Giving Thanks: A celebration of fall, food, and gratitude

Giving Thanks 2014
Autumn leaves
Autumn leaves
Jean-Pol Grandmont via Wikimedia Commons

Classical music is the heart and soul of the original Giving Thanks. This year features an English Chamber Orchestra performance of the "Alexander's Feast" Concerto by Handel; The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams (highlighted by violinist Julia Fischer); and Bernstein's sublime A Simple Song, performed by the Boston Pops.

Between the music, no cliches about pilgrims and pumpkin pies. Instead, it's a contemporary celebration of spirit of Gratitude. And continuing a Giving Thanks tradition: a spellbinding story from actor Charles Laughton, giving thanks for Art that connects us all to the creative spirit.

Whether you are early in the kitchen, on the road to a family gathering, or relaxing after the feast, Giving Thanks provides the perfect atmosphere for Thanksgiving: the warmth of great music, and truly memorable words.

New for 2014: Two great poets will join us at the table. We remember Maya Angelou, and she shares her Thanksgiving blessing and memories. Nikki Giovanni reads food poems from her new book, and recalls the Thanksgiving she got kicked out of college! Garrison Keillor reads "Minnesota Thanksgiving" by John Berryman, and to celebrate another poet with a centenary in 2014, Dylan Thomas reads his poem of praise "Fern Hill."
Also, Simple Gifts from Copland, a "Simple Song" from Bernstein, and lots of music about fall, food, and gratitude. For listeners in the kitchen, on the road, or relaxing after the feast, Giving Thanks provides the perfect atmosphere for Thanksgiving: the warmth of great music, and truly memorable words.

Hour I

  • Traditional: We Gather Together — Boston Pops/John Williams

  1. Handel: Concerto "Alexander's Feast" — English Chamber Orchestra

  1. Nikki Giovanni reads 'Artichoke Soup' and 'Spices' from "Chasing Utopia"

  1. Schumann: Scenes from Childhood (selections) — Wilhelm Kempff, piano

  1. Dylan Thomas reads "Fern Hill"

  1. Mark Isham: A River Runs Through It

  1. Henry Purcell: Fantasy on Old 100th (Doxology) — Canadian Brass

  1. Monteverdi: Mass of Thanksgiving 1631:Gloria — Taverner Consort

  2. Nikki Giovanni tells Thanksgiving story

  1. Copland: The Promise of Living — Cincinnati Pops

  2. Maya Angelou Thanksgiving interview with Vertamae Grosvenor

  1. Let Us Break Bread Together — Uptown String Quartet

  2. Galway Kinnell reads "In Fields of Summer"

  1. Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending — Julia Fischer, violin

  1. Nikki Giovanni reads "I am at that point" from Chasing Utopia

Hour II

  • Wendell Berry: The Wild Geese (read by Ellen Kushner)

  1. Bernstein: A Simple Song — Boston Pops/John Williams

  1. Traditional: Morning Has Broken — Angele Dubeau, violin

  2. John Tavener: Akathist of Thanksgiving — Westminster Abbey Choir

  1. Alice Sommer Herz on gratitude

  1. Nikki Giovanni reads gratitude poems from "Chasing Utopia"

  1. Tradtional: Come ye thankful — Jacqueline Schwab, piano

  1. John Berryman: Minnesota Thanksgiving (read by Garrison Keillor)

  1. Vladimir Martynov: Come In — Kremerata Baltica

  1. From Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums," Chartres Cathedral story; Psalm 104 — read by Charles Laughton

  1. Traditional (arr. Stephen Paulus): We Gather Together — Dale Warland Singers

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