The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice 2010
8pm Saturday, Dec. 18
Enjoy an all-new compilation of musical excerpts, plus a few short poetry and prose readings, selected from the Christmas/Winter Solstice Revels celebrations that took place in December, 2009, in ten cities across the United States. Described as a collection of “traditional and ritual dances, processionals, carols, songs and drama,” the Revels performances use composed “art music” and sacred and secular folk materials from traditional European and American celebrations of Christmas, the Winter Solstice, New Year’s, the Feast of Fools and Twelfth Night.
A Paul Winter Solstice Concert
10pm Saturday, December 18
From the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Paul Winter — one of the original world musicians — is back again with a unique exploration of the solstice tradition in cultures near and far. The Paul Winter Consort is joined by musicians from all over the world, including Russia’s Dimitri Pokrovsky Ensemble and gospel singer Theresa Thomasson.
An Elizabethan Christmas with The Rose Ensemble
12pm Wednesday, Dec. 22
Grand candlelit halls, lavish feasts, and stately dances. Escape to the regal elegance of the Elizabethan era. The time and culture of Elizabeth I also contained tension and intrigue; dark and light. And it’s all evident in the music of their Christmas celebrations. The Rose Ensemble’s captures all of that in their popular holiday concert, as they reawaken the ancient with An Elizabethan Christmas. Add itto your holiday lineup, and treat your listeners to medieval carols, and motets and anthems by the beloved English Renaissance composers, Robert Parsons, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons, accompanied by lute and viola da gamba. In a couple of pieces, The Rose Ensemble is joined by special guests Voces8, the vibrant young a capella group from London, for a glorious soaring sound. In this one-hour special, you’ll hear stratospheric soprano lines, surprising harmonies, spirited poetry, and tender carols. And a brand new setting of a Tudor-era carol text by acclaimed composer Abbie Betinis.
Houston Symphony: A Very Merry Pops
8pm Wednesday, Dec. 22
The Houston Symphony musicians and Chorus present their annual holiday-season tradition. Principal Pops conductor Michael Krajewski promises a line-up of favorite holiday melodies. Special guests include international entertainer, Dan Menendez, known as the “Piano Juggler” and Boy Soprano, Sean Holshouser. The concert will also celebrate the Houston Symphony Chorus’ 1,000th performance. Recorded by KUHF Houston Public Radio, December 10-12, 2010, in Jones Hall.
A Cowboy Christmas
12pm Thursday, Dec. 23
Celebrates the holiday with memories, music, and poetry of people who live and work in the isolation of America’s outback. Some of the stories and songs are family traditions passed down through the generations while others are new works inspired by Christmas on the lonely range. This program features poets Baxter Black, Waddie Mitchell, and Native American singer and comedian Vincent Craig
St. Olaf Christmas Festival Concert
10pm Thursday, Dec. 23
A cherished tradition for nearly a century, the St. Olaf Christmas Festival is a spiritual musical journey that takes us from the expectation of Advent, to that holiest of moments when Christ was born in a lowly stable, to the arrival twelve days later of the Three Kings from the East. Over 500 student musicians who are members of five choirs and the Orchestra of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, warm this cold and dark December night with their refined and glowing tone, at one moment hushed and reverent, and at another full of joy and awe at the Christmas blessing. You’ll hear familiar carols, choral motets and hymns with the some 3,000 audience members singing along. You may find yourself moved to do the same! It’s the St. Olaf Christmas Festival 2009; a concert The New York Times International Datebook calls “one of the five significant global holiday events.”
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
9am Friday, Dec. 24
In 1918, the then-new dean of King’s Chapel, 34-year-old Eric Milner-White, wanted to try something innovative and beyond the standard liturgy of the Church of England. So, he wove together scripture and song, called on readers of various ages from school and town, and made up this truly magical progression that carries us from prophecy to fulfillment, from Old Testament foretelling to a birthday celebration.
