Friday, November 24, 2017

Christmas Music, 2017 Edition

Photos by Salt Water New England
Questions:
What are favorite pieces of Christmas music?
I'm having some friends over for Christmas dinner and I want some good background music but nothing too corny. Do you have any suggestions for some good tasteful, understated Holiday music?"




Some suggestions (with links to playable music samples on Amazon):


28 comments:

  1. Diana Krall CHRISTMAS SONGS: elegant delivery that gives extra (Jazz) polish to a very familiar lineup.

    Ancient Noëls, Maggie Sansone & Ensemble Galilei: Hammered dulcimer, recorder, viola da gamba, et. al. might not be everyone's idea of fitting music for Christmas, but Ancient Noels offers music for the contemplative, reflective time of the Christmas

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  2. To me there is nothing quite so serene and lovely as the many Windham Hill recordings; the most favorite of mine is George Winston's December. I first heard it back in 1983 when I was Christmas shopping at the gift shop in the old chapter house at St. John's the Divine in New York City. The chapter house was destroyed by fire in 2001, but the memory of that lovely music in that exquisite space remains. It is the first music I play when the season arrives. It makes great soft music, too, as a mood setter for a Christmas party.

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    1. Agreed....George Winston's December Album is great... a little short in play time though. But it is an excellent choice.

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  3. You can't go wrong with jazz for not too corny, and if they're the Xmas songbook classics sung by smooth vocalists (Vaughn, Fitzgerald, Cole, etc.) chances are you will hit the right register of festive & seasonal. Earth Kitt does a hilarious & sultry rendition of Santa Baby. Mix with classical favorites (In Dulce Jubilo; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; anything Nutcracker, etc.) will keep it light and "background" for a Christmas get together. Happy celebrating!

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  4. Don't laugh but one of our family favorites is the soundtrack to Charlie Brown's Christmas. Very pleasant background music.

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    1. Vince Guaraldi is a wonderful jazz pianist - his Lucy & Linus, and Snoopy themes are sure fire heart warmers.

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    2. Agreed! Vince Guaraldi came right to my mind too. However, I'm looking forward to listening to some of these suggestions too.

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    3. This is also one of our favourites - all ages seem to enjoy it.

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    4. This was my standard classroom music before the holidays at my former employer (I was a corporate trainer). It was perfect - a little jazzy, a little traditional, a little nostalgic for those who loved the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

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  5. Thanks for this gentle entre into the holiday season. Looking forward to many more holiday posts, especially involving great gift ideas, festive attire, and great traditional holiday decorating.

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  6. I love the Nutcracker Suite by Modern Mandolin Quartet. And as a fashion commentary, the plaid skirts are gorgeous. I still love my plaid skirts for the holidays. Apparently, the old Scottish kilts and Pendleton plaids are trendy.

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  7. John Fahey released several truly remarkable Christmas albums, the best known is the lovely "The New Possibility". Just solo guitar, in Fahey's distinctively American vision. We find that it is welcomed by our guests who find it both intriguing and mood appropriate in the holiday season.

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  8. Handel's Messiah.. The Christmas portion is wonderful as well....

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3w_EmCYrClE

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  9. Nothing beats Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, the complete version. My favorite, conducted by Antal Dorati, has been on CD for probably 30+ years, and it's one of the best recordings of it I've heard. https://www.amazon.com/Tchaikovsky-Nutcracker-complete-Suites-Orchestra/dp/B00005CCAA/ref=sr_1_12?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1511581930&sr=1-12&keywords=the+nutcracker+complete

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  10. James Galway's Christmas Carol is a favourite.

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  11. I don't suggest you particular song in specific, but I truly love the old but good, nothing of modern/rock/pop. I am good with a bit of Alan Jackson, Kenny Rogers, Tony Bennett, for example. Happy holidays!!

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  12. Nothing like Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas

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  13. This is the music of my childhood and no one sings it better than Ella. I also had a page boy and wore white shirts with peter pan collars, plaid skirts, and black pumps. I still like the music and the clothes.

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    1. I am amazed at the clothes...these young women look so pretty, well-groomed, nicely dressed. The young men, too. Sigh. (I sound like my grandmother--?) Lovely photos.

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    2. You are your grandmother...and at this time of year especially, isn't that a lovely thought.

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  14. Since the 90's my favorite Christmas music collection has been When My Heart Finds Christmas by Harry Connick Jr..I suggest it and recommend it. I think it would fit well with the other jazz vocals and instrumentals as well as most of the other music suggested.

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    1. Absolutely agree - it's not Christmastime without HCJ.

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  15. I love, and enjoy, and respect sacred Christmas music. I think it is rather irreverent to use it as background music for a social gathering.

    As a couple of commenters have already mentioned, the delightful Charlie Brown Christmas music of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi never fails to delight.

    I also second the recommendation of the Windham Hill George Winston.

    I encourage you to also check out the two Christmas albums of jazz saxophonist Dave Koz.

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    1. Social gatherings are "irreverent" by definition, no matter what the music, and Christmas parties are about having a good time, not about being "sacred." Hosts should feel free to play whatever they like, and beware of inviting dreary guests to their holiday parties above all.

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    2. Yes, nothing like a little Ave Verum Corpus for a champagne toast!

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  16. "The Holly and the Ivy" has always been one of my favorite carols. There is a beautiful "lyrics" version available on youtube. I love the pagan and Christian aspects of Christmas and this carol sweetly combines them. For background music, Windham Hill's Celtic Christmas albums are very atmospheric and peaceful. Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings to you all!

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