VPR Classical

VPR Classical is Vermont's statewide classical music station. We bring you the broad world of classical music with a strong local connection: local hosts throughout the week, live performances, news about events in your community, and more.

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VPR Classical hosts, clockwise from the top left: Helen Lyons, Walter Parker, James Stewart and Linda Radtke.

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Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Vermont Symphony Orchestra
Jaime Laredo, conductor
Bella Hristova, violin

Dvorak: Romance in F minor, Op. 11
Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68

Listen Wednesday October 16 at 8 p.m.

This beautiful Japanese handscroll painting dates back to 1130CE, about the time of Otomae.
U.S. Public Domain

As we’ve explored the book The Mystery of Music, by Vermont author Lewis Holmes, we’ve traveled to ancient Sumeria, two eras of Egypt, Israel, Greece and China. Today, we’ll visit medieval Japan and learn about the life of one remarkable composer/singer, named Otomae.

Trio Sefardi Live

Oct 14, 2019

Trio Sefardi visits VPR's Stetson Studio One for a live preview of their program of music from the Sephardic Jewish tradition, which they'll perform in several locations around Vermont.

The Opera Company of Middlebury visits VPR's Stetson Studio One for a live preview of their production of Puccini's Tosca.

This is a depiction of a Chinese man negoitating with a courtesan, much like Fu Niang.
U.S. Public Domain

There is so much power in language, names and the meanings of words. Take, for instance, the Chinese symbols used for the word courtesan or prostitute, chang and ji. These symbols are closely related to those for sing and talent. This is no coincidence. Chinese courtesans were known for their musical ability along with the carnal services they provided. In Lewis Holmes’ book The Mystery of Music we learn about one such courtesan in the city Chang’an during the Tang dynasty. Her name was Fu Niang; which is sadly ironic because though her name means “lucky damsel” Fu Niang’s life was anything but lucky.

Emperor Wudi was a warrior king. Under his rule, the Western Han Empire grew to a strength it would not see again for nearly a millennium.
U.S. Public Domain

Let's continue our exploration through Lewis Holmes book The Mystery of Music and travel to ancient China around 100 BCE. Listen to the words of this beautiful ode written so long ago...

Vermont pianist Diane Huling visits VPR's Stetson Studio One for a live performance preview of her Barre Opera House recital, which will include works of Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

Christian Steiner

Vermont Symphony Orchestra
Jaime Laredo, conductor

Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Listen Wednesday October 2 at 8 p.m.

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chorus, and Singers
Sakari Oramo, conductor
Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano

Festivities, favorites, and audience participation

Listen Friday September 27 at 8 p.m.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture  (Raymond Leppard, conductor)
Dvorak: Symphony No. 6 in D, Op. 60  (Anthony Princiotti, conductor)

Listen Wednesday September 25 at 8 p.m.

This classic statue depicts Apollo with the concert lyre, the eleven stringed cithara.
U.S. Public Domain

During the time of Alexander the Great, the city of Athens gave rise to something new in Greek culture. Up to this point, music was seen as subordinate to words; melody and rhythm worked in service to text or “logos.” Around 5th century BCE “The New Music” movement challenged these ideas introducing songs without words, new musical tools like modulation, intense competitions and a new instrument, the cithara. The cithara was a concert lyre with as many as eleven strings. The greatest virtuoso on this new instrument was the famed Stratonicus of Athens; at least that’s how he tells the story.

From the 2019 BBC Proms:
Vienna Philharmonic
Andres Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Leonidas Kavakos, violin

Dvorak: Noonday Witch
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 From the New World
Janacek: Sinfonietta  (Charles Mackerras, conductor)

Listen Friday September 20 at 8 p.m.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Kodaly: Dances of Galanta  (Kate Tamarkin, conductor)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2 Little Russian  (Anthony Princiotti, conductor)
Mozart: Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio  (Sarah Hicks, conductor)

Listen Wednesday September 18 at 8 p.m.

Pindar was an ancient Greek poet who specialized in writing epinikia, victoy odes in honor of Olympic crown winners.
U.S. Public Domain

John Williams composed the "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" for the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles. The practice of celebrating sportsmanship through music and verse is almost as old as the games themselves, going all the way back to ancient Greece.

From the 2019 BBC Proms:
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, conductor
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello

Howell: Lamia
Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor
Knussen: The Way to Castle Yonder
Weinberg: Symphony No. 3
Haydn: Symphony No. 102 in B-flat  (Simon Rattle, conductor)

Listen Friday September 13 at 8 p.m.

This famous painting by Rembrandt depicts young David playing the lyre for King Saul to ease the king's mind.
U.S. Public Domain

We are continuing our series of episodes based on the biographical sketches found in Lewis Holmes' book The Mystery of Music. This story dates back to ancient Israel, around 1000 BCE.

Glenn Moody Studios

Vermont Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Robert De Cormier, conductor
Jonita Lattimore, soprano; Susan Platts, alto; Richard Clement, tenor; Kevin Deas, bass

Faure: Requiem
Mozart: Requiem (selections)

Listen Wednesday September 11 at 8 p.m.

From the 2019 BBC Proms:
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
Alexander Ghindin, piano

Rimsky-Korsakov: Mlada Suite
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1
Lyadov: Baba Yaga; Kikimora; From the Apocalypse
Glazunov: Symphony No. 5

Listen Friday September 6 at 8 p.m.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven: Egmont Overture  (Anthony Princiotti, conductor)
Weber: Oberon Overture  (Jaime Laredo, conductor)
Elgar: Enigma Variations  (Jaime Laredo, conductor)

Listen Wednesday September 4 at 8 p.m.

This is a scene inscribed on the tomb of Nefertari in the "Valley of the Queens," a burial site in ancient Egypt, used for centuries.
U.S. Public Domain

This next excerpt from Lewis Holmes’ book The Mystery of Music reads more like a pulp-fiction mystery novel. However, the story is preserved on 3000 year old papyri. It has torture, conspiracy, bribery and, yes, a bit of music.