Hear Essential Classics All Memorial Weekend

May 25, 2021
We've rounded up our favorite recordings of pieces by some of the most towering names in classical music. Listen May 27-31; it’s one essential after another for over one hundred hours!

The world of classical music goes back for centuries -- just one weekend barely allows us to present the all-time favorites in our playlist. Still, “Essential Classics” is a moment to showcase significant repertoire of today. Starting 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, CPR Classical offers listeners wall-to-wall essentials through Memorial Day weekend.

What gets programmed each year reflects audience hits and the most-famous, yet as Music Director Jeff Zumfelde explains, creating an always-changing list also considers what is current or undiscovered. “We look a little broader in defining what is essential, it’s not just the piece, but also the performers or composers,” he says. “The music of Mary D. Watkins points to material we did not have in our playlist even last year and is now a hit,” says Zumfelde, “…and you may have only heard of her music from us.”

Well-loved pieces from classical giants like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven will be staples throughout the weekend. And you will hear performances by classical icons like cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Lang Lang, soprano Renée Fleming and rising superstar cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who rose to world-wide fame overnight while still in his teens. “What’s fun is putting the weekend together but also the listening experience. There are recognizable pieces that come from vastly different time periods, very different circumstances,” says Jeff Zumfelde. “Someone may have used the music to underscore a movie, or people used it during a moment of calm, some melodies are familiar. There’s always a connective element, but there are also newer pieces that achieve the same feeling.”

New to classical music? Long-time listener? Fantastic! Over five days, you will encounter or perhaps rediscover pieces that sum the essence of classical music. Listen live -- Thursday, May 27, 3:00 p.m. through Monday, May 31 -- and enjoy a Memorial weekend experience of “must hear” recordings and time-tested masterpieces.

Hear the Essential Classics Weekend online anywhere at CPRClassical.org.

Bravo!

You've read another CPR classical story to the end. We have got just the thing for classical music lovers like you: a weekly email newsletter! Sign up here to stay up-to-date on CPR Classical programming, events and stories from the world of classical music.