Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas Music

While Thanksgiving is bigger on my horizons than Christmas, Christmas is still enjoyable. I though I'd share with you four cd's that my family has listened to ever since I can remember, and have wonderful memories. They are:

1. Christmas Carols, Scottish National Orchestra Chorus and Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by John Currie.

2. O Come All Ye Faithful, King's College Choir, Cambridge, conducted by Stephen Cleobury.

3. Christmastide, Jessye Norman, New York Choral Society, American Boychoir, Empire Chamber Ensemble.

4. December, George Winston.

1, 2, and 3 are all available from the Musical Heritage Society, and probably in other forms as well. 4 is available from Windham Hill Records.


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At 12/04/2006 08:53:00 AM , Blogger Susan said...

Those sound good. I love boy choirs, though I haven't had the opportunity to listen to them often. Perhaps you were trying to recommend more obscure pieces, but wouldn't you agree that there is a gaping hole in your recommendations? Where is Handel's Christmas Messiah??? ;)

At 12/04/2006 09:57:00 AM , Anonymous Don said...

Christopher Hogwood's outstanding recording of Messiah on Decca uses Oxford's Christ Church Cathedral Choir of men and boys. And there are several boychoir Christmas recordings, including "Voices of Angels" and "Ceremony of Carols," on The American Boychoir site:

At 12/06/2006 10:52:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

I love boy's choir music. I hope George or Harry (or the other boys I will probably have) will be able to sing.

Adrian definately forgot about Handel's Messiah. I wasn't able to see it this year due to no babysitters. (where were you, Susan and Hannah?)Adrian is probably really busy right now and it slipped his mind. ; )

At 12/06/2006 11:07:00 AM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Actually, I view Handel's Messiah as year-round music. There was a period in my life when I listened to the whole thing every Sunday. Perhaps it should be included, particularly as Christmas always points to Easter. It follows that I always think that for theological reasons, people should perform the entire Messiah at Christmas-time, and not just the Christmas portion proper.

Probably I should have included it. ;-)]

The best recording that I know of (and I've heard many recordings) is the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony, with Andrew Davis conducting, and Kathleen Battle, Florence Quivar, John Aler, and Samuel Ramey as soloists. It's on the EMI label.

The great thing about this recording is the following:

1. But Who May Abide, is sung by a bass, not an alto. No alto I've ever heard has done this aria justice. It's fierce!
2. He Trusted in God is suitably savage.
3. He Shall Feed His Flock and Rejoice are quite simply unequalled in this recording.
4. The tempi are just right. I suppose everyone has their own opinions as to tempi, but I really like Davis's.

Ergo, this recording is easily the best I've ever heard, and likely to be the best I ever will hear.

In Christ.

At 12/06/2006 04:31:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

Sorry, Zan, I'm, err, just not able to fit that sort of a commute in for a night of babysitting :). But you can always drive them down here if you want!

But not many people would want to sit through the entire Messiah, Adrian :). So theological reasons aside, that is a reason the whole Messiah is usually not performed at Christmas :). I admit I've never done that, though I have intentions to at some point. I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a live performance of the Messiah. I have that version of the Messiah, by the way, courtesy of your book-lenth classical recommendations some time ago. hehe.


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