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Classical Album of the Week: A Sumptuous Classical Music Feast for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2019. While Thanksgiving is an American holiday, composers from different countries and cultures have been using music to express gratitude and thanks for centuries.  Our album of the week is the compilation album, Give Thanks: Classical Music for Thanksgiving.

A collection of two dozen works or movements from larger works, Give Thanks: Classical Music for Thanksgiving has something for everyone, with a range of  musical forms performed by artists all over the world, reflecting on the season and the blessings of this life, and giving thanks and praise.

The compilation includes familar orchestral music from Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony, which both celebrates nature in the Pastoral movement 1, and expresses grateful thanks to the Almighty after a story in movement 5's Shepherd's Song

Edvard Grieg's 6 Lyric Pieces, for piano, expresses 'takk' or gratitude. Choral works such as Handel's Chandos Anthem No. 6 ring out with explicit praise and thanksgiving.

And celebration of the season can be heard in Vivadi's "Autumn," Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, and Bernstein's Divertimento "Turkey Trot."

And what Thanksgiving collection would be complete without Aaron Copeland's Old American Songs. Copland's Simple Gifts is, perhaps, a metaphor for the richness that music can give us. So simple and yet so profoundly moving.   

On this Thanksgiving, we are thankful for varied musical offerings available to us today from all over the world. Music that lifts us up, comforts us, helps us celebrate and brings us together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.