Classical Music

(Mostly) Classical Christmas

This week I’ve shared a lot of samples of classical music that we all know, but didn’t necessarily know that we knew them. We’ve heard this music in cartoons and movies, but possibly didn’t realize their actual origins in classical music. My hope is that you’ve discovered one or two new pieces of classical music and will start to listen to it a little more often than before.

Today I thought I’d share a few pieces of Christmas music – that you didn’t necessarily know are Christmas music! And well – if they’re not, they sure sound great on some of the “Classical Christmas” albums that are out there. Besides, Christmas music or not, I always enjoy listening to them around the holidays.

This is a link to Shepherds’ Music by the Boston Pops under the direction of Arthur Fiedler from their White Christmas Album. I have no idea who wrote it since I only have the CD and not the booklet that came with the CD, but that’s ok – it’s very pretty and I enjoy hearing it this time of year. If you know who the composer / arranger is (Could be Fiedler himself?!), please let me know.

Celtic influence

This is a Galician Carol by Spanish musician, Carlos Nuñez. I originally heard him perform several years back when he stepped out on stage with the Chieftains who were sharing a concert with Sarah McLachlan. That was such a fun show and this song will definitely make you think of celtic music – since that’s what it is

A bit more traditional

Here’s one by Mozart that you’re probably heard a time or two: Sleighride!

I first heard this on another one of my Boston Pops Christmas CDs: The Dream Pantomime from Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck. It’s a gorgeous piece of music originally written for a ballet. At the Holiday Pops concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, we were treated to a pair of ballet dancers who performed in the front of the state when the orchestra played this for us. Gorgeous! Here’s a version by the Tulsa Youth Orchestra.

Ever a fan of J.S. Bach, I had to include this version of Sheep May Safely Graze, played here by the New River Orchestra out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Finally, here’s a piece I enjoy by Michael Praetorius: In Dulci Jubilo, performed by the Gabrieli Consort and Players under the direction of Paul McCreesh.

Yeah so what – it’s not Classical

…but it is Harry Connick, Jr, so that’s the next best thing, right?  Besides, he’s performing in a church and a lot of classical music was written for the church, right? OK, I’m stretching it a bit. Here he is performing a jazzy song of his called “It Must’ve Been ‘ol Santa Claus.” The song itself actually starts about 1:15 into the video.

Call for Audience Participation

This is a blog so it’s a little hard to organize an online sing along, but I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite classical (or not quite classical) Christmas songs? Anything by Bing Crosby? His music in in my holiday playlist. Leave a comment below to share your favorites.

Merry Christmas!

 – Heather


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