Decorated Music for the Holiday Season

« previous episode | next episode »

Monday, November 29, 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love the holidays? This is just by far my favorite time of year. This has a lot to do, I’m sure, with my early December birthday and love of autumnal crispness, but more than that, I am obsessed with the way that cities take on decoration.

Overnight, streets are adorned with garlands and lights, store windows are spectacular, restaurants find festive cardboard cutouts to haphazardly hang from joints in drop-ceilings and vendors start doing brisk business in hot, sugary things. In honor of New York’s late-fall finery, we’ll be exploring music that is orchestrationally decked-out; there’ll be glockenspiel, celeste, harp, electronics and plenty of things that sparkle.

Join me this week for a celebration of eccentric, plush instrumentation! We’ll be hearing from old friends and new discoveries alike. Here’s a video of a composer who is decked-out both orchestrationally and harmonically, the always-festive Olivier Messiaen.

Hosted by:

Nadia Sirota

Comments [3]

Boy, Gavin Bryars' Cadman Requiem really gets at that weird dark side of the holidays in some awful, beautiful way, doesn't it? Your placement of it in this week's shows is really ingenious, Nadia. It reminds us that the Lockerbie bombing -- in which sound engineer Bill Cadman died -- took place at Christmastime in 1988 on December 21.

It's always been hard to get at the way the holidays tend to embrace both joy and terrible mystery. I love "putting the holidays to work" by assigning some of their upbeat energy and courage to explorations of more subtle, disturbing issues, as well, the ones we need to contemplate. Obviously, Bryars knows this. It's hard to think of a better guide on this one.

Forceful, smart programming, well done!

Nov. 30 2010 01:10 PM

Great theme for the week! Decking my auditory halls ... :-)

Nov. 29 2010 03:25 PM

I am adoring this episode.

Nov. 29 2010 01:27 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.