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December 2013
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Christmas on WFMT


“…the broad fields were so full of merry music, that the crisp air laughed to hear it!”

—Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Let the season ring! The nativity of Jesus has inspired composers far and wide; let WFMT fill your Christmas celebrations with the richness of this music. Reaching across the ages; across cultures, and continents—with over nine hundred years of music, including advent chants like “O come, O come Emmanuel,” to nativity celebrations by Palestrina and Vittoria, to J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Benjamin Britten, Ottorino Respighi; to songwriters like Irving Berlin and Mel Tormé; to contemporary composers like John Rutter and Eric Whitacre; experience the Christmas story through dozens of composers this week on WFMT.

Wonderful party, wonderful games, wonderful unanimity, won-der-ful happiness!”

—Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol


Weeknights, 7:00 PM

Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio


Monday, December 23, 8:00 PM

Valparaiso University Christmas Concert

Carl Grapentine hosts this broadcast of A Carol Festival with singers and instrumentalists of Valparaiso University. Music by Handel, Britten, Rutter, and more.


Monday, December 23, 8:00 PM

Christmas Cantata

Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams




Christmas Evechoir-service-big

Tuesday, December 24

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

In the 9 am hour, hear A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols: Live from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge University. The college choir and readers present their annual Christmas Eve service. Hosted by Michael Barone. In the 3 pm hour, hear Langford’s A Christmas Fantasy, performed by the Huddersfield Choral Society and John Foster Black Dyke Mills Band conducted by Roy Newsome.



Chanticleer singing at WFMT earlier this month




Tuesday, December 24, 6:00 PM

A Chanticleer Christmas

The San Francisco-based 12-voice men’s choir performs music for the season.


Alastair Sim as Scrooge

Alastair Sim as Scrooge



`What’s to-day, my fine fellow.’ said Scrooge.

`To-day.’ replied the boy. `Why, Christmas Day.’

`It’s Christmas Day.’ said Scrooge to himself. `I haven’t missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow.’

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens


Tuesday, December 24, 8:00 PM

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol narrated by Sir Ralph Richardson and Paul Scofield

1963 production of "Amahl and the Night Visitors"

1963 production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors”

Tuesday, December 24, 9:00 PM

The Tuesday Night Opera with Peter Van De Graaff

Peter presents a double bill of opera recordings and discussion. Hear Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors performed by soloists with the Nashville Symphony and Chorus, conducted by Alastair Willis. Also hear Boughton’s Bethlehem (A Choral Drama) performed by soloists and chorus with the City of London Sinfonia, conducted Alan Melville.


Natalie Böck Nussknacker as the Sugar Plum Fairy

Natalie Böck Nussknacker as the Sugar Plum Fairy






Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 25

Hear music and readings through this Christmas Day. In the 11 am hour, host Peter van de Graaff presents a performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Op. 71: Act 1, with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. In the 2 pm hour, hear Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, performed by soloists and chorus with the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass. In the 3 pm hour, hear Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28, performed by the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers.





by Albrecht Altdorfer

Nativity of the Virgin by Albrecht Altdorfe

Wednesday, December 25, 10:00 PM

Cedille Chicago Presents

Christmas and Farewell from Chicago’s Cedille record label




Thursday, December 26, 8:00 PM

The New York Philharmonic This Week

Winter Holidays!

Leonard Bernstein, Skitch Henderson, and Danny Kaye, conductors

Mozart: German Dance in C Major, K 605, Sleigh Ride

Tchaikovsky: Symphony #1 in G Minor, Op 13, Winter Dreams

arr Henderson: Winter Holiday 1961-62

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf

J Strauss Jr: Die Fledermaus Overture


Friday, December 27, 11:00 PM

Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio

Music of the Tenor Masters features John Coltrane’s Peace on Earth.



  • Tom, Bull Valley

    Yes, but the highlight of your Christmas programing has always been Carl Grapetine’s Christmas morning show! But the program host who substituted for Carl this year made little attempt to measure up to Carl’s wonderful Christmas music programing. The show was so disappointing that we tuned out before 7:00am. What a shame that WFMT dropped the ball in carrying on Carl’s outstanding Christmas morning tradition.

  • Cheeky2

    Thank you so much for including her gender identity in the headline of the story. The fact that she is transgender is absolutely critical to understanding and appreciating her technical and tonal innovations. She would probably have felt insulted and marginalized if you had simply referred to her as a mere composer.

  • Mo86

    There is no “she” here. This is a biological male who has a deep mental illness and thinks he is a female. These are deeply confused people. They need help to accept reality and biology. They do not need acceptance and promotion of their delusions.

    • Deanna Deville

      What is the matter with you? Why do you care?

      And what makes you smarter than 99% of the medical community, by the way? Why is it more important to attack her ad hominem than respect her accomplishments and contributions?

  • Mo86

    Not even on a classical music station/site can we get away from the insanity of “transgender” being shoved down our throats.

    DNA determines whether you are male or female. This person is a male. He was born a male. He will die a male. 100 years from now if DNA testing is done on his remains, it would once against demonstrate this was a male.

    And no amount of feeling, wishing, identifying, changing pronouns, or mutilation of the body through surgery/hormones can change that biological fact.

    Wasn’t there recently a March for Science? Yet when it comes to this issue, science is thrown out the proverbial window. Why is that?

    • John

      What? You have got to be kidding! Unclassically, I quote the Beatles…”All You Need Is Love”.

    • George Bernard

      Because gender is more than just DNA. If you got your head out of your ass and read up on some psychology you might become less of a strident dick.

    • DJM

      Please, educate me. Which part of the DNA determines baldness, the SRY gene? If so, what about all the people who have a copy but develop female features, not to mention countless other variation? I have been studying the developmental biology of anatomy professionally for almost 25 years, and you are barking up the wrong tree using DNA to solve the complex issues of sex and gender. Your comment flaunts an extreme lack of understanding of basic biology.

      • DJM

        Maleness, not baldness. See, autocorrect can’t even handle this discussion. 🙂

    • Try to actually READ up on the subject before you spout nonsense. Trans people show differences on brain scans. It’s not just your DNA…

    • pumpkiln

      Carlos was an instrumental part of many music scenes, but I guess no matter how important we are, you ungrateful lot will always think of us as “intruders” forcing ourselves unto you. You want to use us and our skills without ever actually respecting us, always throwing us back into the shadows because you feel ashamed of us.
      Like I said, ungrateful.

  • Joe Shuster

    Curious that no one previously noticed that the excerpt labeled “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4” is actually from Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

  • Greg Wilken

    FYI, the album is “Beauty in the Beast”, not “Beauty and the Beast”.

  • Solomon Foster

    Any idea why her music appears to be completely out of print? I have fond memories of listening to Switched-On Bach, Well-Tempered Synthesizer, and Clockwork Orange in my high school and college days, but at this point the only album I actually have a copy of is Switched-On Bach 2000, which for all that it sounds better, isn’t really the same.