Noël — A Christmas from Paris
12pm Friday, Dec. 24
Host Bill McGlaughlin welcomes listeners to hear “Noël — A Christmas from Paris” with the Westminster Choir, from Princeton, NJ, under the direction of its musical director, Joe Miller. The American mezzo, Jennifer Larmore, a graduate of Westminster and now living in Paris, is soloist for two operatic Christmas songs by Charles Gounod: Fauré’s version for female voices of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Christmas cantata “In nativitatem,” and Adolphe Adam’s, “O Holy Night.” The program emanates from New York’s splendid Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Joe Miller and Jennifer Larmore are joined by organist Kenneth Cowan, with Anna Reinersman, harp, and Lisa Cowan, violin and early music consort players from the Juilliard School.
10pm, Friday, Dec. 24
This year, Welcome Christmas! is a tribute to John Rutter, composer of “What Sweeter Music” and “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol.” His beloved Christmas music and recordings are heard and loved by millions around the world. VocalEssence shares several Rutter Christmas classics, including the United States premiere of his latest, “Carol of the Magi.” John Rutter also speaks with host John Birge about his faith, his long history with VocalEssence, and his love of Christmas music, going back to his days as a high-school chorister. “The high point of our singing year was Christmas,” he said. “Our parents would show up, and we’d do our best to sing our best music and make it a real sense of occasion.” Christmas traditions are old, but twelve years ago, Welcome Christmas started a new tradition: their annual Christmas Carol contest. And for 2010, VocalEssence unwraps two new carols, each a world premiere.
Echoes of Christmas
11pm, Friday, Dec. 24
Moving selections of choral classics celebrating Christmas. The Dale Warland Singers provided magical performances to listeners across the country for over 30 years and were acclaimed as America’s premiere choir. Their signature holiday concert—beloved by public radio listeners nationwide—was the annual Echoes of Christmas program. Drawing upon the archive of their live performances, Dale Warland and host Brian Newhouse create a very special Christmas musical treat.
A Christmas Carol (A Ghost Story for Christmas)
3pm, Saturday, Dec. 25
Directed by Jay Stern (Independent Feature, THE CHANGELING), and adapted by Producer Craig Wichman from the novella by Charles Dickens, this production returns to the heart of the 1843 story – mining the dark veins of what its author called “a GHOST story – for Christmas.” The cast of seasoned New York actors includes Mr. Wichman, Anthony Cinelli, John Prave, Ghislaine Nichols, Deborah Barta, Joseph Franchini, Jodi Botelho, Elizabeth Stull, and Tony Scheinman. Music by TONY AWARD winner Mark Hollmann.
A Prairie Home Companion – LIVE
5pm, Saturday, Dec. 25
What an extra joyful way to celebrate the warmth of Christmas Day—listening to Garrison Keillor, the Royal Academy of Radio Actors, The Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band and sound effects wizard Fred Newman, LIVE from New York City in a very special Christmas show. In fact, Garrison’s special guests will be poet Sharon Olds, author Ian Frazier and playwright and author Paul Rudnick. Musical guest will be pianist Rob Fisher and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth will drop by to sing a song.
A Chanticleer Christmas
7pm, Saturday, Dec. 25
A one-hour celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the 12-voice San Francisco-based men’s choir. The program spans the globe and the centuries — from England in the 1300s to new arrangements of classic contemporary carols. And no Chanticleer program would be complete without Joseph Jenning’s patented Christmas spirituals arrangements.
Music of the Baroque Brass and Choral Holiday Concert
8pm, Saturday, Dec. 25
Host, Peter Van De Graaff guides the audience through music of the 16th and 17th centuries by composers such as Johann Vierdanck, Michael Praetorius, Thomas Tallis, Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Gabrieli, Jacob Handl and John Francis Wade, among others. Brass instruments have long been associated with ceremony and celebration. Ubiquitous in Renaissance court pageantry, their connection to royalty and wealth lent an air of respectability to any occasion. Courts and churches capitalized upon the exalted status of brass instruments, flaunting their virtuoso players and composers in order to enhance their reputations. Diverse in nationality, temporality and musical style, the stories the pieces in this program tell are nonetheless similar in their message. Many are related to the Christmas narrative, shedding light on different facets of the tale, while others offer a timely reminder that the wonder and awe the season inspires can last the entire year.
