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December 2014
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A Christmas Memory

American author Truman Capote

American author Truman Capote

Sunday, December 21 at 11:00 pm

“It’s bad enough in life to do without something YOU want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want THEM to have.”

―Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory

Hear Truman Capote narrate his own short story, A Christmas Memory, published originally in Mademoiselle Magazine in 1956. In it, the author tells a largely autobiographical tale (or memory) of being seven years old in rural America at Christmastime.

Light and Gold: The Music of Eric Whitacre

Composer Eric Whitacre

Composer Eric Whitacre

Sunday, December 21 at 6:00 pm

YouTube sensation and popular choral composer Eric Whitacre presents a program of his own works. In this one-hour broadcast, the composer introduces the music with co-host Brian Newhouse, describing the often colorful backstory of how each piece came to be.

Holiday Special on “The Midnight Special”


Saturday, December 20 at 9:00 pm

The annual Midnight Special Christmas/solstice program features holiday humor such as Stan Freberg, the late Mike Nichols and Elaine May, and new Christmas recordings from 2014.

In observance of the 100th anniversary of that historic night, The Midnight Special presents Cantus’s All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914; a recreation of carols and readings from that December night during WWI when enemies put down their weapons to celebrate Christmas together. Rich Warren offers another angle on that moving story with John McCutcheon’s Christmas in the Trenches.

Someone’s Getting Married at the Met

Bass-baritone Erwin Schrott

Bass-baritone Erwin Schrott

Saturday, December 20 at 11:00 am

The Metropolitan Opera presents Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with bass-baritone Erwin Schrott in the title role, Danielle de Niese as Susanna, Mariusz Kwiecien as Count Almaviva and Rachel Willis-Sorensen as Countess. Edo de Waart conducts the Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra.

Best of Studs Terkel: Christmas Memories

Studs Terkel, photo from NPR

Studs Terkel, photo from NPR

Friday, December 26 at 10:00 pm

In 1961, orator and radio personality Studs Terkel put together a program that broadcast voices from across America and Europe telling stories of childhood and recalling songs of holidays past.

Impromptu: Fireworks on the Violin

Paul Huang

Paul Huang

Thursday, December 18 at 2:00 pm

Paul Huang, Stradivari Society violinist and Jessica Xylina Osborne, piano

Winner of the 2011 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and recipient of YCA’s 2012 Helen Armstrong Violin Fellowship, violinist Paul Huang made critically acclaimed recital debuts in the YCA Series in New York at Merkin Hall and in Washington, D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School, and plays the Guarneri del Gesù Cremona, 1742 ex-Wieniawski on loan from the Stradivari Society of Chicago.


The Los Angeles Philharmonic in Concert

American composer John Adams

American composer John Adams

Wednesday, December 17 at 8:00 pm

Composer John Adams conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic with guest organist Cameron Carpenter. The program includes Gordon’s Sunshine of Your Love, Riley’s At the Royal Majestic, and Adams’s Naive and Sentimental Music.

Candles Burning Brightly


Wednesday, December 17 at 2:00 pm

Join hosts Mindy Ratner and Bill Morelock for a one-hour celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. There’s plenty of music from Jewish communities around the world, plus an exploration of holiday traditions, and a special story reading by the incomparable Theodore Bikel.

Convert or Perish

After having been forbidden by law from fulfilling God’s commandments, the Israelites, under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, rose up against their Greek oppressors, taking back the Temple, and rededicating it to God. Knowing they only had enough oil for one night, they lit the Temple’s great menorah in keeping with their faith. Miraculously, the oil supply was restored the following day. Again they lit the great menorah, only to find their oil unspent. The miracle repeated six times until the Israelites were able to procure more oil.


