WBST Ready to ‘Celebrate’ Mozart’s Death

Over the years, WBST-FM 92.1 has been known to celebrate the birthdays of famous composers. In fact, you might want to tune in a 2 this afternoon to check out Easy to Love, the 2-hour special conclusion to our week-long celebration of Cole Porter’s 100th birthday.

As I was saying, we’ve been celebrating composer’s birthdays for quite come time, and it’s become a little redundant

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star 
(Page T-15)

Over the years, WBST-FM 92.1 has been known to celebrate the birthdays of famous composers. In fact, you might want to tune in a 2 this afternoon to check out Easy to Love, the 2-hour special conclusion to our week-long celebration of Cole Porter’s 100th birthday.

As I was saying, we’ve been celebrating composer’s birthdays for quite come time, and it’s become a little redundant. So for a change of pace, we’ve decided to celebrate Mozart’s 200th anniversary. This anniversary does not commemorate his birthday, wedding, or even the publishing of one of his musical pieces. Nope, it might sound a little morbid but we’re celebrating the anniversary of his death.

So, since we had gone morbid and it’s not October and we needed to toss out any Halloween tie-in, how could any self-respecting radio station accomplish such a celebration? If your answer was “WBST’s Contest in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Mozart’s Death,” then either you are a good guesser or you;re reading our program guide.

All kidding aside, when you tune in at 1 Friday afternoon, you’ll find that we’ve preempted Something Extra for a Mozart special. Yes, we’ll announce the winners of the contest, too.

The special first took formulation in the mind of Steven Turpin, our music director. You see, since we’re a classical music radio station, we literally get tons of promotional material from companies that are trying to hawk their goods to our audience. Most of it is junk, but every so often we finds a gem in the lot.

Steven found one such gem in the form of a book by Emily Anderson entitles, Mozart’s Letters. Steven, who has never been the biggest fan of Mozart, read the book however. Hey, it was free from the company and had neato pictures. But as Steven read the book, a collection of letters written by the composer, he found the letters so incredible and intriguing that it radically changed his feelings toward Mozart as a composer.

Then the idea for the special came to Steven. He thought it would be great to select letters from the book and music from the time period from which they were written. After a few conversations with Nancy Wood, our audience services director, we not only had the special with excerpts and music, but also a contest with free copies of the book and Mozart CDs. Gosh, now you know how our station works.

“The majority of the letters are written to his father,” Wood said.

“In one letter he’s explaining to his father about how fickle marriage is and how he feels that marriage isn’t important. Then a few pages later he is justifying his choice of Constanze Weber as his wife. It gives you a feel for where he was as an artist and what he was doing,” Wood said.

June, Moon, Spoon

The month of June is settling in quite comfortably. And if you’re anything like me, you don’t need a calendar to realize it’s June. I’m reminded by the mailman with his insistent stuffing of my mail box with wedding invitations.

If weddings and wedding music are your cup of tea, you might want to put down that copy of Modern Bride and take the time to tune in to WBST at 7 tonight when Pipedreams presents “Music for Weddings.”

Organists Joyce Jones, Roger Myquist, George Baker and Barbara Harbach join host Michael Barone for a display of a disparate grouping of mostly unusual embellishments for those June nuptials.

Speak the Words

If you do like romance but aren’t too hip on weddings, you might want to try the Sound of Writing at 11:30 this morning with two love stories, The first, “The Twain” by Liza Field, details those fleeting days when boys and girls cease to be buddies and become budding young lovers. This time is wonderfully captured in this chronicle that resonates to the double meaning of the word “cleave.”

Sound of Writing swings from young love to unrequited love with the reading of “What’s New, Love?” by Write Morris. This is the tale of Molly, a waitress, and her secret love for a Hollywood star who has seen better days. Her silent worship’s only demonstration is that of keeping his coffee cup full.

It Won’t Hurt

For some people, opera is like sweet nectar to the ear. For others it is not. Thursday morning at 11, Karl Haas’s Adventures in Good Music tries to bridge the gap with “Opera for People Who Don;t Like Opera.” This program contains a sampling of some of the magnificent orchestral parts that are contained in some of the world’s great operas.

