What Music Do You Identify with Thanksgiving?

Tune in to 105.9 FM and WQXR.org for An All-American Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving'

Thanksgiving, as we all know, has become America's ultimate eating contest. But between stuffing your face with turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, and washing it down with a hearty wine, giving thanks to friends and loved ones often ranks low among people's collective priorities.

WQXR has a solution: a day of music that reminds us of Thanksgiving's original message. We’ll serve up pieces of Americana, songs of harvest, early American ballads, even a few odes to food. Listen for music by Bernstein, Copland, Harrison, Carter and Dvorak, among others.

We'd also like to hear from you. Before that tryptophan-induced coma sets in, tell us: what does a perfect Thanksgiving playlist look like? Take our poll and leave a comment below.

And before you head out to shop, we'd love to know your feelings about Christmas music in stores and malls too. (Be honest!)


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Comments [8]

Howard from Florida

I've always liked "Be glad, then, America!" by William Billings in the original a capella version and as used by William Schuman in his "New England Triptych". Also, the Children's Dances and Maypole Dances from Howard Hanson's opera "Merry Mount". Admittedly, "Merry Mount" has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but both dances are modal and the action takes place in New England at roughly the same time as the first Thanksgiving.

Nov. 28 2013 12:34 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

What about "Turkey in the Straw, or today maybe in the oven.
Happy Thanksgiving, God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 28 2013 12:08 PM
WRVinovskis from Macungie, PA

Based on my life experience, a good Thanksgiving soundtrack might begin with some traditional American hymnody or choral works in the morning (Robert Shaw, Mormon Tabernacle, Dale Warland), then move on to some great American composers as the main course (Copland, Gershwin, Hansen, Grofe)--although I think the Dvorak is an excellent choice--and then end up with something light like George Winston's "December" or Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" for dessert.

Nov. 28 2013 10:38 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

@Les from Miami-
Yes, I'm from the "Capt. Kangaroo" generation but failed to remember MacDowell's "Indian Suite" so kudos to you! Sousa was a "plugger" of MacDowell's music is his band was performing this Suite as early as 1899. As for Thanksgiving music, "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come" the 1844 hymn tune by Alford, sets the holiday in perspective for me.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Nov. 28 2013 09:28 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

I wonder if anyone else in my generation recalls hearing MacDowell's "Indian Suite" as a background to a Thanksgiving skit acted out by no less than "Captain Kangaroo" (Bob Keeshan) and "Mr. Greenjeans" (Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum) on that eponymous children's show on CBS? It stuck with me all this time. That, along with "A Prayer of Thanksgiving" by Edward Kremser (spelling?) that we used to sing in grammar school along with, of course, "Over the River and Through the Woods". No less than Jussi Bjoerling sang "A Prayer of Thanksgiving" on a "Voice of Firestone" telecast of 19 November 1951 as a solo, then accompanied by the program's chorus, and the studio audience! It might still be available on VHS or DVD. Ah, memories...

Nov. 23 2012 06:54 AM
B-A Finlan from Rockport, MA

"The Promise of Living" (Act I closing quintet) from Aaron Copland's opera, "The Tender Land."

Nov. 22 2012 04:08 PM
Peter Olson from Sheffield, AL

Dvorak joins the list of classical Americana composers thanks to his visit to a Czech settlement in Spillville, IA (1893). It's appropriate to hear the New World Symphony on Thanksgiving because of its Native American-inspired motif (especially the slow movement). My vote for a Thanksgiving piece would be Virgil Thompson's "The Plow that Broke the Plains," in honor of Ken Burn's documentary "The Dust Bowl." The piece needs a second listen, perhaps today!

Nov. 22 2012 12:28 PM
Peter J Blume from Westchester, NY

Ever since my own discovery of this MASTERPIECE while playing with The Westchester Youth Symphony back in the early 80's, is has become a tradition of mine to listen to Dvorak's 9th Symphony (from the 'New World') every Thanksgiving, without fail. Now as a father of small children, it is getting tougher to find adequate quiet time to properly listen to it on the actual house stereo system, so for the past few years, I've been getting up real early to take a long walk by myself with my i-pod. I listen to 2 versions of it: Sir Georg Solti's & Fritz Reiner's--both with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The reason for both is because while I find these to be my favorite interpretations, I still take issue with certain tempos & phrasings, most notably in movements II & IV of both versions (just my personal preferences).
And while I listen to many other of Dvorak's works all year long, I will ONLY listen to the #9 on Thanksgiving; it is THAT special to me. Quirky, I know--but I can't wait until my children are old enough to appreciate this tradition for themselves too!

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Nov. 22 2012 12:06 PM

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