10 December 2007

'tis the season: christmas music

I am a total, unabashed lover of Christmas music. Carols, popular songs, hymns, orchestral music, I love it all. Years of church-going, years of high-school choir in a small town where it's not taboo to sing religious songs in public school, years of band and orchestra, and years of being assaulted with Christmas music playing in every public place during the month of December have taught me pretty much every Christmas song in existence. And there is hardly a one I don't like. Oh, there are plenty of arrangements or versiosn I hate, but the songs themselves occupy a very special, perhaps larger than usual, place in my heart.

I've tried to narrow my list of favorites down (really!) but it's still pretty lengthy, so you'll find videos galore below the fold.

I'll kick off the list with my essential Christmas music: Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. I can't wait until James is old enough to take to a live ballet performance (we're thinking maybe next year -- I was surprised to find out Greg has never seen the ballet, so I'll have to introduce them both!). But until then, this is one of the greatest videos I've ever seen:

I found a really nice performance of my second most essential Christmas music, but embedding has been disabled for this video, so you'll have to click to hear "Hallelujah" from Handel's Messiah. This makes me miss being in a choir so much.

Next up are a couple of lesser-known carols, old madrigal-style songs I learned and fell in love with in high school. First, "The Coventry Carol":

Next, "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming":

Next is a song my grandmother used to sing in church every year, but this rendition is not my grandma's baritone:

And to finish up, what's Christmas without songs about peace? I have two to share. This first one may be my favorite duet ever, Christmas or otherwise:

And finally, one of the best Christmas songs ever written. But beware, the video is sad and a little disturbing. I cried a bit.

What are your favorite Christmas songs?


karen said...

I cannot believe Greg hasn't experienced the Nutcracker - how can this be???
I love that clip you included with the Christmas lights coordinated to "A Mad Russian's Christmas" (I LOVE the Trans-Siberian Orchestra!)- Tchaikovsky represented in an entirely new way!

Ahhh - and thank you for sharing your "'tis the season" tidbits - it has inspired me to include some of my own ways of gettin' in the mood, plus it makes finals week so much more bearable! Thanks!!!

Can't wait to see y'all!

Ren said...

I'm so psyched you included David Bowie & Bing Crosby! I was just telling Mike about it last night & now he can see it.

Good choices all :)

Julie said...

My favorite Christmas song is definitely O Holy Night. I also love Hallelujah from Handel's Messiah. Your blog is getting me in the Christmas spirit!