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Sounds of the Season on WCRB

Christmas tree with white lights

From Messiah to The Nutcracker and so much more, make WCRB your home for holiday music this year.

WCRB’s three holiday streams are back! Dive in to continuous, uninterrupted cheer, whenever you please. Listen at the top of this page (click "all streams"), in our app, or through your smart speaker.

  • Perfect Holiday Party Soundtrack - Traditional holiday favorites that keep your mood festive and warm. From "Winter Wonderland" to "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas" to "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and everything in between. Press play. Party on! 
  • Ultimate Holiday Classical Mix - The best of your perfect pops holiday party mixed with classical Christmas. All of the traditional classics, plus carols from across centuries and around the globe. One ultimate stream.
  • Heavenly Holiday Classics - From baroque to renaissance and beyond, classical music lovers, rejoice! This stream features choral and symphonic masterpieces, like Handel’s “Messiah,” Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols,” and more.

On the radio

We're keeping things festive, sprinkling in seasonal celebration music written across the centuries throughout December. Then, hear selections from Bach's Christmas Oratorio on Christmas morning, and Handel's Messiah that afternoon.

And on December 15th, we hope you'll join us at GBH for an evening of festive music, featuring classical, jazz and Celtic performances by tenor Lawrence Brownlee, with pianist Kevin Miller; the Boston Children’s Chorus; the Renaissance Men; pianist Jacqueline Schwab; and The Charles Overton Group.

Tickets are available for in-person and virtual attendance — get yours here!

Here are more details about our holiday broadcasts:

Sunday, Dec. 4, 7pm
WCRB In Concert with Boston Early Music Festival

The Boston Early Music Festival Vocal and Chamber Ensembles perform two rarely heard Christmas cantatas by Alessandro Stradella, with an all-star cast including sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Theresa Wakim, tenor Aaron Sheehan, and bass-baritone Douglas Williams, as well as Corelli’s “Christmas” Concerto, led by Robert Mealy.

Sunday, Dec. 18, 7pm
WCRB In Concert with the Boston Pops

Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus celebrate the season at Symphony Hall with TFC Conductor James Burton’s new piece, On Christmas Night, and Arturo Rodriguez’s new La Noche de Posadas, as well as perennial favorites like "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and Leroy Anderson’s "Sleigh Ride!"

Monday, Dec. 19, 8pm
Handel's Messiah
In a classic recording with soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, Anne Gjevang, Keith Lewis, and Gwynne Howell, Georg Solti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Handel's Messiah.

Saturday, Dec. 24, 8pm
In a performance broadcast exclusively on CRB, Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in a newly imagined telling of the holiday classic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Immediately following this performance is the beloved recording of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, with Seiji Ozawa conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Sunday, Dec. 25, 1pm
Handel's Messiah
Jordi Savall conducts the Concert of Nations, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and a cast of singers in Handel's timeless holiday classic.

Saturday, Dec. 31, 8pm
Boston Symphony Orchestra

To welcome a new year and the hope it brings for the future, Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with its “Ode to Joy,” as well as Joseph Lanner’s light-hearted romp Die Mozartisten and Wagner’s touchingly beautiful Siegfried Idyll.

Sundays, 6am
The Bach Hour

November 27 — Masaaki Suzuki conducts the Cantata No. 62, a piece written for the quiet meditation of Advent, and the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin performs the Orchestral Suite No. 2.

December 4 — Nikolaus Harnoncourt leads the majestic Cantata No. 61, expressing the anticipation of Advent, and Catrin Finch brings the beauty of the Goldberg Variations to the harp.

December 11 — Philippe Herreweghe conducts the exuberant Magnificat in its original version for the season, including the rarely heard Christmas interpolations.

December 18 — Organist Gerhard Weinberger plays Bach’s Canonic Variations on “Vom Himmel hoch,” a masterpiece for Advent performed on an instrument Bach himself played when it was new, and John Eliot Gardiner conducts another work for the season, the Cantata 132.

December 25 — Philippe Herreweghe conducts the extroverted Cantata No. 63, “Christians, Etch This Day in Metal and Marble!”, one of the composer’s earliest works written for Christmas Day.

January 1 — John Eliot Gardiner leads the Cantata No. 190, “Sing to the Lord a New Song,” written for New Year’s Day, and pianist Igor Levit plays the Partita No. 5.