Dov Frimer, arr H Netsky/J Jacobson – Al Hanissim (Hebrew) – Zamir Chorale of Boston and instrumentalists/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)

Traditional, arr J Miller – Shehecheyanu (Hebrew) – Chicago a cappella/Jonathan Miller (Chicago a cappella 2005)

Chaim Parchi, arr J Jacobson – Aleh Neiri (Hebrew) – Chaim Parchi, soloist; Zamir Chorale of Boston/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)

Flory Jagoda, arr H Netsky – Ocho Candelikas (Ladino) – Soloists and New England Conservatory Jewish Music Ensemble/Hankus Netsky (Rounder 3165)

Leo Low, arr L Moore – Likhtelekh (Yiddish) – Coro Hebraeico/Neil Levin (Naxos 8.559410)

Traditional/Oujda, Morocco – Hanerot Hallalu (“These Light We Kindle”) (Hebrew) – Voice of the Turtle (Titanic 159)

Traditional, arr A. Binder – Maoz Tsur “Rock of Ages” (Hebrew)

Italian chant – Maoz Tsur

Italian chant, arr Benedetto Marcello – Maoz Tsur

Italian chant, arr Hugo Chaim Adler – Maoz Tsur

Zamir Chorale of Boston/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)

David Weintraub – Eight Bright Candles – Eaken Piano Trio (Naxos 8.554714)

Break bed: Samuel Adler – To Celebrate a Miracle (excerpt) – University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony/Rodney Winther (Naxos 8.559410)

Theodore Bikel reads “The Lost Menorah” by Howard Schwartz from Adam’s Soul: The Collected Tales of Howard Schwartz (published by Jason Aronson in 1992; now out of print); used with the kind permission of the author

Scott Robinson – Great is the Miracle, mvt II – Eaken Piano Trio (Naxos 8.554714)

Shelley Olson – Blessing for A Chanukah Cantata – Rosemary Quinn-Milch, cello (Maju Music 00-1.1)

Traditional Sephardic/Adrianopoli, Greece – Quital’tas (Ladino) – Piffaro, with Julianne Baird (rec live in concert, Dec 3, 2011)

Yiddish Folk Song – Bulbes “Potatoes” – Emil Decameron and His Orchestra, rec Vienna 1959 (Vanguard Classics OVC 6005)

Mikhl Gelbart, arr Mark Zuckerman – Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl (Yiddish) – Chicago a cappella/Jonathan Miller (Chicago a cappella 2005)

Traditional, arr J Jacobson – Drey, Dreydelekh (Yiddish) – Zamir Chorale of Boston and instrumentalists/Joshua Jacobson (Afka 901)

Flory Jagoda – Hanuka (Ladino) – Voice of the Turtle (Titanic 159)

Traditional Klezmer – Keshenev Bulgar – New England Conservatory Jewish Music Ensemble/Hankus Netsky (Rounder 3165)

Happy Birthday Beethoven


Tuesday, December 16

Music to commemorate the birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Thinkers and artists from Stanley Kubrick to Franz Schubert have marveled at the works of Beethoven. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that Beethoven can stir in man a yearning to connect with a higher power: “At a certain place in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, for example, he might feel that he is floating above the earth in a starry dome, with the dream of immortality in his heart; all the stars seem to glimmer around him, and the earth seems to sink ever deeper downwards.”

For Johannes Brahms, Beethoven touched in him something more personal, more vulnerable. Brahms began his First Symphony sometime in the 1850s, but didn’t complete it until 1876: “You don’t know what it’s like for the likes of us to hear that giant’s footsteps…marching behind.”

It is impossible to put into words the importance of Beethoven’s legacy to composers, musicians, and music-lovers. Ultimately, only Beethoven’s music can speak for Beethoven; and that is something WFMT will offer on Tuesday, December 16th, the 254th anniversary of his birth. Between 6:00 am and midnight, WFMT will go wall-to-wall Beethoven, presenting symphonies, concertos, quartets, trios, piano sonatas, sacred music, violin sonatas, and more.

Thomas Adès, Featured Composer on Live from WFMT

British composer Thomas Ades

British composer Thomas Ades

Monday, December 15 at 8:00 pm

Pianist Winston Choi performs a program titled “Thomas Adès: Illuminated,” live from the Levin Studio. He’ll play works by Thomas Adès (pronounced a-dǝs) juxtaposed with other pieces. He plans to record the complete piano music of Thomas Adès starting in January.


Images Book II
Cloches à travers les feuilles
Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut
Poisson d’Or

Traced Overhead (1996)
I.  Sursum
II. Aetheria
III. Chori


Mazurka No. 1 – Moderato

Mazurka Op. 68 No. 2 in A minor

Mazurka No. 2 – Prestissimo molto espressivo

Mazurka Op. 7, No. 1 in B-flat major

Mazurka No. 3 – Grave maestoso


Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face

Gaspard de la nuit
Le Gibet