99.5 WCRB Most Popular Articles

O mio babbino caro….

By Laura Carlo   |   Tuesday, October 25, 2011
3 Comments   3 comments.

Oct. 26

My father was facing surgery early one April many years ago and was dismayed that just before he had to go into the hospital his order of a dozen-plus heritage rose bushes was delivered early - too early to plant for our Boston gardening zone. Dad had specified that they be delivered two months later ... but things can go wrong with mail order....and now he had to deal with all these roses.

It was important that these rose bushes were saved because roses are very important to us as a family. When we children were born my father picked a rose from his own prize-winners every day and placed it in a vase near our cribs. He kept that up the whole first year of our lives: Red for his first-born, rosy-cheeked me, yellow for my fair little sister and healthy pink for his strapping son---so that the first thing that his "babies would see when they awoke was a rose.”

I returned the favor when Daddy turned 65---66 ruby red long stemmed roses (one to grown on)!

Now what to do with all these bare root rose bushes scrunched up in a soggy set of cardboard buckets left by the delivery man on the cold front stairs? Even though Daddy was a master rose gardener it was a huge task for one person, and given his impending surgery and the time of year there wasn't any time to waste, so I volunteered to help him.

I had never planted a rose bush before, but my father was very patient with me as he showed me step-by-step how to prepare the planting holes, test and amend the soil with organic compost and materials, carefully part the roots and plant and water just so. He showed me how, and just as important, he carefully explained "why" for each step. My usually quiet father was inspired to share with me how much he had loved roses from when he was a little boy. Although he often went hungry in war-torn Italy, and he was frightened of the sounds of war as a youngster, his mother kept pointing out to him that there was still beauty to be found in the world, including the exquisite, perfumed roses of Rome. He never forgot how roses came to symbolize all things hopeful and beautiful.

We worked quietly, then, side by side, and saving those rose bushes took us most of that day. When we were done my father surprised me by hanging a little sign that he had had a local hardware store make that read “The Laura Rose Garden,” something he was intending to do all along. He secured it to one of the larger front rose bushes for all passersby to see.

I have been winning trophies and ribbons and accolades my whole life but no prize ever meant so much to me.

No, not the naming.

The chance to plant roses with my father.

Rest in peace, my Daddy Carlo.

(image of rose by Parvin via Flickr;  Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tenor Joseph Calleja in Live Video Webcast

By Tom Huizenga/NPR Music   |   Sunday, October 23, 2011
0 Comments   0 comments.

Classical New England, with NPR Music, brings you a live video webcast of one of today's most exciting young opera stars.  To celebrate the release of "The Maltese Tenor," Joseh Calleja performs at Le Poisson Rouge, in New York City's Greenwich Village.

Join us at 7:30pm for the webcast (audio only or video), and join in the discussion with other listeners below.

As a kid growing up on the tiny island of Malta, Joseph Calleja was always singing something -- nursery rhymes, pop songs. He even grooved to heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden (still does, actually). And then one day he watched a movie that would change his life --The Great Caruso, starring American tenor Mario Lanza.

"When he launched into 'Tarentella Napoletana,'" Calleja recalls, "I absolutely was amazed at the sound quality of his voice, and I was hooked since then."

These days, Calleja sings in the best opera houses and enjoys the career of an opera star -- although he doesn't think of himself that way. Maybe that's why he's hosting this record release party and concert for his new album, "The Maltese Tenor," at one of Greenwich Village's hippest music clubs, (Le) Poisson Rouge. He's invited a few friends, too -- violinist Daniel Hope and fellow opera singers Luca Pisaroni and Katie Van Kooten, as well as an orchestra and conductor Steven Mercurio.

Calleja's sound -- marked by a warm, flickering vibrato and the ability to float soft high notes to the rafters -- sets him apart from other tenors today. Just a few notes and you know it's him singing. But while his sound is his own, Calleja has at least partly modeled it on such great tenors from a century ago as Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Tito Schipa and Alessandro Bonci.

