Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Christmas Music, 2019 Edition

Photos by Salt Water New England
From a reader email:
I've scanned through your blog looking for a post I remembered in which you posted some holiday music ( I want to say last year but I may be wrong) that I really enjoyed and was looking to purchase this morning. I am however, unable to find this post. I want believe it was choir music or perhaps instrumental only. Traditional in nature (in the classical sense, not the "Santa Clause is Coming to Town sense"), nothing pop related or current. Would you be able to provide me with the album name? Any help would be much appreciated.

Some suggestions, with links to playable music samples on Amazon:

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, read by Patrick Stewart
  • A Christmas Carol by Tom Lehrer 

    1. Looking at these pictures reminds me how much loved was Fenno Heath, conductor of the Yale Glee Club from 1953-1992. I am stunned to see how many of his albums (mostly vinyl) are still available, some used, on eBay. I even believe some of his famous Christmas albums are available there. It would be nice if they were on CD, but I guess they aren't.

    2. Thank you so much Muffy! Such lovely photos!!

    3. St. Saens's Christmas Oratorio. Not that well-known but it's beautiful. And not long. There is an Iron Curtain era recording from Dresden that might be on youtube or in the bargain bin at your local record dept. It was on a cheapie label like LaserLight or Brilliant iirc. Whichever performance you pick, though, you can't go wrong.

    4. You cannot go wrong with traditional German Christmas music. 1) Weihnachten: A German Christmas, 2) Christmas in Vienna: The Vienna Boys' Choir, and 3) German Christmas Music: Kammerorchester by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. A few familiar tunes with much that is less familiar though no less beautiful choral and instrumental music fitting for Advent and the Christmas season. A quiet, calm antidote to the overplayed schlock that clogs the airwaves at this time of year.

      Best Regards,


    5. John Ritter and the Cambridge Singers have some excellent Christmas recordings. I’m particularly fond of this one:

    6. As I was looking at the list, I decided to see what else was available by The Sixteen and I discovered Riu, Riu, Chiu. Did not know the song at all, so I thought I’d see who else had done it and after trying bits of it by several artists, I listened to it done by...OK, before I tell who the winnner is, you just have to know I’m pushin’ 80 and I think the best rendition was by The Monkees.

    7. Aw, my brother used to sing solo on that one with a choral group decades ago. Fond memories...and the Monkees’ rendition was not bad. Not bad at all.

    8. I was also looking for the past post and was very grateful that it was reposted. I have Spotify and I have now downloaded most of these suggestions. Since, it is about a six-hour drive to my beach house, I will be having a Merry Christmas listening to all these.

    9. "Claus," not "Clause."