Airs Thursday, January 3 at 8:00 p.m. The first of two episodes culled from the Punch Brothers 2011 performance at the Trustees Theater during the Savannah Music Festival The tradition of stringband playing in the United States dates back at least 200 years. In the early 19th century, the fiddle-banjo duo that was essential to the dance music of the day eventually incorporated other instruments such as the guitar, mandolin and double bass. Such an assemblage, of whatever instrumentation, became known simply as a "stringband." By the 1870s, African-American dance houses had musicians who played violin, banjo and bass fiddle, and by the 1920s and 30s, stringbands were among the forerunners of modern country music and bluegrass. Soon, artists began to record stringband music in collaboration with other popular music styles such as blues and jazz. In this episode, we listen to a stringband that has drawn upon nearly every style of music from the past 100 years, the Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile. Part one of two.
Airs Tuesday, December 1 at 10:00 a.m. The Vienna Philharmonic presents its ever popular annual New Year's Day concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. You'll hear your favorite waltzes, polkas and more -- a festive way to start off the New Year. Presented by NPR Music and WGBH, Boston.
Airs Friday, December 28 at 12:00 noon Please join host Peter Van De Graaff as he guides you through music of the 16th and 17th centuries by composers such as Michael Praetorius, Thomas Ravenscroft, Elizabeth Poston, Stephen Paulus, Herbert Howells, J Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi and Peter Cornelius, among others. Brass instruments have long been associated with ceremony and celebration. Ubiquitous in Renaissance court pageantry, their connection to royalty and wealth lent an air of respectability to any occasion. Courts and churches capitalized upon the exalted status of brass instruments, flaunting their virtuoso players and composers in order to enhance their reputations.
Airs Thursday, December 27 at 11:00 a.m. Born from the trauma of the Second World War, Edinburgh's unique combination of festivals is a triumph of international shared storytelling. Encompassing classical music, theater, literature, popular and folk music, science, visual art and a city-wide sharing of culture, this radio series will give listeners a first-hand experience of being in one of the world's most creative and cosmopolitan cities during a period when over 600,000 visitors experience the "annual cultural equivalent of the Olympics" during which over 4,000 performances take place in hundreds of venues ranging from exquisite concert halls to site-specific fringe spaces.
Airs Monday, December 24 at 10:00 p.m. One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges -- two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation -- get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This encore presentation features the best works of the last several years. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.