Gifts We Give (and Re-Gift)

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving during the holiday season is inherent. Yet as we hear, some gifts are not always found in brown paper packages tied up with string. This week's All Ears explores this very idea of gift-giving in the not-so-usual holiday song format: melodies composed for others; gifts of life.

Starting out the show are composer-singer Bobby McFerrin and pianist Chick Corea. In Song for Amadeus, McFerrin showcases his mastery at vocalization in an ode influenced heavily by Mozart. The dedication allows us to hear piano in the style of a Mozart concerto. Listen for McFerrin’s signature vocalization reminiscent of Brazilian jazz improv as well as the fleeting arpeggios one would find in an aria.

Argentinean-American composer Osvaldo Golijov shares his chamber music work, Yiddishbbuk. Written in 1992, the piece was composed for string quartet, and brings forth the sorrows of the Jewish community. With piercing harmonics, abstraction and dissonance, Golijov shares his gift of composition by connecting the listener to every heartfelt turn.

Also re-gifted on the program are works by Derek Bermel, the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and Raymond Scott.


Bobby McFerrin: Song for Amadeus

Bobby McFerrin, voice, etc

Chick Corea, piano



Frederic Chopin: Polonaise brillante, Op. 3

Mstislav Rostropovich, cello

Alexander Dedyukhin, piano



Gavin Bryars: Sub rosa

Gavin Bryars Ensemble



Derek Bermel: Wanderings: Gift of Life

Tara Helen O’Conor, flute

Bob Ingliss, oboe

Derek Bermel, clarinet

Theo Primis, horn

Frank Morelli, bassoon



Traditional: Simple Gifts

Christopher Parkening, guitar



Richard Wagner: Siegried Idyll

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Deutsche Grammophon


Raymond Scott: Celebration on the Planet Mars

Quartet San Francisco

ViolinJazz Recordings


Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: “Serenade melancholique” in B-flat minor, Op. 26

London Symphony Orchestra

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Midori, violin



Osvaldo Golijov: Yiddishbbuk

St. Lawrence String Quartet



Paul Moravec: Tempest Fantasy

Trio Solisti

David Krakauer, clarinet



Toivo Tulev: This life that I live

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Paul Hillier, conductor

Robin Blaze, countertenor

Harmonia Mundi


Frederic Rzewski: A Life

Frederic Rzewski, piano



Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life

Johnny Hartman, vocalist

John Coltrane, tenor sax


Comments [3]

Mary from nyc

Thanks, as always, Terrence, for lots of interesting music and companiable and informative chat. I don't know if you realize it, but you didn't say the name of the Wagner piece, "Siegried Idyll", you just said Wagner wrote it for his wife Cosima's birthday. You may not have noticed... But I hope it wasn't a choice. I think it's only civil, polite and fair to credit all artists and say the name of pieces. I LOVED the Paul Morovic piece! Wow! And so beautifully played! Along the lines of my first comment, at the end of your show there was a solo piano piece playing that I liked and it was rudely "interrupted", well, followed in only a nanosecond by a bunch of recorded announcements. We never heard you again, and if you mentioned the piece beforehand, I missed it. That's why I believe announcers should always give all the info before and after the piece. People want to know! Well, I can only speak for myself. I want to know. And I do not find a complete playlist. Thanks for all the great music and talk and keep up the good work. Mary, WNYC/WQXR sustaining member.

Nov. 25 2012 12:23 AM

It's 11:15 pm, Saturday, 11-24-12, and this cacophony I'm hearing is driving me nuts! I came back to WQXR to escape the rap garbage I was hearing mixed into the playlist on a local pop-rock FM station, but this is even worse! This is not music!

Nov. 24 2012 11:19 PM

Can you post the info on the Wagner piece? Sounded like part of the Ring but would love the specifics. Thank you.

Nov. 24 2012 10:55 PM

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