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

Charles Gounod’s opera Faust had its premiere on this date — March 19, 1859 — in Paris. It quickly became one of the most popular operas in the repertory. In the current Lyric Opera production of Faust, who is singing the role of Mephistopheles?

Answer: Christian Van Horn

Conductor Sir Roger Norrington was born on this date in 1934 — he’s 84 today. Sir Roger began his professional music career as a violinist and as a tenor soloist. In 1962, he founded the Schütz Choir of London. Then in 1978, he founded his own period-instrument orchestra and remained the music director for 20 seasons. What was the name of Sir Roger Norrington’s orchestra?

Answer: The London Classical Players

Today is the Ides of March, the day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to March 15th. It was marked with religious observances and as a day for settling debts. It became famous as the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate in 44 B.C. Who wrote an opera about Julius Caesar titled Giulio Cesare?

Answer: Handel

Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Mikado had its premiere on this date in 1885 in London where it ran for 675 performances. The plot of the show involving the gentlemen of Japan, the Mikado, Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum, Pooh-Bah, and the rest takes place in what fictitious Japanese town?

Answer: Titipu

The German-born composer William Herschel moved to England and became an astronomer while continuing to compose. On March 13, 1781 he discovered the planet Uranus, the first planet discovered since antiquity. As a result, King George III appointed him Court Astronomer. In Gustav Holst’s The Planets, what is the subtitle or nickname for the planet Uranus?

Answer: "The Magician"

  • 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?

      • Debbie Alongi

        I agree with too much Bach in the morning.With many new composers out there such as Kevin Puts, Van der Roost>Give them a listen.How much would it be to add these composers to their library.

    • 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


    • Greg Pawlowski

      I agree.

    • ChallengePrivilege

      Should the media and all of its workers keep silent about the Trump’s systematic dismantling of environmental protections, disdain of health care for the elderly and poor, spitting at the concept of mutually beneficial international diplomacy, open contempt for religious and racial minorities, and reckless rhetoric combined with proud ignorance that could lead the world to nuclear destruction? What exactly is there to support or celebrate, anyway? If you’re unhappy with WFMT, then check out Fox, InfoWars and Breitbart to see the culture and category of media that typically accompany Trump boosterism. I have always known WFMT announcers to be well-spoken and apparently good-hearted individuals. Why should Carl Grapentine break from that pattern? Please be just who you are, Carl.

    • Brian1959

      I wrote Carl years ago about the bias in the news segment. He said he reads the AP copy as presented to him.

  • 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!

    • Sensibility

      I agree, have been raised on WFMT so listening now well over 50 years. It is a bastion of educated and intelligent opinion and programming. It is sanity especially now in this time of insanity and the cloud of totalitarianism truly threatening this democracy. It is ridiculous and insulting to label Carl Grapentine or the station anything other than sensible and intelligent and necessary to our civilized society.

  • 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?????

  • Greg Pawlowski

    I agree with John Shade. I drive my grandkids to school every day, and I used to listen to WFMT. When I choose to listen nowadays, I often turn the station off in disgust after hearing Carl Grapentine’s gratuitous editorial comments. Case in point: When the dictator in North Korea threatened to send missiles our way, Grapentine criticized Trump for not trying to placate the madman. He all but accused Trump for the belligerent rhetoric. I ( hopefully ) will listen to WFMT for the music, and not for Grapentne’s amateur editorializing. It is a mistake for WFMT to think that all of its listeners are of the liberal-progressive ideology.

  • Greg Pawlowski

    I drive my grandkids to school every day, and I used to listen to the beautiful music on WFMT. Nowadays, when I choose to listen in the mornings, I often turn off the station after a gratuitous Carl Grapentine editorial. Case in point: When the dictator in North Korea threatened to send nuclear missiles our way, Grapentine criticized Trump for not trying to placate the madman. He all but accused Trump of being the cause of heightened rhetoric. I will ( hopefully ) listen to WFMT for the music and not for Grapentine’s amateur editorials. WFMT is making a mistake if it assumes all of its listeners are of a liberal-progressive mind set. Maybe WFMT could give Grapentine his own editorial time slot.

  • Greg Pawlowski

    I used to listen to WFMT for its beautiful music every morning as I drove my grandkids to school. Nowadays, when I choose to listen to WFMT in the morning I often turn it off in disgust. The reason being that Carl Grapentine often gives gratuitous anti-Trump editorial comments. Case in point: When the dictator in North Korea threatened to send nuclear tipped missiles our way, Grapentine criticized Trump for not placating the madman. Grapentine all but blamed Trump for the heightened rhetoric. Maybe WFMT can give Grapentine his own editorial / commentary time slot. At least then I would be warned instead of being ambushed. WFMT is making a mistake if it believes that its listeners are all of the liberal-progressive mind set. Are its listeners as easily replaced as an announcer?

    • zz4j9m

      The idea that there is any excuse or defense for this disaster of a president and that he should be treated normally is repugnant. If ever there were a time to speak out against a growing fascism, it is now. Opposing this horrible president is hardly a liberal-progressive mind set. The well-being of the nation, and quite possibly the world, is at stake. Those who continue to support this man have many screws loose, or worse.

  • Lynn

    Sorry dumb brunette

  • pbk

    How unfortunate the anyone listening to WFMT would not know the answer to Carl Grapentine’s morning quiz today because the station halted 40 years of playing A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. Two years ago I protested this change and was told that surveys now demonstrate that listeners don’t like “spoken word” programming; so out with Dylan Thomas, Charles Dickens, and seasonal poetry. With such an outlook, Studs Terkel wouldn’t even get a job interview at WFMT.

    “Spoken word” is an essential element of the fine arts that drive WFMT’s mission. These recordings are rare, of historical interest, feature timeless sentiments offered by great actors and speakers, and most important, represent the station’s operating principle that good programming that, while informed by listener tastes, requires judicious selection of works that elevate, instruct, and inspire.

  • whatitis

    Interesting that there are so many deleted comments here. Do authors delete them or is it that anything critical of leftist bias is deemed uncivil? Hope WFMT is not going the way of Facebook and censoring thought that counters their oh so tolerant bent.

    • Splishette

      Whatitis – When comments are deleted it’s because the authors have violated a rule (no slander, no vulgarity, etc).

  • Stuart

    Having WFMT take any political slant, and more specifically Carl’s outraged tone when reporting political news, is jarring. It’s inappropriate in the way of a relative expressing his own religious or moral views at a family celebration – wrong time, wrong place. It’s an unnecessary intrusion from a morning radio show that used to be a bit of sanctuary. WFMT is a wonderful station but advocating any political position alienates half the listeners without really animating, very effectively, the other half. As a member, it is regrettable to see the radio station become another participant of the vitriol available from so many other sources. There are more appropriate forums for the debate. WFMT will lose it prominence as a source of culture and art if it chooses to involve itself in sausage making.

  • petracic

    Rule Britannia