I've been decorating the Christmas tree in our den today and listening to Christmas music on the CD player. Music is one of the things I truly love about the Christmas season. We like to listen to a variety of Christmas music at our house, and thank goodness we have a pretty good collection because they play the same old tunes over and over on the cable music channel and the radio.
A few of our favorites are the soundtrack from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
We like Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas music. I also have a CD titled "A Victorian Christmas," by Robin Petrie. I've had this one forever; it's a compilation of instrumental carols for hammered dulcimer, harp, piano, and strings.
The carols are mostly of English and Irish origin, such as "The Holly and the Ivy," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "The Wexford Carol," and "Greensleeves," to name a few.
The music I'm enjoying the most on this particular day is a CD by Diana Krall called "Christmas Songs," featuring the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Are you familiar with Diana Krall's music? Diana is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. Her voice is truly amazing. We have a lot of her other music, and I gave my husband her Christmas CD a few years ago.
If you like Diana Krall, I think you'll love this CD. She brings a jazzy feel to her rendition of classics like "Jingle Bells," "Let It Snow," and "Winter Wonderland." She also performs the vocal version of "Christmas Time is Here," from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and she does it beautifully. And thankfully, there's no rendition of "Santa Baby." ;) I've heard that one waaay too much.
On "Christmas Songs," Diana covers two Irving Berlin pieces, "White Christmas," and a song called "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep."
But my very favorite of all these is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." What is it about this song? I can't put my finger on it, but it always makes me feel a little sad. I think it's the line, "Through the years we all will be together, if the Fates allow..." And that always makes me think of our loved ones who are no longer with us in person, though they are with us in spirit. One of the more poignant parts of Christmas for all of us, I imagine. Another song which always makes me sad is "I'll Be Home for Christmas," sung from the point of view of an overseas soldier during World War II, writing a letter to his family. It always tugs at my heart strings.
On an entirely different note (no pun intended) hearing and seeing an orchestra and choral group perform "The Hallelujah Chorus" absolutely gives me chill bumps. I never tire of hearing it at Christmas. As well, I love the traditional Christmas carols we sing in church; I've known and loved them since childhood.
What are your favorite Christmas songs? I'd love to hear from you.