"In some ways I do try and not imitate but emulate what they did," Calleja says. "You can immediately recognize their ethereal style of singing. Everything is floating on the breath. That's what the Italians call cantare soffiato, singing on the breath. They make it sound effortless, but it isn't. And that should be the prerequisite for anyone who wants to sing bel canto, the ability to spin those kind of phrases but also to bring them down to a whisper."

Calleja will have plenty of opportunity to show off his old school sound in this concert of opera arias by Verdi, Puccini, Massenet and Bizet. Please join us in the chat room we'll have open during the concert to discuss the music.

On the program:

VERDI: "Forse, la soglia" (Ballo in Maschera)

PUCCINI: "Recondita armonia" (Tosca)

DVORAK: "Song to the Moon" (Rusalka)

MASSENET: "Porquoi me reveiller" (Werther)

PUCCINI: "E lucevan le stelle" (Tosca)

BIZET: "Au fond du temple" (Pearl Fishers)

PUCCINI: "O soave fanciulla" (La Boheme)

MOZART: "Madamina" (Don Giovanni)

LARA: "Granada"

DI CAPUA: "O Sole Mio"

D'HARDELOT: "Because"

(image of Joseph Calleja by Johannes Ifkovitz, courtesy of the artist)

Audio-only stream:


Franz Liszt at 200

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
0 Comments   0 comments.

Franz Liszt (via Wikimedia Commons)

Classical New England celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt with special broadcasts and on-demand performances that highlight the range and genius of this unique musical figure.



Marc-André Hamelin (image by Fran Kaufman, courtesy of the artist)

Pianist Marc-André Hamelin gave a concert dedicated to Liszt in our Fraser Performance Studio, broadcast nationally by American Public Media. 
One of today's great Liszt interpreters, Hamelin was joined by Fred Child, host of Performance Today, heard on Classical New England each weeknight at 7pm, and a studio audience.  Along with Liszt's greatest piano masterpiece, the Sonata in B minor, Hamelin also performed Waldesrauschen and the Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H.

Hear the program and see a slideshow on-demand


Franz Liszt birthplace, Raiding, Austria (image courtesy of Liszt Festival Raiding)

Several commemorative concerts took place in Europe, and Classical New England brings you highlights from several of them.  Cathy Fuller hosts a program that includes performances from the Liszt Festival in Raiding, Austria, with the Vienna Academy Orchestra and conductor Martin Haselböck, as well as highlights from a concert at Prague Conservatory with pianist Jitka Cechová, Schubert song transcriptions by Liszt performed by Luiza Borac at Romanian Radio Concert Hall, and choral works sung by the BBC Singers at Wigmore Hall in London.

Hear the program on-demand

Christian Thielemann (image by Matthias Creutziger, courtesy of Staatskapelle Dresden

Monday, Oct. 24, through Friday, Oct. 28, at noon, Alan McLellan's Café Europa presents works from more European concerts in commemoration of the Liszt bicentennial, including a concert given in Bayreuth with conductor Christian Thielemann and pianist Konstantin Sherbakov.  Selections include Liszt's two piano concertos, as well as Totentanz. 

Here is the complete schedule:

Wanderer Fantasy
Peter Roesel, piano; Orchestre National de France; Manlio Benzi, conductor

Hear the performance on-demand

Piano Concerto No. 1
Benedetto Lupo, piano; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Marc Andreae, conductor

Hear the performance on-demand

Piano Concerto No. 2
Konstantin Sherbakov, piano; Project Orchestra of the Weimar Liszt School of Music; Christian Thielemann, conductor

Hear the performance on-demand

Konstantin Sherbakov, piano; Project Orchestra of the Weimar Liszt School of Music; Christian Thielemann, conductor

Hear the performance on-demand

Les Préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Marc Andreae, conductor

Hear the performance on-demand

Classical New England's Cathy Fuller

The bicentennial also offers a chance to look at other great performances from Classical New England.  Cathy Fuller has rounded up many of her favorites, in a selection that shows the full range of the composer's genius.

Hear and read about Cathy's selections.


Violinist Sarah Chang Visits Classical New England

Thursday, October 13, 2011
0 Comments   0 comments.