Other than that, on Saturday we feature 4 1/2 hours of programming devoted to the operatic feats of the Chicago Lyric. First at 12:30 that afternoon, on The Chicago Lyric Opera, Christoph Gluck’s Alceste will be presented.

This adaptation of Greek mythology is the complete realization of the composer’s ideal to make music and drama a single entity, to endow both with human qualities and arrive at simplicity.

Later at 3:30 Saturday afternoon, The Best Seat in the House offers “Carol Fox an the Chicago Lyric.” Our hosts, John Meadows and Dick Ver Wiebe, recall some of the highlights of the company while under the aegis of its late director.

A Verdi Christmas

The second half-century of Texaco-Metropolitan Opera live Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts will begin with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 on WBST-FM 92.1.

The broadcast marks the 5th birthday of the Texaco-Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, which constitute the longest continuous national sponsorship of a radio program in broadcast history. It was on Dec. 6, 1940, that the very first Texaco-Metropolitan Opera

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star  (Page T-15)

The second half-century of Texaco-Metropolitan Opera live Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts will begin with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 on WBST-FM 92.1.

The broadcast marks the 5th birthday of the Texaco-Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, which constitute the longest continuous national sponsorship of a radio program in broadcast history. It was on Dec. 6, 1940, that the very first Texaco-Metropolitan Opera broadcast was presented, and the opera that historic afternoon was Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

The cast for Saturday’s broadcast of La Traviata will feature three American singers in the major roles: Diana Sovierro as Violetta, Jerry Hadley as Alfredo Germont and Brian Schexnayder as his father, Giorgio Garmont. American conductor Rico Saccani will make his Met broadcast debut leading the performance. The announcer is Peter Allen.

To mark this 50th anniversary, WBST is offering a special 1990-1991 Metropolitan Opera broadcast schedule to the readers of The Muncie Star who read this column. All you need to do is write: WBST, Ball State University, Muncie IN 47306-0550 and ask for your free schedule.

Special Stuff

Last week I mentioned that WBST plans on airing about 40 special programs for the December holiday season. Get ready, because next week they will be listed in an easy-reference format.

Today, however, you’ll get a special preview of our holiday music specials that will air Dec. 11 to 25. During these weeks, WBST offers a variety of special programming.

Western Wind: A Celebration of Light, A Jazz Piano Christmas, Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special and An Acoustic Christmas: Steve Wariner and Friends will evoke reveries and reminiscences, from traditional and contemporary to regional and international.

The history and legend of contemporary religious celebrations are woven together with music in the Dec. 18 hour-long special, Western Wind: A Celebration of Light. The acclaimed Western Wind Vocal Ensemble’s unique repertoire includes music and songs representative of the spirituality and significance of the winter solstice, renaissance and Hanukkah.

America’s original art form is the focus of A Jazz Piano Christmas, a 1-hour Dec. 22 special featuring keyboard specialists Billy Taylor, George Shearing, Marian McPartland and other notables from the jazz world. A Jazz Piano Christmas will use the “let’s-take-it-easy” philosophy of its genre for high-energy celebration.

Two musical events that mark the season’s sacred mood are the production of Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, hosted by Dudley Moore, and the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special: Arise ans Set the Captive Free. These specials will be broadcast Dec. 22 and 24, respectively.

Messiah presents original instruments and a men’s and boy’s choir as specified by the 18th-century composer. The ensemble of soloists and instruments, exquisitely blended by Handel, is under the artistic direction of James Richman.

The St. Olaf Choir joins the St. Olaf Orchestra in the all-new musical event – the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special. The 90-minute concert features the world famous 400-voice massed choir and 100-member orchestra conducted by Anton Armstrong.

Dec. 23’s An Acoustic Christmas reaffirms the true American spirit with 2 hours of outstanding performances by some of Nashville’s finest musicians and greatest storytellers. Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Maura O’Connell and othres get together in the city where country and western sound began.

The Woman of Japan

At 5:30 tonight on Horizons, host Vertamae Grosvenor explores the world of the modern Japanese woman. While Japan advances as a world power, women in Japan are still struggling to break free from traditional roles, as seen in tonight’s features, “Women in Japan Speak Out.”

During the past 10 years, many Japanese women have been making changes in the office and at home. This program features women from many walks of life – all reflecting on Japan’s complex society from a feminine point of view.