Classical Tune-Up

Some Later Rennaisance…



Hello there! Among other things in tonight’s crazy mix, you will get a dose of the dramatic chromaticism of lutenist and murderer, Carlo Gesualdo. He’s oneof my heros of the period — and he is an iconoclast of the late-Rennaisance to be sure — but I will play some of his buddies as well tonight.

Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613)

Indeed he murdered his wife,whom he caught “in the act” with her longtime lover — he killed the both in the bed with the help of some of his servents. He also killed his infant son — the lore goes that he doubted paternity (he was an infant), so he took care of that problem, it seems. Crazy stuff, and you can’t make it up? 

I will also play some music for solo cello, if you can dig it! Of course you can! So let’s have some fun getting turned ON during Classical Tune-Up! 

-Christopher Smith



Crystallizing Cristofori!


Hello to all of you out there in MusicLand!

May is a special month, and I, for one, intend to celebrate a little. Just a couple of days ago was the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori. Signori Cristofori was not a composer, not a virtuoso instrumentalist. Nay, nay… he is the one who is acknowledged to be the inventor of the piano! 

Batolomeo Cristofori (1655 -1731)

Needless to say, the piano has evolved an enormous amount since his first instruments appeared, circa 1700. But the essentials of the action and basic mechanism remain essentially the same. And when you consider the amount of music that has been composed, performed, and enjoyed over the years, it’s probably no stretch to say this is one of the greatest musical inventions of the past 500 years. 

So tonight’s episode of Classical Tune-Up will focus on the piano throughout the ages giving you a variety of performances by a variety of artists who help bring the music alive by, and through, this magnificent invention of the modern age.

But, it will not be only piano you hear tonight. To be sure, the keyboard in general (which goes back much further in time) has been a huge innovation and an inspriation to countless composers. So you will get a sprinkling of other keyboard instruments as well just to round out the celebration as we go forth “Crystallizing Cristofori.” Enjoy!

-Christopher Smith

Detailed playlist is here:

Classical Tune-Up

Wednesdays 7:00-9:30pm

Playlist for Wednesday, May 7, 2015

Hosted by Christopher Smith

Time Composer Selection Performers Record Title Label
7:04 W. A. Mozart (1756-1791) Sonata in E minor for Violin and Pianoforte (“Palatines”) Chiara Banchini, violin 

Temenuschka Vesselinova, pianoforte

Sonates Pour Pianoforte et Violin (Mannheim-Paris 1778) Harmonia Mundi (1993)
7:16 Christophe Graupner (1683-1760) Partita 10 in A minor (GWV 118) Genevieve Soly, harpsichord Graupner – Partitas for Harpsichord, vol. 1 Analekta (2002)
7:43 J. S. Bach (1685-1750) Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 Hubert Meister, organ Johann Sebastian Bach:  Organ Works MDG (1985)
7:58 Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) Sonata in C Sharp Minor, K. 246 / L. 260 / P. 296 Eteri Andjaparidze, piano Scarlatti: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 1 Naxos (1999)
8:10 Alban Berg (1885-1935) Piano Sonata, Op.1 Maurizio Pollini, piano Debussy: 12 Etudes pour le piano & Berg: Piano Sonata, Op. 1 Grammophon (1993)
8:23 Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) Uninterrupted Rest (1952-1959)I. Slowly, sadly as if to converse with

II. Quietly and with a cruel reverberation

III. A song of love

Kumi Ogano, piano Toru Takemitsu – Solo Piano Works Decca Music Group, Ltd. (1993)
Piano Distance (1961)
8:33 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79: No. 1 – Agitato in B Minor Emanuel Ax, piano Brahms: Handel Variations, Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118 & Rhapsodies, Op. 79 Sony/BMG Music (1992)
Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79: No. 2 – Molto Passionato, Ma Non Troppo Allegro In G Minor
8:50 Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) Concerto in G minor, RV103I. Allegro ma cantabilie

