Mornings with Carl Grapentine

Weekdays, 6:00 am-10:00 am
Carl Grapentine

Mornings with Carl Grapentine is as essential to Chicago as that first cup of coffee.

Each day, Carl Grapentine’s joie de vivre lights up the Morning Program on WFMT. He reports the headlines, what the weather’s doing, and who won the big game (including the winning team’s fight song). And of course, he’ll play Bach and more to get your day going.

Carl’s Morning Quiz

The iconic American composer Charles Ives was born on this date in 1874. He is one of the first American composers to achieve international fame. Much of his music was ignored during his lifetime as he made a living in the insurance business. His music includes quotations from hymn tunes and traditional songs and recalls the sounds of community dances, patriotic songs, and the town band. Ives’s father was the conductor of the town band…in what town? Where was Charles Ives born?

Answer: Danbury, Connecticut

In the last months of his life, Franz Schubert responded to a request from soprano-friend to write a showpiece for her that would allow her to express a wide range of feelings. It was not published or performed until after Schubert’s death. It’s based on the poetry of two different German poets, and it is scored for soprano, clarinet, and piano. What is this piece by Schubert?

Answer: "The Shepherd on the Rock"

The opera Oberon by Carl Maria von Weber and the masque or semi-opera The Faerie Queene by Henry Purcell are both adaptations of what play by what author?

Answer: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare

Yesterday’s question mentioned the 1989 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition which featured both Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Bryn Terfel. The 2005 Cardiff competition was won by an American soprano who is an alumna of the Ryan Opera Center of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her first solo recital CD was conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. She will be appearing here in Chicago this season in the Beyond the Aria showcase at the Harris Theater. And today is her birthday. Who is she?

Answer: Nicole Cabell

The great Siberian-born baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky was born on this date in 1962; he is 55 today. After winning Russia’s Glinka Competition, he rose to prominence in the West when he won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the Year Award in 1989. In winning that competition he beat out the local favorite, a Welsh baritone who came in 2nd and who was awarded the Lieder Prize. Who did Hvorostovsky best in Cardiff?

Answer: Bryn Terfel

  • Janeen Devine

    The H.M.S. Pinafore set sail on this date in 1878. Now give three cheers!

  • Georgia Fountoulakis

    Might anyone have the lyrics to Mikis Theodorakis Song of Praise Ode to Zeus?

  • Debra

    Carl recited the lyrics to the All Souls Song this morning, November 2nd, between 8:18-8:34 a.m. He did this preceding the beautiful song. Does anyone know the name of the song – I would really like to search for a copy of the lyrics. Beautiful!!

  • carlo Julio

    It would be nice to have a list of all the selections played during Carl’s program, why are tehy not listed in the schedule?

  • Armando

    Amor brujo is more properly translated as Wicked Love.
    It is one of those phrases that you can get lost in translation when translated word by word.

  • Jennifer Richards

    I love listening to your morning programs. They are always fun and interesting. I would like to hear Guide to Britten by Flanders and Swann and some of Donald Swann’s other songs that are not usually heard. Whatever you can dig up would be great.

  • Jennifer Richards

    What are the other music compositions, manuscripts and other lost music that has been discovered? I mean works such as the original version of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. I remember some Mozart manuscripts. Can you make a list of theses?

  • Mitchell Marks

    I recall going to a performance of “Prometheus: Poem of Fire” in around 1969 or 1970 by the Yale Symphony Orchestra (probably directed by John Mauceri), using not the original design of the color organ, whatever that might have ended up as, but instead a laser-based light show — in those days a laser show was still a possible thing. Members of the audience were given reflective shoulder covers or caps, and were asked to don any sparkly clothing or jewelry we might have brought. (I don’t recall if we were given eye protection or advised to wear our own sunglasses.) I mostly remember the novelty of the occasion, and nothing really about the music and performance!

