Saturday, December 17, 2011

My 12 Days of Christmas

Day 7 - The Music!

What would the Christmas Season be without the music?  Flat as a doormat!

From the simplest carol like "Silent Night" to the fancy oratorios ("Messiah") and even the symphonic ballet "The Nutcracker Suite" we all adore the music.  Christmas music in the malls starting Labor Day - not so much!

We're more likely to be listening to classical music most of the time, but when I look in our CD rack the variety of old favorites I find is astounding.  From country to classical, choruses, orchestras, instrumentals - it's all there.  Here are a few of my favorite things:

Joy to the World (Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus) - This has been my absolute favorite Christmas album for decades.  Released in 1987, it was recorded in 1971 and is the full rich, glorious sound of full orchestra and chorus.  It fills the house with sound - strings, big brass, timpani and voices - and makes you want to replay it all evening.  This is my go-to album for tree decorating.  Somehow I got it into my head that the name of the album was "The Glorious Sound of Christmas".  It's not, but that would be a better name for it.

Odetta: Christmas Spirituals - Probably Mitchell's favorite album.  Just a guitar, a bass and a bit of drum set and the unique voice of Odetta.  It takes one to the core of what Christmas is all about.

The Christmas Album (Canadian Brass) - Who doesn't love brass?  Carols and secular songs arranged for a tuba and its friends.  We actually have three CD's by brass quintets.  They are like the champagne of music - all sparkly and bubbly.

Russian Christmas (St. Petersburg Chamber Choir with Olga Borodina) - If you don't know Russian choral music, this would be a great way to introduce yourself to it.  While American choral music often features the high clear tones of the sopranos (think St. Olaf's choir and their tone), Russian choral music starts with the biggest most solid bass support that you can imagine.  In person, you can actually feel the sound vibration of the basses.  You won't understand a single word of this album, but maybe that's a good thing.  You have to listen with your heart, and that's not a bad thing.  Olga Borodina is a splendid mezzo-soprano, so this is a double treat.

Songs of Joy and Peace (Yo-Yo Ma and Friends) - A  wonderful mix of Yo-Yo Ma and everyone from Diana Krall to Dave Brubeck to Renee Fleming to Chris Botti.  Popular songs as well as standard carols and more classical Chrismas music, all tied together with five improvisations on "Dona Nobis Pacem"  (Give us Peace).  A lovely gift to the ears.

Christmas Harp (no artist given!) - What could be more Christmasy than standard carols played by a harp?  I know!  From "What Child is This?"  to "Silent Night", it's the perfect thing for Christmas Eve.

Christmas (Michael Buble') - The 2011 addition to our collection.  We need more crooners.  Enough said.

Hope you're listening to your favorite sounds of the season,  too.


  1. I am always looking for more to add to my Christmas listening pleasure, thanks for the a very helpful list. - Have a nice weekend!

  2. Wow, great choices! And many new ones to me. One of our favs is Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV248. Turn up the volume :)!

  3. My absolute favorite is The Rat Pack Christmas... lots of Sinatra and Dean Martin, and I'm looking forward to playing at my in-law's this year.
    I'm putting the Michael Buble on my wish list for next year though.
    Happy Holidays! ;-)