WFIT Features

We have a very unusual Messiah for you this week.

Handel wrote his oratorio near the end of the Baroque era in 1741, and forty-eight years later Mozart was asked to re-orchestrate it -- to get it with the times so as to appeal to changing musical tastes. This he did.

There is nothing drastic here -- nothing to upset today's Messiah lovers -- but there are several subtle changes, mostly in the orchestration, but also in some of the arias, and of course the language (but you know the words anyway, right?)

Kronus Quartet

There are many ways to describe the Kronos Quartet: unconventional, eclectic, fearless.

We'll begin with a set from Kronos showcasing music from parts of the world that we don't usually associate with classical music.

Then it's Handel, Mozart, and Hugo Wolf, and we'll devote the final hour to Olivier Messaien's monumental La Nativite du Seigneur, written in 1935 and regarded as one of the great masterpieces of modern music for organ.

10:00 pm Thursday night on 89.5 FM and streaming live at

As good NPR listeners, you know all about Mama Stamberg's Cranberry sauce, but here in the Attic we know that what you really, really need is a way to use up some of that leftover turkey. We'll have one good answer for you on the Thanksgiving night program.

Then we'll look at the music of England and Holland in the time of the Pilgrims, the music they might have enjoyed had they been so inclined -- which they were not -- before leaving Europe forever on the Mayflower.

It happens all the time. A composer writes a piece of music knowing exactly how he wants it to sound, and then somebody comes along and plays it on a different instrument. Sometimes the result is quite convincing; other times not so much.

This week we'll look at some transcriptions, most of them making a good case for themselves -- and a couple of duds, too.

Crimes against Bach and Beethoven and Debussy and Brahms and Tchaikovsky and a few others. You might like a couple of them better than the originals. See what you think this Thursday.

Amphion String Quartet Beckman

Built more than 200 years ago, the Siena Pianoforte was once a treasure of King Umberto of Italy. Eventually it was more or less forgotten, and it turned up -- trashed -- in  World War II North Africa when Rommel's troops withdrew. It was repaired, pressed into service for the British troops, sold to a junk  dealer, and abused for a few years until it was rescued from the Tel Aviv dump, after having served as just about everything but a doghouse --- and maybe even that!