Classic Mornings

I’m Excited!


I’m excited – about a number of things. One of those is that I get to share a little bit of excitement about Classic Mornings with you via a blog for the first time. Sometimes there’s so much left over after each day’s program. Now I have another way of reaching you.

For those who are not familiar with Classic Mornings, it’s WILL-FM’s weekday morning program of classical music, stories, celebrations and a good time. I’m the host of the program, which is approaching its 4th anniversary. It was just a year ago that we began streaming WILL-FM. I’m always excited to know where listeners are joining us each day outside of the FM broadcast area.  Until I actually know, I imagine all sorts of places, whether or not it’s even morning in those places.

Classic Mornings is heard Monday through Friday from 9 to noon, but we get a jump start on the program at 8:50 with what we call the Classic Morning Prelude. In some ways, it’s the last item on Morning Edition on WILL-FM (FM 90.9). But really, it’s so much in the spirit of Classic Mornings that it’s indeed a prelude to the program. The Classic Morning Prelude sometimes features music celebrations of the day, new or recent recordings or a topic related to classical music. Like Classic Mornings, I would hope that both classical music listeners and those who don’t consider themselves to be classical music listeners will find the Classic Morning Prelude enjoyable. Over the past couple of weeks, we remembered American conductor Robert Shaw on the 15th anniversary of his passing, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Italian ensemble Concerto Italiano with selections from the group’s new recording of string concertos by Vivaldi, and we celebrated cellist Lynn Harrell’s 70th birthday – as I related his recent adventures of dealing with an airline that took away not only his frequent flyer miles, but those accumulated by his instrument, which he refers to in his blogs as Mr. Cello.

We also got ready for the Super Bowl with a little wishful anticipation. Soprano Renée Fleming was invited to sing the national anthem. We sort of prepared for the possibility of her being asked to step in and perform the halftime show in an emergency (after all, it’s been so cold these past weeks that it may well be approaching that ultimate freezing over that would be a precondition for her to actually be booked for the halftime show). I had joked about the fact that she could perform in the event of a no-show, suggesting that the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, which accompanied Renée Fleming, was already a no-show (that is, pre-recorded). As it turned out, the instruments of the Red Hot Chili Peppers were also no-shows (pre-recorded). So, our little anticipation wasn’t totally far-fetched. (By the way, nothing against Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I hope all who watched the halftime show enjoyed it. The situation simply presented the chance to have a little fun)

Back to my initial excitement. Some interesting recordings arrived recently thanks to a few generous record companies/distributors which have provided us with some welcome additions to the Friends of WILL-Library. One of the things I get excited about is adding the names of  composers we’ve never heard of to the list of those that many have heard and will continue to hear.  A recent recording from the ensemble Aretmandoline features music for the mandolin from 18th Century Paris titled Les Galanteries (Brilliant Classics 94636). Just to be sure you haven’t heard any of the names of the composers before, I’ll try out a few on you:  Zaneboni (and no, as I mentioned on a recent Classic Morning Prelude, the name is not to be confused with that equipment that’s fun to watch and which resurfaces ice arenas.), Signorelli, Castro de Gistau & Botelho de Ferreira. The composers were from Spain, Naples, Portugal and wrote works for mandolins and guitars at a time when those instruments were fashionable in Paris. Joan Carlos Munõz, one of the founding mandolinists of Artemandoline has written the notes for the recording. He tells us that in fact noblemen were hiring mandolin teachers and hosting salon programs on which songs were sung with mandolin or guitar accompaniment and instrumental works for those instruments were performed.  Listeners have long enjoyed the works by Vivaldi that include mandolins. We’ve heard music by Beethoven and Hummel for the mandolin. And there are the works of their guitarist contemporaries Fernando Sor and Mauro Giuliani. But here’s not only a new list of composers to add, but some fine performances featuring members of the ensemble devoted to music for the mandolin.

There was so much more, just these past couple of weeks. Be sure to join us for Classic Mornings, Monday through Friday from 9-noon, and the Classic Morning Prelude just before at 8:50 on FM 90.9 or streaming online.

We’re about to begin a fund drive. In anticipation of that, I want to thank listeners whose support has helped keep classical music on the radio in East Central Illinois. Many are aware that not all communities have classical music on the radio. We have it because of the generosity of our listeners. Whether you listen occasionally, periodically or day and night, please consider making a contribution in any amount. Thank you! And stay tuned.