WRTI's 60th Anniversary Classical CDs

To celebrate WRTI's 60 years on the air, we've selected some of your favorite pieces and put them together in one fabulous collection as our thanks to you - our loyal listeners!

Contribute today at the $160 level and we'll thank you with our limited-edition WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set with liner notes from your favorite hosts. Pledge Here, and Thanks!

Check out the track list below! Click on a title for an audio excerpt and more information.

CD 1
1. Marin Marais (1656-1728): Sonnerie de Saint Genevieve du Mont de Paris

2-4. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Brandenburg Concerto No.3

5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Ave verum corpus

6. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Für Elise

7. Beethoven: Romance No.2 in F

8. Morten Lauridsen (b.1943): O Magnum Mysterium

9. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): Tragic Overture

10. Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Notturno in Eb

CD 2
1. Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Tristan und Isolde. Prelude and Liebestod

2. Carl Orff (1895-1982): Carmina Burana. O Fortuna

3. Franz Biebl (1906-2001): Ave Maria (Angelus Domini)

4. Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Eclogue for Piano and Strings

5. Randall Thompson (1899-1984): Alleluia

6. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): The Lark Ascending

7. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924): Gianni Schicchi. O mio babbino caro

CD 3
1. Aaron Copland (1900-1990): Appalachian Spring

2. Stanley Myers (1930-1993): Cavatina (theme from The Deer Hunter)

3. Samuel Barber (1910-1981): Adagio for Strings

4-9. Arrigo Boito (1842-1918): Mefistofele. Prologue in Heaven

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
4:52 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Mozart, Ave Verum Corpus

Joos van Wassenhove, The Institution of the Eucharist, 1473-75

from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Ave verum corpus, performed by the Kosice Teachers’ Choir and Camerata Cassovia, conducted by Johannes Wildner, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

Mozart wrote this for a church musician friend of his, for the Feast of Corpus Christi. “Hail, true Body” is sung at the central moment of the Catholic liturgy, but is here so simple, so self-effacing, that it almost sneaks by. The melody is nearly too sweet, the harmonies stay put, the bass line doesn’t travel much, the voices move together. But at “May it be for us a foretaste in the trial of death,” Mozart holds back the tenors and basses—just for a space.

When they enter, oh so quietly, repeating the women’s “may it be,” Mozart’s genius detonates the mysterious celebration of the power of suffering. He wrote this in June, 1791. In December he would be dead. Ave verum corpus may be the most stunningly compact explosion of music ever composed.

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
4:45 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Marais, Sonnerie de Saint Geneviève

from Marin Marais: Sonnerie de Saint Geneviève du Mont de Paris

The Sonnerie de Saint Geneviève du Mont de Paris (The Bells of St. Genevieve) of Marin Marais, performed by Spectre de la Rose, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

The French composer and viol player Marin Marais was one of the leading figures in French music of his day. After composition studies with Jean-Baptist Lully, and bass viol with Saint-Colombe, a master of the instrument, he landed a job in the royal court of Versailles and had a great deal of success as a court musician.

His Sonnerie de Sainte Geneviève du Mont de Paris is actually part of a larger collection of virtuoso viol pieces and is probably his most famous work, and was composed in 1723.

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
4:41 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Beethoven, Romance No. 2 in F

Takako Nishizaki

from Beethoven: Romance in F

Ludwig van Beethoven's Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op.50, performed by Takako Nishizaki, violin, with Kenneth Jean conducting the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

This is the second of a pair of works written for solo violin and orchestra. A favorite with concert artists, it is pensive and beautifully melodic, highlighting the sonic qualities of the violin at its best and allowing the soloists a wide range of emotional options.

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
4:37 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Lauridsen, O Magnum Mysterium

from Domenico Ghirlandaio, Nativity, c.1480

from Morten Lauridsen: O Magnum Mysterium

Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium, performed by the Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison, conductor, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

“O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the newborn Lord, lying in a manger. Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear Christ the Lord. Alleluia!” This text was first chanted by monks in the cold, pre-dawn hours before Christmas mornings centuries ago. Now, the mystical, soaring music of Morten Lauridsen warms millions worldwide.

Simple in structure and harmony, yet quietly overwhelming, the Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium transcends style with its luminously expressive writing. Morten Lauridsen is one of the most-sung choral composers in America and around the world, and this work is a fine example why.

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
4:29 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Brahms, Tragic Overture

Tragedy Mask, Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston

from Johannes Brahms: Tragic Overture

The Tragic Overture of Johannes Brahms, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conducting, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

"One weeps, the other laughs." So Brahms remarked about his two, contrasting pair of concert overtures—the jovial Academic Festival Overture and the Tragic Overture. The complementary overtures are like the masks of the Greek dramas: Comedy facing one way, Tragedy the other.

Although Brahms read Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Goethe, in the musical tragedy he is not telling a specific story, but instead is invoking a mood, an emotional impression. Two hammer chords announce and reappear throughout the overture. It is a dark and stormy overture.   

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
4:21 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Wagner, Tristan, Prelude and Liebestod

Edmund Blair Leighton, Tristan and Isolde, 1902

from Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, Prelude and Liebestod

The Prelude and Liebestod from Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, performed by the ​Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Wildner, conductor, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

There are those who feel, quite frankly, that the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde is the greatest piece of music ever written. The final climax of the music drama probably inspired by Wagner’s affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, is certainly one of the peaks of the operatic repertory. Here, before our very ears, we experience the beginning of the move away from conventional harmony and tonality, and witness Wagner laying the groundwork for the direction of classical music in the 20th century as early as 1857!

The very first chord in the piece, the Tristan chord, is of great significance in the move away from traditional tonal harmony as it resolves to another dissonant chord! For me, the anticipation of final release in that last chord of the Liebestod is almost unbearable; but, when it finally comes, the lasting sense of ecstasy is as spine-tingling and blissful as anything in all art. I dissolve every time I hear it, and ask myself, “How could any human being have written this?”

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