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

November 26, 2013
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Classical music is the heart and soul of the original Giving Thanks. This year features a tribute to Bach, including Simone Dinnerstein; Eric Whitacre's gorgeous setting of e.e. cumming's i thank You God for most this amazing day; and Dawn Upshaw sings Maria Schneider's breathtaking new setting of Winter Morning Walks by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, who introduces the poem.

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 2013: Julia Sweeney, celebrated writer and actor. She's best known from Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! and Saturday Night Live. But Sweeney's memoires on faith give her humor a deep human touch that's perfect for Thanksgiving. Anne Lamott, best-selling author of Bird by Bird and Operating Instructions. Her latest book Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers offers the perfect spirit of gratitude; gentle humor, and a call to embrace the gift of family and friends. Also, Bill Moyers reads e. e. cummings, Simone Dinnerstein on J. S. Bach, and Dawn Upshaw sings Ted Kooser.

Program

Hour I

  • Traditional: We Gather Together — Boston Pops/John Williams (Philips CD 454391)
  • Bach: Cantata No. 17 "He who offers thanks" — Bach Collegium Stuttgart (Hanssler CD 92005)
  • Julia Sweeney on gratitude and her monologue "Letting Go of God"
  • Steve Heitzeg: Tallgrass Prairie Waltz — Peter Ostrouchko, mandolin; Laura Sewell, cello; Tom Linker, piano (Innova CD 553)
  • Reading from "The Supper of the Lamb" by Robert Farrar Capon
  • Ludovico Einaudi: I Giorni — Daniel Hope, violin (Deutsche Grammophon CD 17999)
  • e.e. cummings: "i thank you God for most this amazing day," read by Bill Moyers
  • Eric Whitacre: i thank you god — Polyphony (Hyperion CD 67543)
  • Anne Lamott on her book "Help, Thanks, Wow: the Three Essential Prayers."
  • Andrew York: Muir Woods — Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (Sony CD 60274)
  • Traditional: Psalm of Life — Jacqueline Schwab, piano
  • Julia Sweeney on Thanksgiving, mindfulness, and G.K. Chesterton
  • Dvorak: Violin Sonata, 3rd movement — Gil Shaham, violin; Orli Shaham, piano (Deutsche Grammophon CD 449820)
  • Dawn Upshaw on the poetry of Ted Kooser
  • Ted Kooser reads from "Winter Morning Walks"
  • Maria Schneider: Winter Morning Walks: How Important It Must Be — Dawn Upshaw, soprano; Australian Chamber Orchestra (Artist Share CD 121)

Hour II

  • Howard Cable: Thanksgiving Day (Point Pelee Reverie) — Symphony Nova Scotia/Howard Cable (CBC CD 5226)
  • Anne Lamott on gratitude and giving back
  • Steve Heitzeg: Quaker Peace Waltz
  • Julia Sweeney on saying grace
  • Simone Dinnerstein on Bach
  • Bach: Aria from Goldberg Variations — Simone Dinerstein, piano (Telarc CD 80692)
  • Reading from Albert Schweizer on gratitude
  • Bach: Cantata 174 Sinfonia — Accademia Bizantina (Decca CD 4782718)
  • Cyrillus Kreek: Psalm 104 — Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/Paul Hillier (Harmonia Mundi 907311)
  • From Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums," Chartres Cathedral story; Psalm 104 — read by Charles Laughton (Capitol LP TBO 1650, out-of-print)
  • Traditional (arr. Stephen Paulus): We Gather Together — Dale Warland Singers (Gothic CD 49243)

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