WFIT Features

Any respectable attic should have lots of Christmas decorations and other holiday stuff.

Mozart's Attic sure does -- boxes and boxes of it. After all, this is the season that has inspired more composers than any other.

We begin this week's Attic with Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and follow with music of Praetorius, Vaughan Williams, Ernest Bloch, a pair of early French Noel writers, and a number of composers whose names have been lost to time. We conclude with the Christmas Oratorio of Camille Saint-Saens.

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
NPR

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 WFIT.org.

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.

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