Sarah Chang has been one of the top soloists in the classical music world for years.  She was eight years old when she performed her debut with the New York Philharmonic, and now, as a young woman, her regular appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and others are season highlights.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, at 3pm, Sarah Chang performs at Symphony Hall in Boston, with pianist Andrew von Oeyen.  Presented by Celebrity Series of Boston, the program includes two pieces by Johannes Brahms, the Fantasy by Christopher Theofanidis, and the great Sonata in A by César Franck.

On Friday, Oct. 14, Sarah Chang and pianist Andrew von Oeyen offered a preview of the program with Classical New England host Cathy Fuller and a studio audience. 

To hear the program, click on "Listen" above.

And for more about Sarah Chang, watch this feature from CNN International:

2011-2012 Classical Season Preview with Jeremy Eichler

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
0 Comments   0 comments.

Boston Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler joins Brian McCreath of Classical New England to talk about some of the highlights of the 2011-2012 classical music season in Boston.

Jeremy Eichler (image courtesy of Boston Globe)

Boston and New England are home to a unique classical music concert life.  A cultural history measured in centuries, an unparalleled collection of colleges and universities, and a legacy of visionary individuals are only a few of the factors that have led to a yearly calendar of concerts and events that are impossible to comprehensively enumerate.

Jeremy Eichler and Brian McCreath talk through a few events that represent just the tip of the iceberg, divided into categories that, together, define New England's musical life and make up a wealth of concert possibilities.


For more information about the companies and performances mentioned and more, visit
Boston Lyric Opera
Opera Boston
Boston Baroque
Boston Early Music Festival

Listen to Zhou Long's Pulitzer Prize winning opera Madame White Snake on demand

Chamber Music

For more information about the ensembles and series mentioned and more, visit
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston Chamber Music Society
New England Conservatory's Professional String Quartet Training Program
Borromeo String Quartet
Muir String Quartet
Lydian String Quartet
Chameleon Arts Ensemble
Andover Chamber Music Series

Boston's Local and Regional Orchestras

For more information about the orchestras mentioned and more, visit
Discovery Ensemble
Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
A Far Cry
Boston Classical Orchestra
Boston Landmarks Orchestra
Orchestra of Indian Hill
Boston Civic Symphony
Atlantic Symphony Orchestra

Boston Symphony Orchestra

For more information about the BSO season, visit the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Hear the most recent BSO concerts and features on demand and see the broadcast schedule from Classical New England.

New Music

(music samples from Fragments with the Brentano String Quartet courtesy of the artists)

For more information about the specific events mentioned and more, visit

Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Boston Musica Viva
Collage New Music
Alea III
Chameleon Arts Ensemble
Radius Ensemble
Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble

Here is a video introduction to Fragments, to be performed by the Brentano String Quartet on Sunday, Oct. 16, presented by Rockport Music:

Early Music

To hear more from the Rosary, or Mystery, Sonatas with violinist Christina Day Martinson and harpsichordist Martin Pearlman, visit Live from Fraser.

For more information about the specific events mentioned and more, visit
Boston Camerata
Boston Early Music Festival
Handel and Haydn Society
Boston Baroque
Cambridge Society for Early Music
Musicians of the Old Post Road
Blue Heron Renaissance Choir

For Jeremy Eichler's full preview of classical music for Fall 2011, visit the Boston Globe.

(image of Boston skyline:  Boston Skyline At Night By Archon Fung (Arfung at en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)


Welcome To Classical Late Night

By James David Jacobs   |   Monday, October 3, 2011
2 Comments   2 comments.


Oct. 3

Tonight I'm very happy to take on a new role at Classical New England as your late-night host. I hope you’ll join me from 9pm until 1am, Monday-Thursday, for a chance to hear a wide variety of music, from classic orchestral and chamber works to off-the-beaten track surprises from our own time and centuries before.

We’ll begin with a favorite of mine whenever inaugurating a new show: Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 1, K. 412, in the classic recording by Dennis Brain with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra.

