16 December 2008

Christmas Music

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Christmas music.

It's either the most beautiful, meaningful and spirit-touching music you've ever heard...

Or it's the dumbest sound to reach your ears.

Is it just me or do you ever sigh at what is called "Christmas music" this time of year? I don't think I'm a snob, but why settle for the latest Chipmunk's "Christmas" album when there is such wondrous euphony to enjoy!

Here are some of my favorite recordings of Christmas music. Feel free to share yours in the comments, too!

  • Carols from the Old & New Worlds by Paul Hillier Theatre of Voices. A capella madrigal-sounding recording of carols from Austria, Finland, Germany, England and the USA. Refreshing, simple yet beautiful, non-commercialized-sounding music. Lots of music, too--24 tracks! Very hard to find, but is available here. Made in Italy.
(Amazon's image)


  • How can this list be complete without an English boys choir recording of sacred music? I don't recall which album I have of King's College Choir, but here is a two CD set of wonderful songs called Forty Essential Carols, the Very Best of the King's College Choir, Cambridge. Echoing boys choir in a cathedral, full organ...it's all here, including some selections that are new to me. Click here for samples.
(Amazon's image)



  • Rejoice! A String Quartet Christmas. It is just what the title suggests. Pleasant string quartet arrangements of sacred Christmas music. There are three volumes. A great choice for an instrumental, classical addition to your holiday.
(Amazon's image)


  • All Is Well recorded by Michael W. Smith. This is from his Christmas album released in 1989. This song is...amazing. Take a moment to hear a sample here.
(Amazon's image)


  • Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti. One of my most precious childhood memories is listening to this LP in my grandparents' home over and over again. I imagined (and memorized) the opera, choreographed dances, and played the parts on the bright red rug in her rec room downstairs. I am not a big opera fan, but this album is wonderful! It is the story of the three wise men on their way to see the Christ child, stopping for shelter at a poor widow's house who has a crippled child, Amahl. My grandfather, who was a pastor, played one of the three kings in a community production. Hear samples here.
(Amazon's image)


  • Christmas Lounge CD in the Christmas Chill Two CD Set. I cannot believe I am recommending "lounge music?!" Believe it or not, this is a nice CD. Contemporary and mellow, it's primarily sacred carols set in smooth renditions. All instrumental. This is one of those CD's in my collection that I have no idea where it came from. I know I didn't buy it. (I haven't listened to the other CD, Christmas Jazz, nor seen the bonus DVD that comes with it that plays a fire in the fireplace on your TV, complete with optional Christmas background music. I just can't quite imagine that DVD playing in my house though...) Sorry no link...It's from Canada and I couldn't find it on Amazon. (There is one with the same title on Amazon, but different cover art and songs.)
(my picture)


  • Noel by Josh Groben. Beautiful and mellow. A special surprise in I'll Be Home for Christmas--I won't spoil it for you! Only two caveats about the album: Track 7 is over-the-top sentimentalism awash in moral relativism. Skip it. Track 4 is Ave Maria, which is a beautiful song, but is also a prayer calling for the intercession of Mary, the mother of Jesus, which I do not believe to be Scriptural. But don't let these objections stop you from downloading the other great MP3 tracks. (In fact, doing so may send a nice message to the recording industry, no?) Click here to hear samples.
(Amazon's image)

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2 comments:

erika said...

Sharaya ~ I whole heartedly agree with your post this morning, and am grateful for your blog, and your insights... wishing you a blessed Christmas ~

Sharaya Crossan said...

Erika,

Thank you so very much for your kind words and encouragement. :) What a blessing to me to know that my humble ramblings connect with someone out there in the wide world. :)

May the Christ of Christmas dwell richly in your heart through faith, this season and always...