Classical 101 Holiday Special: Musical Christmas Gifts

Dec 22, 2017

Christmas mornings are special, and that's why I am so pleased to offer you a few Musical Christmas Gifts under your tree at 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 25 on Classical 101.

Franz Liszt wrote his Christmas Tree suite as a holiday/birthday gift for his daughter Cosima, and you'll hear it during my one-hour special Musical Christmas Gifts.

Our morning together will also feature musicians from two different hemispheres. The American Horn Quartet, based in a country with the cold weather we expect this time of year, is joined by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, which is likely to celebrate Christmas in Australia in short sleeves and shorts as summer sets in.

Together, they bring you A Symphony of Carols and a unique take on an old holiday favorite, Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride."

Another "Sleigh Ride," this one by Frederick Delius, was — literally — a Christmas gift. It was written for Edvard Grieg and his wife, who had invited Delius to spend time with them during the holidays.

Of course, no holiday celebration is complete without Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. His "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is performed by Ensemble Polaris and features a sublime arrangement for bass clarinet as well as pizzicato strings.

I'll wrap up my holiday special with one of my longtime favorite recordings. Chip Davis and his ensemble Mannheim Steamroller made what I consider a holiday classic when they recorded Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. The program closes with the Christmas Sweet from their first holiday recording.

No matter how you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season — and that the music on Classical 101 adds a special touch to your Christmas morning.

Join Boyce Lancaster for his Musical Christmas Gifts special, 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 25 on Classical 101.