II. Largo

III. Allegro non molto

L’Apothéose Corelli L’Apothéose Corelli:  Three Baroque Sonatas Hänssler Classic (2001)
8:03 Gordon Mumma (b. 1935) Eleven Note Pieces & Decimal Passicaglia (Selections) Daan Vandewalle, piano Gordon Mumma: Music for Solo Piano (1960-2001) New World Records (2008)
8:08 Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Piano Concerto in G Major. H. XVIII: 4 Anne-Marie McDermott, piano 

Odense Symphony Orchestra; Scott Yoo, conductor

Haydn – Sonatas & Concertos Bridge Records (2014)

What Do You Like?



Greetings to all the music fans out there!

I have returned from a week away — you listened to a previous show last week, but a personal favorite of mine and I hope you liked it, too…

Tonight, I’m inspired by several things and will share that inspiration with you. I’ve got a request you’ll hear that’s decidedly French and some other works that I will play because I was inspired by some of the other wonderful programmers here at the station — particularly Joe Truskott. Also expect a at least one April Baby celebration right from the start.

That said, you are in store for a real wild ride tonight — which is all you expect from Classical Tune-Up. Enjoy tonght’s. 


-Christopher Smith

The Mission Tonight is to Relieve You of Tax Day Blues!


Greetings music lovers!

Tonight’s mission on Classical Tune-Up is to help relieve you of those tax day blues with some killer classical tracks. Nothing fancy here, just some varied selections from different epochs (just to keep you on your toes). 

And to set the mood, tonight’s show will start out with some solemn, sacred music by Palestrina — a truly sublime and compelling composer of the Rennaisance if ever there was one.


-Christopher Smith

Tonight’s detailed playlist is here:

Classical Tune-Up

Wednesdays 7:00-9:30pm

Playlist for Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hosted by Christopher Smith

Time Composer Selection Performers Record Title Label
7:03 Giovanni de Palestrina (c 1525-1594) Missa Papae Marcelli:I. KyrieII. Gloria

III. Credo

IV. Sanctus & Benedictus

V. Agnus Dei

The Tallis ScholarsPeter Phillips, dir. Allegri Miserere Gimell Records (2001/1980)
7:39 Arvo Pärt (b.1935) Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen: The Tallis ScholarsPeter Phillips, dir. Arvo Pärt:  Tintinnabuli – The Tallis Scholars Gimell Records (2015)
8:00 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Trio in B-Flat Major, op. 11:I. Allegro con brioII. Adagio con espressione

III. Tema con variazioni:  Allegretto

Jon Manasse, clarinetJon Nakamatsu, pianoClive Greensmith, cello Beethoven – Brahms – Weber Harmonia Mundi (2014)
8:20 Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) Grand duo concertant in E-Flat Major, Op. 48:I. Allegro con fuocoII. Andante con moto

III. Rondo: Allegro

8:42 Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) Sex digte af Henrik Ibsen, “Six Poems By Henrik Ibsen”, Op. 25: Katarina Karnéus, mezzo-sopranoJulius Drake, piano Grieg:  Songs Hyperion (2008)
9:01 Lou Harrison (1917-2003) String Quartet Set (1978-9):I. VariationsII. Plaint

III. Estampe

IV. Rondeaux

V. Usul

Kronos QuartetDavid Harrington and John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeaneraud, cello American Masters:  Lou Harrison Composers Recordings (1991/1981)


Let’s “Rach” out tonight with a little Rachmaninoff!


Greetings music lovers — young and old!

Tonight on Classical Tune-Up, we will celebrate a birthday or two, plus a vintage recording of one of the 20th Century’s greatest pianists and composers performing his own works on piano. April is the birth month of yet ANOTHER great Russian composer (yes, this has been the “accidental theme” of the past three weeks, trust me), Serge Rachmaninoff. So you will get a taste of this inconoclastic — some would say anachronistic — composer of the 20th Century.

