The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: On Thanksgiving Day, what composer or piece of music do you give thanks for? | November 22, 2018

IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential audience members to an event.

ALERT: This morning, Wisconsin Public Radio will air not only music that is appropriate for Thanksgiving, but also performances by students marking the 50th anniversary of the Wisconsin School Music Association.

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Thanksgiving Day, 2018.

And today’s post is a simple one where readers can do the work.

The Ear simply wants to know: What composer or what piece of music do you give thanks for?

And why?

That doesn’t mean it is the only composer or work you give thanks for.

And anything is allowed.

You could name a famous composer such as Johann Sebastian Bach (below) or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven or Johannes Brahms. Or you could name a one of the many neglected composers.

You could also name a big work such as a symphony by Gustav Mahler or Anton Bruckner, or an opera by Giuseppe Verdi or Richard Wagner. Or you could name a small work, maybe a song by Franz Schubert or a prelude by Frederic Chopin (below).

The music itself does not have to relate to the Thanksgiving holiday.

All that matters is that you recognize the role that important music plays in your life and that you give an example of what music you are especially grateful for – perhaps with a YouTube link to a performance that adds to our sampler.

That’s it.

The Ear wants to hear.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Musical Thanksgiving!


  1. I’ll go with the Bach Well Tempered Clavier, Books I and II. I’m paraphrasing Robert Schumann here — “If there is such a thing as Daily Bread for pianists, it has to be the WTC.” But — so much, much more of Bach; for me, his organ music is some of the best music of all time.

    Comment by Tim Adrianson — November 22, 2018 @ 9:55 am

  2. Right now, the luminous textures of Lux Aeterna by Morten Lauridsen. But a few days ago, it was Bach’s English Suites.One’s favorites can change with one’s state of mind.

    Comment by Ann Boyer — November 22, 2018 @ 9:16 am

  3. It being Thanksgiving today, the songs that resonate with me at this moment are Thanksgiving hymns from my youth, especially Praise to the Lord, the Almighty and We gather Together, Composers who create this same mood of Thanksgiving: Copeland and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
    Sorry to exceed the limits of the question. I am feeling exhuberantly thankful.

    Comment by George Savage — November 22, 2018 @ 8:46 am

  4. On Thanksgiving, I give thanks to William Billings, colonial Massachusetts music teacher, composer, singing master, especially for his Chester (1770), adapted by William Schuman, also an inspiring composer and teacher.

    Comment by Ronnie Hess — November 22, 2018 @ 8:12 am

  5. Dear Jake, I have been attending the symphony for at least 20 yrs. We see opportunities for young musicians but no evidence that we are building an audience for the future. My friends and I have mid balcony seats for Sat. Night. These are perfect for all concerts. Behind us are at least 20 rows of empty seats. Why doesn’t the symphony give those seats to music teachers, string teachers, band teachers, piano teachers so they can encourage their students to come too concerts often. The one concert a season the symphony plays for students does not make a symphony fan. Any ideas? Polly Kuelbs

    Sent from my iPhone


    Comment by Polly Kuelbs — November 22, 2018 @ 7:40 am

    • There are rush tickets for students and in my part of the orchestra we see many of them on Saturday night. That said, more encouragement would be wonderful, perhaps from the School of Music? Music teachers?

      Comment by Ronnie Hess — November 22, 2018 @ 8:09 am

  6. Nearly any Beethoven symphony, but a lot of the 7th lately.

    🎥 Beethoven Symphony No.7 3rd Mov. 貝多

    Comment by Chad — November 22, 2018 @ 5:57 am

  7. Music is mankind’s greatest achievement in my view. How could anyone live without it, in whatever genre he or she prefers? I couldn’t live without the classical composers (but also the rock, folk and jazz greats). So, I’ll give a general “thanks” to all music composers and performers who have given each of us so much.

    Comment by David Salsieder — November 22, 2018 @ 5:53 am

  8. Several composers: Alan Hovhaness and Jean Sibelius. I might add that when I need inspiration, I often turn to Bach. I also find Handel’s keyboard words to be awesome.

    Comment by fflambeau — November 22, 2018 @ 3:20 am

  9. Augustin Barrios guitar


    Comment by Theodora Lightfoot — November 22, 2018 @ 2:07 am

  10. Mahler’s 4th Symphony, specifically the last movement (A Child’s Vision of Heaven). This was the first Mahler I ever played, in my first year at the UW, and it was Bettina Bjorksten’s final public performance. The combination of her beautiful voice and the words Mahler used simply reached in and tore the heart out of my chest. I still can’t listen to it without tearing up.

    Comment by bratschespeilerin — November 22, 2018 @ 12:49 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,266 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,368,010 hits
%d bloggers like this: