KNAU Holiday Specials 2017

Monday 12/11

7p - Tinsel Tales 1

This year a radio tradition continues - stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas.  David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk--these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season.

8p - Choral Stile Antico

Celebrate Christmas with the sound of soaring voices. Stile Antico, the award-winning choir from London, pays a visit to St. Paul's Church on Harvard Square for a concert of radiant sacred music for the Christmas season by the most acclaimed composers of the renaissance. Hear the group's luminous blend of voices sing the intricately woven music of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Hosted by Cathy Fuller of WGBH, Boston.

Tuesday 12/12

7p - A Leroy Anderson Christmas

Arrangements and original compositions by Leroy Anderson, including his best-known “Sleigh Ride.” But Anderson was much more than just a writer of popular music. We’ll hear the composer talk about his work and enjoy performances by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Leroy Anderson “Pops” Concert Orchestra. From WFMT.

8p - Music for the Winter Holidays

A special edition of “The Film Score,” a weekly series heard on Chicago’s fine arts station WFMT. Host Michael Phillips is film critic for the Chicago Tribune and is seen frequently on “CBS Saturday Morning” and Turner Classic Movies. The program is devoted to music of the holidays and wintertime offering standards like “White Christmas” (from the film “Holiday Inn”) to Alexandre Desplat’s wintry, folk-inspired score for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Wednesday 12/13

7p - All Songs Considered for the Holidays

Bob and Robin are kidnapped and taken to outer space!  And there will be music too. The adventures continue.

8p - Jazz Piano Christmas

In a series now in its 28th year of production, NPR Music brings you another great concert from the Kennedy Center featuring some of the most gifted pianists in jazz.  Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch, and Carmen Staaf perform their favorite holiday songs in a program hosted by Felix Contreras.

Thursday 12/14

7p - Tiny Desk Christmas

Celebrate the season with amazing holiday performances from The Tiny Desk Concert series including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Steve Martin, Hanson, The Polyphonic Spree and more! Hosted by NPR Music frenemies Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson.

8p - Mark O’Connor and Friends

Mark O’Connor, famous bluegrass fiddler and respected American composer, leads the O’Connor Band and special guest Nancy Ives, principal cellist of the Oregon Symphony, in An Appalachian Christmas . Hear holiday favorites including “The Cherry Tree Carol,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells,” and more! Plus, Mark O’Connor talks about the importance of fiddling in the development of early American music. Recorded LIVE at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon December 2016.

Friday 12/15

7p - Blues and Beyond for the Holidays

Celebrating the holidays with a wide spectrum of musicians, from the king of the blues, B. B. King to the classical woodwind quintet Imani Winds.  We'll slip in some blues from John Lee Hooker and take humorous look at a particular holiday problem from Sir Mack Rice. The Godfother of Soul makes a special request of Santa from the Godfather of Soul and we’ll check in with the Cartoon Christmas Trio, a group of Philadelphia area music educators. The Blues & Beyond, the holiday edition, from WXPN.

8p - A Christmas Present to You—Classic R&B from Phil Spector

The inside story behind this 1963 album produced by Phil Spector and featuring performances by The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. The album raised the bar for pop/rock arrangements of classic holiday songs.  The All Music Guide says, “This is the Christmas album by which all later holiday releases had to be judged,” and Rolling Stone lists it as one of the best albums ever made.  Includes interviews with singers Darlene Love and LaLa Brooks, and Wrecking Crew studio musicians Nino Tempo, Don Randi and Hal Blaine.  

Monday 12/18

7p - Tinsel Tales 4

In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, this fourth collection of extraordinary Christmas stories will transport you to unexpected places. Stories of the season: Some tales are funny; some are touching; others are insightful, irreverent, nostalgic or surprising.

8p - Renaissance Christmas with The Anonymous 4

For Christmas, the legendary Anonymous 4 sings medieval music from England, France and Spain that praises the Virgin Mary. The devotional songs come from the Codex Las Huelgas, Montpellier Codex, and Cantigas de Santa Maria. Anglo-American ballads such as the Cherry Tree Carol and A Virgin Unspotted add a homespun seasonal touch.

Tuesday 12/19

7p - The Swingles at Wolf Trap

Since 1962 this vocal group has toured the world offering unique interpretations of just about everything singable. For this performance from Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts near Washington, D.C., their holiday selections range from Corelli to Simon & Garfunkel to Mumford and Sons.

8p - Christmas with The Boston Brass

We’ll stay another hour at Wolf Trap for holiday music with the Boston Brass. You’ll hear traditional fare such as “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night” and “The Holly and The Ivy” as well as pop favorites by Leroy Anderson and Irving Berlin.

Wednesday - 12/20

7p - Joshua Bell and Friends

Celebrate the season with superstar violinist Joshua Bell, performing traditional favorites and new holiday arrangements from his CD, "Musical Gifts: Joshua Bell and Friends." Special guests Michael Feinstein, Frankie Moreno, the Young People's Chorus of New York and others. WQXR's Elliott Forrest hosts.

8p - An Operavore Christmas from WQXR

An hour of Christmas and holiday music from the world of opera and oratorio sung by some of the greatest singers past and present: Marilyn Horne, Leontyne Price, Bryn Terfel, Thomas Hampson, Joan Sutherland and others.

Thursday 12/21

7p - The Paul Winter Solstice Concert 2017

On the darkest night of the year, celebrate the return of the sun with the Paul Winter Consort at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Traditional holiday favorites and new sounds from around the world with special guests Fabiana Cozza, Gary Booker, Theresa Thomason, Paul McCandless, Eugene Freisen, the percussion troupe Forces of Nature.

Friday 12/22

7p - Messiah

Handel’s 1741 oratorio about redemption premiered in April but in this country the work has been associated with Christmas since its American debut Christmas Day 1818. This performance by the New York Philharmonic is conducted by Ton Koopman with soprano Sunhae Im, countertenor Andreas Scholl, tenor Jörg Dürmüller, baritone Detlef Roth and members of the Westminster Symphonic Choir.