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It's Alien Invasion Week on WRTI

Getty Images/Archive Photos/Stringer
A scene from the film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982

The Martians are coming! Join us the week of October 26th leading up to Halloween for some super scary and extraterrestrial classical and jazz fun on WRTI. It’s Alien Invasion Week, so get set for music that's out of this world.On the classical side, tune in for Flix@5 from October 26th to 30th with Kevin Gordon featuring music from films where visitors to Earth range from the cute and quirky to the downright terrifying. On Saturday Classical Coffeehouse, Debra Lew Harder will create just the right mood for a very spooky Halloween day. And on the jazz side, there's fun all week long with music that's other worldy, culminating in a haunted Halloween night.

With the Pentagon’s startling July admission that 1.) Yes, UFOs do indeed exist and 2.) No, they’re not from around here, and that Halloween 2020 is particularly scary, Flix@5 launches into outer space with Alien Invasion Week, beginning and ending with music of John Williams. Monday, it’s the suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1977 Steven Spielberg adventure that popularized those memorable five notes (G, A, F, lower octave F, and C) as the aliens’ musical introduction to Earthlings. On Friday, another Spielberg-Williams collaboration with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the gnome-like visitor who wanted nothing more than to go home.

On Tuesday, Bernard Herrmann’s pioneering use of the electronic instrument, the theremin, brings to Earth the startling message of Klaatu and his robot guardian Gort in the 1951 classic, The Day The Earth Stood Still. Wednesday, we’ll thrill to David Arnold’s score that portended the fiery near-destruction of the Earth in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day and take a dip on Thursday in the rejuvenating alien waters of James Horner’s music to the 1985 Academy-award winner, Cocoon.

On Halloween day during Classical Coffeehouse with Debra Lew Harder, tune in to hear music of the mysterious night—of the supernatural! Musical ghosts will appear, guaranteed to give you scary good chills, including...

J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor for organ — the theme music of many haunted castles and mad scientists.

Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and his “Ghost Trio," Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique: “March to the Scaffold” and “Witches’ Dance," and Liszt’s Totentanz

You'll also be shaking in your boots listening to Dvorak’s “Noonday Witch," William Bolcom’s “Graceful Ghost Rag," Mendelssohn’s Hexenlied, and John Williams’ “Harry Potter Suite”


Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead:

Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt:

Schubert’s Der Erlkonig:


Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2, with its “Funeral March," “Wind over the Graves” final movement, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera Overture.

And make sure to vote for your Spooky Saturday Espresso! The choices will be: Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky, which has scared many a viewer since 1940, the year Walt Disney’s Fantasia debuted.


Or, Wagner’s Overture to Der Fliegende Hollander, the opera that tells the frightening tale of the haunted Flying Dutchman. Or, Miklos Rozsa’s “Spellbound Concerto,” with its eerie theramin sound.

During jazz hours, space will be the place as we feature music from The Sun Ra Arkestra, La Lucha, Peter Bernstein  and many others. Jump on “Rocket Number Nine” with Bob Perkins and Ms. Blue, and embark on “A Space Oddity” to search for the “Little Green Man.” Be sure to tune in and listen for your favorite celestial treats, and a sneak peek of what Flix@5 will bring the next day.

Alien Invasion Week culminates with Halloween weekend, and the end of Daylight Savings Time. On Friday’s Nouveau Jazz Showcase, Ms. Blue will bring you some sweet and scary nouveau additions, like Kandance Springs’ version of the classic “I Put A Spell on You,” Lucy Yeghiazaryan singing “Sweet Pumpkin,” and some newly released intergalactic jazz from The Sun Ra Arkestra, with “Angels and Demons at Play.”

Ryan Gottlieb is ready to provide the soundtrack for whatever your Halloween festivities may be during this spooky time with the Halloween edition of Jukebox Jazz. You’ll hear jazz interpretations of popular seasonal fare, like Marcus Miller’s “Frankenstein,” La Lucha playing their take on Bowie’s “Space Oddity“ and Postmodern Jukebox performing “Thriller” as only they can!

Oh, and don’t forget to “fall back” before bed on Saturday night. Maybe the rare Blue Moon will remind you.


A veteran broadcaster, Kevin garnered a wealth of experience in radio before taking the weekday classical host position from 2 to 6 PM at WRTI, where he was on the air until his retirement in March 2023.
Debra's last day on the air at WRTI was September 21st, 2021. She's now the radio host for The Metropolitan Opera. Read more here.