So here’s a fun link to a live performance of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto as performed by Anna Fedorova. Check it out — pretty cool on every level:

Enjoy tonight’s episode of Classical Tune-Up!

-Christopher Smith

Tonight’s detailed playlist is here:

Classical Tune-Up

Wednesdays 7:00-9:30pm

Playlist for Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hosted by Christopher Smith

Time Composer Selection Performers Record Title Label
7:03 Béla Bartók (1881-1945) Mikrokosmos for Piano:  Books III – VI Béla Bartók, piano Bartók Plays Bartók Pavilion Records (1995)
7:56 Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) Verklaerte Nacht Ensemble InterContemporain


Pierre Boulez, dir.

Arnold Schoenberg:  Verklaerte Nacht – Suite Op. 29 CBS Records (1985)
8:23 Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19 Steven Isserlis, cello

Stephen Hough, piano

Rachmaninov – Frank: Cello Sonatas Hyperion (2003)
9:00 Jonathan Russell (b. ?) Double Concerto for Cello, Clarinet, and Orchestra (2014) Nathan Chan, cello; Jonathan Russell, clarinet Peninsula Sympony (Premier) (Live Recording/Private Release by Peninsula Symphony) 2014
9:24 Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) Concerto in G minor for Two Cellos, RV 531.

[Movements I – II]

Raphael Wallfisch & Keith Harvey, cellos


City of London Sinfonia

Vivaldi – Celli Concerti, Vol. 2 Naxos (1995)


You Gotta Khatch this Khachaturian!


Greetings all you lovers of music out there in MusicLand!

For no particular reason — but because he is significant — you will “khatch” some music by the esteemed Russian/Georgian comoser, Aram Khachaturian in the first hour.  Mr. Kachaturian is famous for his piano concerto — so of course I will not play that. But you will get to hear one of his other powerful and famous works, the Violin Concerto in D Minor.  It has been a staple of the concerto repertoire for violin ever since. So hold on to your hats for this one!

Aram Kachaturian (1903-1978) –1950

Other than that, you know that this is Classical Tune-Up, which means you have no idea what to expect.  So please stay seated until this ride comes to a complete stop!

-Christopher Smith


So Many Composers (born in March), So Little Time…

Hello to all you music fans!

If you’ve listened to Classical Tune-Up this month, you’d know that it is chock-full of extremely well known composers who were born in March. I’ve been doing my best to cover a highly distinguished group of “musical fellows” — and tonight I will continue in this vector. So it really is a situation where there are so many (great) composers born this month, and so little time to play them all this month…

Modest Mussorgsky (1838-1881)

You’ll get what you get, and I hope you get turned on because that is the goal of Classical Tune-Up.

Also tonight, you will hear some more Chopin, and a taste of some different J.S. Bach (yes, he was born in March, too!).


-Christopher Smith

Craziness in March…

Hello to all of you who love music!

March is an interesting month in the annals of Western so-called “Classical” music. Why, you ask? Well, it just seems as if there are a TON of amazing composers born this month. Piazolla, Chopin, Bartók, Vivaldi — and never mind J. S. Bach — the list goes on and on… 

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) – Groupies in tow!

So it is a difficult thing to honor all these great purveyors of the fine arts in the liturgical and secular senses. Last week, I presented a “teaser” with a short Impromptu by Frédéric Chopin — who is arguably one of the truly iconoclastic composers of the 19th Century Romantic thrust. I will play one of his great works: The 24 Preludes, Op. 28. Inspired as he was by J. S. Bach (and a full-on advocate of his music before it was “fashionable” to be such…), these miniatures, which Chopin certainly is (and was) known for, are a truly fun an inspiring set. And you will hear them all in a very peculiar, vintage recording tonight.

After that we head to the bar to engage in some Bartók! (fogive me on that one…). And, who knows where the ride will end? I’m just having fun with you, tuning In and turning ON to Classical Tune-Up.