    • Mitchell Marks

      And here is a 2010 news article about a similar performance to be staged at that time. It mentions previous performances in 1969 and 1971. (The 1969 one must be the one I attended.)

    • Whit Shepard

      …and I was backstage at Woolsey Hall shouting cues to the four people running the lightboard after the hall had been filled with sal ammoniac for 10 minutes before the performance began to provide a medium so that the multi-colored lasers could be seen all around and among the audience. It was a collaboration between Mauceri and Richard N. Gould, then a student at the Architecture School, who was and is an absolute genius. Scriabin never had it so good.

  • Phil Perry

    For the 5:58 club, I would like to request Liszt, S558, it’s called something about wasser zu singen or zu singen … wasser is in the title , maybe it’s supposed to sound like a waterfall, but it’s beautiful.

  • Lauretta

    I was delighted to be able to listen to the Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet in the car a little while ago, extending my drive so I could hear the entire recording. This has been one of my favorite pieces of music for a very long time, beginning in the 1950’s when the ballet using this score was performed by one of the visiting ballet companies. Does anyone recall whether it was the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, American Ballet Theatre, or __ ?

  • Mitchell Marks

    I was aware of the elder John Corigliano, by name, long before his son the composer arrived on the scene. On an LP of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” that my family had in my youth, concertmaster Corigliano was credited for his playing of the solo violin part.

  • John Shade

    The anti-Trump slant in Carl Grapentine’s news summaries is making me regret the contributions I’ve made to the station for years. Intelligence operatives in the Obama administration monitored the communications of the president elect and his staff and then improperly disseminated them throughout the government and to the media, yet Grapentine’s news briefs would lead you to think that the scandal is not the intelligence community’s Watergate-like abuse of authority but Trump’s inexact word choice (accusing Obama of wiretapping him instead of surveilling him).

    Every time Carl shows his anti-Trump partisanship, I become less likely to continue supporting this station.

    • john meyer

      I agree. Carl’s an affable morning host, but he’s definitely biased (as are all liberal/progressive radio personalities). Worse, he and the other WFMT hosts have become far too predictable in their programming — same stuff day after day, week after week. Is this laziness? I’d like to think they’d work harder to bring more variety to the composers most often featured. They always play the same Bach, Handel. I’m sick of hearing the Hungarian Dances when th ere’s so much other Brahms. As a matter of fact, Brahms is grossly under-represented. They should play more old recordings from the ’40’s/’50’s — Furtwangler,Mengelberg. etc.The WFMT announcers would do well to emulate President Trump’s work ethic and conviction to uproot the idea that it’s OK to keep doing the same old things over and over again.

      • M. Farley

        Like filing 6 bankruptcies?

    • Gene Skala

      I’m glad someone said something about this. Yes, I’ve noticed that too. You can hear the hatred in Mr. Grapentine’s voice by the way he places silent pauses before and after Trump when he says the words “President… Trump, …” I’ve noticed lately he hasn’t been doing this it. His dissension is totally inappropriate and as a passive listener, I feel manipulated by it. But I think he’s a wonderful host otherwise.

      • Ann Raven

        I think any bias in this case is fully justified. Trump is destroying our country, polluting the environment, shredding health care, making us a laughingstock abroad, and obviously speaking gibberish most of the time. I do not know how he has survived this long!

        • Gene Skala

          I agree with Mr. Shade and Mr. Meyer, whoever is serving the Office of the Presidency should be treated with respect when addressed. It’s about addressing the Office, not the person holding the office. Mr. Grapentine indulging in hatred against the President is surprising and unfortunate. He is a wonderful host otherwise.

          • Ann Raven

            The president should be treated with respect only if he respects and works for the good of the people he serves. In this case, he is toxic for our country and for the world. This must not be respected or accepted.

          • Gene Skala

            Ms. Raven, we were having a conversation about protocol and respect for a high office, not a personal attack against a person serving it. You are politicizing a conversation to indulge your views.