One small caveat: It's not really a concerto. It's two concerto movements, written several years apart, and many scholars think that the second movement was completed from Mozart's sketches by Franz Xaver Süssmayr, the same man who completed Mozart's Requiem. I've always loved this movement, which contains a bit of a Gregorian Easter Hymn and has contrapuntal passages that remind me of the Clarinet Concerto, also a product of Mozart's last year; I have a hard time believing it's not authentic, but I'd think it was great music no matter who wrote it.

The show will continue with Brahms's Symphony No. 1. My cello teacher, Millie Rosner, declared the first ten measures of the piece to constitute the longest phrase ever composed. When it's performed correctly, you shouldn't be able to breathe during those measures. Let's see how Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony Orchestra affects your respiratory system.

A more intimate sound takes over in the 10pm. After Radu Lupu plays the Schubert Impromptu in A-flat, we’ll hear a string quartet by the 74-year-old Leos Janacek inspired by his fervent love for the much younger Kamila Stosslova. Janacek himself named the quartet "Intimate Letters," intended to reflect the character of their relationship that was never consummated physically, but thrived through the over 700 passionate letters they exchanged.

11pm is when we’ll turn to works of more recent vintage, and I can't think of a better way to begin than by celebrating the 75th birthday of Steve Reich, born in New York City on October 3, 1936.

To call Steve Reich the greatest of the Minimalists is to, well, minimize him; what is so extraordinary about his work is that, no matter how high-concept one of his pieces is, you come away from it feeling that you have experienced a piece of MUSIC. This is certainly reflected in the three works we will hear tonight.

Cello Counterpoint, from 2003, is the latest of his four "Counterpoint" pieces, each of which features one live performer accompanied by a tape of multiple tracks of that same performer. Reich says of this work that it is "the freest in structure of any I have written." (Some moments of it sound a little like Janacek!)

After this comes a performance you can only hear on Classical New England, in its first-ever broadcast. In November 2007, New England Conservatory presented a series of all-Reich concerts in Jordan Hall. From that series we'll hear members of NEC Wind Ensemble perform City Life, a 1995 composition which incorporates snippets of recorded sounds and speech, operated manually on sampling keyboards, into what is essentially a work for chamber orchestra. Among the recorded sounds are car horns, air brakes, door slams, and, in an eerie foreshadowing of his his most recent composition, actual field communications of the New York City Fire Department on February 26, 1993, the day the World Trade Center was bombed the first time. In its transformation of speech patterns into music the work is reminiscent of his early tape-loop pieces, It's Gonna Rain and Come Out.

The final work in our Reich celebration is a celebratory work indeed, Tehillim, a setting of texts from Psalms, 18, 19, 34 and 150. An exuberant work, it’s also widely acknowledged to be one of Reich's masterpieces, and a very appropriate one for the Jewish High Holy Days. K. Robert Schwarz said of this work that "Its tricky, syncopated, toe-tapping rhythms could only have come from the pen of a man who loves bebop and Stravinsky in equal measure."

As we enter the wee hours of Tuesday our new show will turn to two works about creation, the beginning of all things. Shortly after midnight is Jean-Fery Rebel’s ballet Les Elemens, a French Baroque ballet whose first note sounds as bracingly modern as Reich: all seven notes of the D minor scale sounded simultaneously, representing Chaos. Cosmos soon reigns, however, with a series of charming dance movements, rooted in the popular music of the time.

We then jump ahead nearly two centuries to end with another French ballet about the beginning of the world that combines bracing modernism with earthy populism: Milhaud's 1923 ballet La Creation du Monde. In the 1920s several classical composers incorporated jazz, or rather jazz-like elements, into their work. Leonard Bernstein said of this work: "I take the liberty of calling this work a masterpiece because it has the one real requisite of a masterpiece — durability. Among all of those experiments with jazz that Europe flirted with in this period, only The Creation of the World emerges complete, not as a flirtation but as a real love affair with jazz."

I hope you'll join me for our nightly love affair with music on Classical New England!

(image of Boston skyline:  By Luciof (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

About the Authors


Support for WGBH is provided by:
Become a WGBH sponsor


You are on page 12 of 15   |