Enjoy tonight’s show!

-Christopher Smith

Tonight’s detailed playlist is here:

Classical Tune-Up

Wednesdays 7:00-9:30pm

Playlist for Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hosted by Christopher Smith

Time Composer Selection Performers Record Title Label
7:02 Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) 24 Preludes, Op. 28 Aurthur Rubinstein, piano Chopin:  24 Preludes – Piano Sonata No. 2 – Barcarolle – Impromptu No. 3 BMG/RCA Red Seal (1999)
7:38 Béla Bartók (1881-1945) Piano Concerto No. 3 (Sz. 119) Daniel Baremboim, piano 

The New Philharmonia Orchestra; Pierre Boulez, cond.

Bartók:  Concertos for Piano Nos. 1 & 3 EMI Classics (1970/1993)
8:13 Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Trio in A minor Trio Solisti:Maria Bachmann, violin; Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello; Adam Neiman, piano Trio Solisti:  Ravel & Chausson Bridge Records (2014)
8:40 C. P. E. Bach (1714-1788) Sonata for Flute in G Major (H.508)I. Allegro

II. Andantino

III. Allegro

Leta Miller, baroque flute; Linda Burman-Hall, fortepiano; Robert Strizich, baroque guitar Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach: Flute Sonatas Intrada (1993)
9:06 Geo. Ph. Telemann (1681-1767) Quartet in E minor (TWV 43: e 3) Parnassi Musici (on period instruments):Margaret MacDuffie, violin; Matthias Fischer, violin, Stephan Schrader, cell; Sergio Azzolini, bassoon; Martin Lutz, organ Geo. Ph. Telemann: Trio Sonatas – Parnassi Musici CPO (2008)
9:14 Trio Sonata No. 5 in E minor TWV42:e1
9:24 Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) Songs from the Spanish Songbook (selections):I. Die ihr schwebet um diese Palmen

II. Komm, o Tod, von Nacht umgeben

Elly Ameling, soprano; 

Rudolf Jansen, piano

Elly Ameling, Rudolf Jansen:  Songs by Hugo Wolf Hyperion (2005)

Straight Ahead Classical Tune-Up Tonight!

Dear Friend and fellow music lover,

First, I would like to thank Francis Garcia for hosting last week’s episode of Classical Tune-Up. I listened to his show on the KUSP music player for Classical Tune-Up and must say I absolutely loved what he gave all of you out there in RadioLand and InternetStreamLand!

Tonight’s show will get back to straight ahead classical music. March is a magical month in so many ways, none the least of which is that many awesome composers were born this month — and I’ll give you a few notables tonight. Starting off, some pretty cool tracks from Antonio Vivaldi.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

So hold on to your hats, and please stay seated until the ride comes to a complete stop. 

-Christopher Smith

The Other Harp…


Greetings all you lovers of music!

Tonight’s Classical Tune-Up is a special program, please tune in and listen to a live performance and conversation with local harp virtuoso, Jennifer Cass,

Jennifer Cass

Jennifer Cass has degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music and in mathematics from UCSC.  Ms. Cass has performed frequently with UCSC and Cabrillo ensembles, Santa Cruz New Music Works, Santa Cruz Chamber Players, and has been a featured soloist with Ensemble Monterey.  She has been an occasional harpist for the San Jose, Santa Cruz County and Monterey County Symphonies, San Jose Chamber Orchestra and for the Cabrillo Music Festival. She appears on recordings celebrating the works of Germaine Tailleferre and Lou Harrison. Jennifer is currently chair of the mathematics program at Cabrillo College.

It is my distinct honor and pleasure to spend a part of the first hour of tonight’s show with Jennifer. Her commitment to the local community — in every aspect — is a model for all of us from which to take deep inspiration. So, enjoy tonight’s performances of works that you might not always think of when you think of harp. It truly is “The Other Harp”

-Christopher Smith