          • Ann Raven

            You are generalizing something that you should be particularizing!

          • Gene Skala

            Nice try, Ms. Raven!

          • PZak

            There certainly are a lot of “poor winners’ whining about Trump comments

    • PZak


    • Ann Raven

      This is an unprecedented time in our country when everything right and beautiful about the U.S. is being attacked and destroyed. Its natural wonders, its generous welcoming of new, productive citizens, the pollution and disregard for the release of dangerous chemicals into our air and water and destruction of our ecosystems, its “dumbing down” of our educational resources (so that our people can be more easily led), its dangerous warmongering and deportation of refugees, its hate groups and racism, all of these examples and more indicate that we are, somehow, in the clutches of entities who want to destroy us. Not an exaggeration, unfortunately. In the face of this threat, it behooves all Americans to stand up, however they can. Thank you.

    • Paul Jackson


  • Jennifer Richards

    Ho does the Chime In work? I am still trying to figure it out.

    • Jennifer Richards

      I meant to say how. Sorry

  • Jennifer Richards

    What is the context for Palladio by Karl Jenkins? I would like to know more about that.

  • Ann Raven

    I LOVE, LOVE, “The Night of the Flying Horses” by Golijov that you just played! Thank you Kaias!

  • ThankYou

    Carl certainly adds an unfortunate slant to the news, “liberally” attaching colorful adjectives and adverbs that sound like put-downs to anything non-democrat. One can almost see them gleefully scrawled in red pen across the AP “rip-&-read” copy. “Leaving the Republican’s plans in TATTERS…” “Trump’s FAILED plan…” Etc.

    Even the morning of Trump’s election, Carl felt compelled to discount the win by adding “A high percentage of those voting for Trump were uneducated, white males…” Many who happen to listen to WFMT apparently. Thanks, Carl. Guess that double degree from a Liberal Arts College (ironically) is only in my head.

    A word of advice: stop editorializing the news with bitterness and stick to the music where you truly shine. Who knows, you might even earn a few more donations come pledge time instead of comments like these.

  • Carol Olmstead

    Carl, The Fox Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is giving an organ concert Friday night, July 28, 7:30 pm. It is at Marmion Abbey, Aurora, 7:30pm. We started this tradition in honor of the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death in 2000, and have been doing it every year since, on the last Friday in July. If you can mention it, I would be grateful.
    Carol Olmstead, organist
    Glen Ellyn IL
    (630) 469-7847

    P.S. I will be playing this year, as will 12 other organists.

  • Splishette

    I love Carl’s show but as an unabashed, far left liberal I don’t hear the ‘liberal slant’ a few of the conservatives on this thread complain about hearing. In contrast, I wish WFMT and other media would report a less conservative slant on the news!

    This Administration has committed many infractions and often get off with a mere reporting of the news, no slant either way. I wonder where that elusive ‘liberal media’ I keep hearing about may be in those cases. It seems we’re all simply not content with a moderate, down-the-middle news media. 🙂

    • Ann Raven

      Honestly, I have not heard a liberal slant either!

  • Kathryn T Larsen

    Mr. Grapentine. What a wonderful way to start my day! As I backed out of the driveway, the William Tell Overture was just beginning. As the orchestra swung into the boisterous and famous “Lone Ranger” portion of the piece, I could not help but imagine what fun the members of the orchestra must have when they get to perform such a delightful selection. Thank you for sending me on my way this morning with a great big grin and goose bumps! ktl

  • David Weinberg

    Re: comments by Ann Raven, I second the motion! Quoth the Raven, evermore.

  • Ann Raven

    Carl Grapentine, thank you so much for the Mahler-in-the-morning today! Started my day off just right!

  • mud

    f**kin liberals

  • Paul Jackson

    I enjoyed the questions–got some right and learned somethings. I will always love WFMT–whenI lived in Chgo 77-86 and now that I am in ATL….maybe recycle some of Claudia’s reviews. lol?????