Christmas carols

My Favorite Christmas Carols/Songs (Part III)

Welcome to day 3, the final day of the Christmas Carol/Song list.  Miss the previous posts in this series?  Catch up here and here. Before we get to the songs of the day, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  And today, on the final day of the list, you get a BONUS track - three selections!  Let's get started.

Traditional Pick of the Day - Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

There's not much to say about "Lo, How a Rose" except that when it's done right, it will take your breath away.  It is a carol of German origin, and here is a wonderful recording with the German text by the Monteverdi Choir.

Guilty Pleasure Pick of the Day - Silver Bells - The Temptations

Family trips in the car to Vermont every Christmas pretty much consisted of my brother and I fighting the entire time, and listening to the Temptations Christmas tape.

Yes kids, that's right, I said "tape."

We had a cassette tape, and man did we get our money's worth out of that thing.  Here is the Temptations singing a classic Christmas song.  It just brings warmth to your heart and a smile to your face!

BONUS TRACK!! - Lo, How a Rose/The Rose

This is a unique arrangement of "Lo, How a Rose" and "The Rose," an Amanda McBroom song made famous by Bette Midler. This makes the list because "The Rose" is actually my mother's favorite song - and for good reason - it's a beautiful song.  So, Mom - this one is for you!

(P.S. As a composer I must give my two cents here for a moment - I think the arrangement could have done more integrating the two songs, one on top of another, instead of simply dovetailing the phrases of one song with the other.  But, it's still a fun piece.  Ok, off my composer soapbox.)

My Favorite Christmas Carols/Songs (Part II)

Welcome to day 2 of the Christmas Carol/Song list! Catch up with Part I here. Traditional Pick of the Day: O Little Town of Bethlehem - performed by the Marsh Chapel Choir directed by Dr. Scott Allen Jarrett

There's no question that this is a wonderful Christmas carol.  But to be honest, I'm including it on the list both because of the beauty of the carol itself, and because I wanted to post a performance by the Marsh Chapel Choir and conductor Scott Jarrett.

Until a couple of weeks ago I didn't know anything about the Marsh Chapel Choir, but I was fortunate enough to attend their annual Lessons and Carols service and it completely blew me away.  It's an amazing ensemble, with one of the most sensitive and talented conductors I have seen in a long time.

See for yourself: (P.S. Keep watching if you like "In The Bleak Midwinter" and/or "Hark the Herald Angels Sing.")

Guilty Pleasure Pick of the Day - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Harry Connick, Jr.

Fun, classic song with a wonderful arrangement by Harry Connick, Jr.  It makes the list because the opening of Connick's arrangement is maybe the best opening of any Christmas song arrangement I have heard.  It's so good, it's "bad" in jazz lingo.  So bad... so bad.

Here's a recording where someone out there created a synchronized show between the music and the Christmas lights on their house. Would I do this with my free time? Probably not. But the song still rocks.

My Favorite Christmas Carols/Songs (Part I)

For the next three days, I'm going to offer up some of my favorite Christmas carols and songs, and try to include some great recordings of them.  Each day I'm going to try to include 1 of my favorite traditional carols or songs, and 1 "guilty pleasure." Enjoy!

Traditional Pick of the Day - "Once in Royal David's City."

What better way to start this list?  A profound and beautiful carol that is so peaceful - definitely one of my favorites.

Guilty Pleasure Pick of the Day - "River" - Sarah McLachlan 

River is a beautiful song written by the legendary folk singer Joni Mitchell. Sarah McLachlan (whose voice I really like) sings what I think is a captivating version of the song.

It is one of those songs that automatically transports me to another place - childhood. Christmas time specifically. It's funny because I didn't really listen to this song much until a couple of years ago, but when I listen to the song it makes me think of my childhood. I guess the song has a bit of a nostalgic tone to it...and I certainly have fond memories of childhood Christmas expectation, joy and peace.