A Mexican Baroque Christmas with The Rose Ensemble
6am, Sunday, Dec. 26
Add “A Mexican Baroque Christmas with the Rose Ensemble” to your holiday schedule, and your listeners will get a vibrant retelling of the Christmas story with some ancient music that sounds fresh and new today. Mexico in the 17th century was a time of great cultural and musical diversity. Those cross-currents produced church music that was infused with indigenous rhythms and dances. That colorful music is the centerpiece of this gorgeous and engaging Christmas special by the internationally-acclaimed Rose Ensemble.
This holiday program features over two centuries of festive Christmas dances and songs from the great cathedrals of Puebla and Mexico City. With rich instrumental and percussive accompaniment, solos and choruses burst forth in this program that’s a far cry from the same old Christmas show. Plus a couple of surprises for the season in this one hour production. The music is all rhythmic and tuneful and totally appealing.
Lessons and Carols from Washington National Cathedral
7am, Sunday, Dec. 26
Host Robert Aubry Davis welcomes listeners to hear “Lessons and Carols from Washington National Cathedral,” in the sixth annual broadcast of this stirring Christmas service. Each Christmas Eve, the Cathedral hosts a quietly spectacular “Lesson and Carols,” one of its most attended and cherished events of the year. The service combines biblical readings that chronicle the story of Jesus’ birth with age-old and all-new carols, from folk to ethereal polyphony. Attendees and listeners thrill to the swell of many voices and organ together, as well as to the contemplative hush of “Silent Night” as the service ends. Following the success of last year’s broadcast, the Cathedral Choirs are again joined by the 125-voiced Cathedral Choral Society, under the direction of H. Reilly Lewis. From grand renaissance melodies in the massive gothic cathedral, to new works just commissioned, this “Lessons & Carols” is a choral masterpiece.
A Season’s Griot 2010
12pm, Monday, Dec. 27
“A Season’s Griot” is public radio’s only nationally-syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted for the last 17 years by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African-American and African peoples. This year’s program features a retrospective of the wonderful stories and music from 17 years of “A Season’s Griot.” You’ll hear the very best stories told by distinguished storytellers. Familiar and favorite elements of Griot will be in place with plenty of music, and an original composition by the show’s poet laureate, Beverly Fields Burnette.
Houston Symphony: HANDEL: Messiah
8pm Wednesday, Dec. 29
The Houston Symphony and Chorus present their annual performance of the beloved Handel oratorio, conducted by Christopher Warren-Green. Recorded by KUHF Houston Public Radio, December 18-20, 2009 in Jones Hall.
Live from Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve with Lang Lang
7:30pm Friday, Dec. 31
Each New Year’s Eve, the New York Philharmonic plays a Gala Concert in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. The musical content is appropriately festive, and the stage is festooned with balloon and floral decorations. Over the years, it has been the pleasure of Live From Lincoln Center to bring many of those concerts into your homes; and we shall do so again this year on Friday evening, December 31. The event will mark the second New Year’s Eve Gala conducted by the Philharmonic’s still-new Music Director, Alan Gilbert. Last year, he chose American music, ranging from Aaron Copland to Cole Porter. This year, we’ll be treated to an all-Tchaikovsky program, with the blazing young pianist, Lang Lang, playing the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 1. It was this Concerto that Lang Lang played to great acclaim at the age of 17 with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony as a last-minute substitute for an ailing colleague. The concert will begin with the Polonaise from the opera, Eugene Onegin, and after the intermission we’ll have the music for the complete Second Act of the beloved ballet, The Nutcracker.
New Year’s Day from Vienna
7pm Saturday, Jan. 1
The Vienna Philharmonic presents its popular annual New Year’s Day concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. You’ll hear your favorite waltzes, polkas and more — a festive way to begin the new year. On January 1, 2011, Franz Welser-Möst takes up the baton for the annual Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert, which in terms of its international coverage represents the largest classical music event in the world. This year’s concert will once again be broadcast on television and radio to over 70 countries worldwide. Franz Welser-Möst, following in the footsteps of Clemens Krauss, Josef Krips, Willi Boskovsky, Herbert von Karajan and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, becomes the sixth Austrian conductor to stand at the helm of the Vienna Philharmonic on the first day of the New Year. Presented by NPR Music and WGBH Boston.