Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Music - A Little Different

Now that December is on us, the stores are filled with Christmas - gift ideas, trees, red and green decorations, and of course, the music. I know I'm going to be heartily tired of the most common carols and tunes by the time Christmas rolls around - simply from hearing them day in and day out for the next three and a bit weeks.

On the other hand, I'm firmly into Christmas mode myself and need something to keep the mood up. Despite the repetition, it's the music that does it the best - but not always the traditional Christmas music.

These are some of my favorite Christmas albums:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is on here twice, because their albums are so different. Each one tells a story as the music progresses, which makes it interesting listening. At the same time though, it's possible to tune out the story and just listen to the music - which is what I've been doing as I write Christmas letters this year. These are definitely NOT your traditional carols, although they are the carols for the most part. There's a gorgeous rendition of The Holly and the Ivy on one of the two discs - just to name one of the many songs.

My favorite is Christmas Eve and Other Stories and the story it tells.

The Enya album is, for the most part, a collection of winter themed songs, though there are a few Christmas ones on there, including a gorgeous version of Silent Night.

Loreena Mckennitt has an album of traditional Christmas songs including Good King Wenceslas, The Holly and The Ivy, the Coventry Carol etc. All of them are done in her signature style too. Very different from the standard Christmas music you hear in the stores for the most part. One of the best value Cd's I've seen in a while too, with seventeen tracks.

Sarah Brightman's A Winter Symphony album is another one that changes the mood from that found in stores to something a bit more contemplative and classical. The first few times I heard the first track though, I was puzzled. It took me a little while to figure it out, but the "Arrival" track on this album is the title track for the Arrival album by ABBA. Different lyrics though. I love this album.

Boney M does a Christmas album that's more or less the standard Christmas songs you hear on the radio, but done in their own style. Their Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord is one of my favorite Christmas songs - and, to be honest, it's a song I've been known to put on during the rest of the year too.

Sting's Christmas/Winter album is one that reminds me of the Loreena Mckennit one I've listed earlier. Some of the songs on here are traditional British, and the others are his own compositions. This was the first Sting album I ever listened to as well, and still my favorite of his.
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