, both old favorites and something new. 

It’s been quite a year of acquisitions. Working with a modest budget, I carefully selected recordings with listeners in mind, and made the most of it, as I’ve done for 14 years. It has expanded the repertoire for the program, as well as for the Friends of WILL Library in general. And I introduce those new recordings gradually, so that I can give each one a bit of a spotlight, as we enjoy the stories connected with it. Some of the stories are told in the recording notes. Others, I manage to find with a bit of searching.

I’m grateful for our regular listeners, as well as for those who join us occasionally. I’m aware that someone may discover us when a single piece of music catches their attention while they’re channel-surfing. And I hope that the selections I play might entice those who never imagined themselves enjoying classical music.

Join us, if you haven’t already. Tune in Monday through Friday from 9 to noon on FM 90.9 or online at