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Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Musical Musings

I am sure you all have heard plenty of Christmas music throughout the stores, television, church, you name it. Some of the music is quite nice and puts us in the spirit. Some of your fellow bloggers want to share the ones that they have watched (as in the DVD) or listened to during the season. I think there is a little bit for every one here, from Renaissance to classical, to the popular music of today.

Quotidian Grace shares this DVD with us:
Rejoice & Be Merry with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the King's Singers, this DVD has what was shown on PBS for the 2007 year, plus another hour and a half of extra music. Quotidian Grace highly recommends it!

Michelle from Quantum Theology shares this:
I'm listening to Avro Part's Magnificat. It's ethereal, and makes a lovely backdrop for my meditations without being so forceful I end up where the composer had in mind, rather than God!

For the entire CD you can find it here: Pärt: Da pacem
For the Magnificat only: Pärt: Magnificat
Youtube video: Magnificat (Arvo Pärt)


Leah Sophia contributes her preferences for the season.

First, lyrical beauty from Amy Grant, "I Need a Silent Night" from Grant's album The Christmas Collection

Youtube video here.

With our frequent multitasking and sensory overload, still we realize we need the kind of deep peace only the Son of Peace can bring us, yet at times we imagine we can buy it rather than awaiting it as gracious gift; nonetheless, the Savior's birth arrives again and brings along with it an end of fear and the song of the angels, messengers of gospeled good news, and we receive a silent night conclusion to this particular choatically noisy crazy day (and to tomorrow's craziness, too).

I first really discovered "Valley Winter Song" by Fountains of Wayne on the current LL Bean commercial and found a very fitting, sepia-toned winter in New England video
on Youtube.

This song evokes the New England winters I've experienced and endured, with their gray, salted, slushy snow, wind chill temps below zero, trying to write papers, anticipating final exams, lessons and carols at Harvard's Memorial Church, house parties with eggnog and hot spicey glögg along with the assurance "summer's coming soon" because the winter solstice is finally here, coming "to those who wait"...what else to do but to bring to you a creative gift, a valley winter song?

"You know the summer's coming soon
Though the interstate is choking under salt and dirty sand
And it seems the sun is hiding from the moon

"And the snow is coming down
On our New England town
And it's been falling all day long
What else is new
What could I do
I wrote a valley winter song
To play for you

During the course of the season, I do try to limit myself to two albums a year for Christmas music. I mean, one can only listen to so much during a season, right??? Well, I exceeded the amount I intended to limit myself to, but no regrets, as the ones I selected have been what I would terms "keepers".

Enya came out with a lovely album And Winter Came. As typical, her music soothes the savage beast after a long day at work. What I call good "night night" music too! Listen to one of her selections here on a music video of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Mannheim Steamroller usually has good Christmas albums and I found one that was released ten years ago that caught my attention this year. Renaissance Holiday offers the best of Christmas music played so it keeps the beauty of the music from the early music era, but does enough nuking to make it enjoyable for the common listener.

So... what are you listening to this season? Have you found some "you need to have this"!!
Share it in the comments with us. I want to know what you are listening to as this season of Advent comes to a close and brings in the season of Christmas. Bring it on!


  1. Mary Chapin Carpenter has a new holiday CD out, which I love.
    And Sarah McLachlan's wintersong is also a fave.
    And, naturally, the Barenaked Ladies album "Barenaked for the Holidays" which is super fun! It has Hannukkah songs too, which always make me smile. :-)

    thanks for a great christmas music round up--I'm off to iTunes!

  2. I couldn't get Leah Sophia's Amy Grant link to work, so I went searching on youtube and found it there. Then I tried to post the link myself and couldn't get it to work. Go searching. It's a beautiful piece.

    Thanks Leah Sophia. I needed to hear this one today.

  3. Sue,
    I think I fixed the link on Leah Sophia's Amy Grant Link.

    Teri I am off to listen to your recommendations!

  4. I can't find any recordings of it, but a few weeks ago I heard a fantastic choral piece called "Wonder of All Wonders" by JAC Redford. One of the texts in particular, by Brian Wren, was new to me and really amazing:

    Good is the flesh that the Word has become
    good is the birthing, the milk in the breast,
    good is the feeding, caressing and rest,
    good is the body for knowing the world,
    Good is the flesh that the Word has become.
    Good is the body for knowing the world,
    sensing the sunlight, the tug of the ground,
    feeling, perceiving, within and around,
    good is the body, from cradle to grave,
    Good is the flesh that the Word has become.
    Good is the body, from cradle to grave,
    growing and aging, arousing, impaired,
    happy in clothing, or lovingly bared,
    good is the pleasure of God in our flesh,
    Good is the flesh that the Word has become.
    Good is the pleasure of God in our flesh,
    longing in all, as in Jesus to dwell,
    glad of embracing and tasting and smell,
    good is the body, for good and for God,
    Good is the flesh that the Word has become.

    I'm on the hunt for a CD!

  5. Sorry, I gave the wrong title - it should be, "Welcome All Wonders." My mistake!

  6. Thanks for the tip about Renaissance Holiday! I love music from that period. Just downloaded it from iTunes.

  7. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! It's Fountains of Wayne singing the L.L. Bean song! FT and I have been trying to figure this out for weeks sounded like the Barenaked Ladies, but we couldn't understand why Canadians would be rhapsodizing about the joys of New England in the wintertime. Anyway, the brain cells that have been working overtime trying to solve this riddle can relax now!

  8. I am a big fan of the Chieftains' Christmas albums, "The Bells of Dublin" and "Christmas In Rome." The first has Burgess Meredith reading "I Sing of a Night In Bethlehem" before they sing the poem in Gaelic - just wonderful.

    Another album I bought last year is the St. Olaf Choir's "Christmas in Norway." Beautiful stuff.

  9. I echo Teri's recommendation for Mary Chapin Carpenter. My favorite is the title track "Come Darkness, Come Light". I'm also enjoying Shane & Shane's new CD "Glory in the Highest".

  10. I'm a big fan of Bells of Dublin too! And to keep myself in a Celtic mood, The Boys of the Lough have wonderfully haunting Christmas tunes and lyrics. I tend to need that kind of break from the commercial Christmas music that's in the background from November onward.

  11. Thanks thanks thanks for all the gorgeous suggestions. The Enya version of O Come O Come Emmanuel is free on iTunes right now....

  12. Here's what I've been listening to:

    A rather quirky CD of holiday tunes by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones called "Jingle All the Way". Very interesting.

    Have also enjoyed Yo Yo Ma's new CD, with many versions of "Dona Nobis Pacem".

    Also, through the NPR store came across "Classical Carols", piano versions of carols based on various classical styles. Quite well done.

    And when I really need to kick into high gear, there is always Transiberian Orchestra.


    Rick Oppelt

  13. Sisterfilms has taken me to two beautiful concerts - one was a radio play performed on stage called All Is Calm, about the Christmas Truce of 1914, performed by three actors and Cantus. I bought two of their Christmas albums called Comfort and Joy. If you look up All is Calm on the Minnesota Public Radio site I think you can hear much of what I heard. The second concert was the Rose Ensemble doing early American Christmas carols -- William Billings, Shaker songs, Southern Harmony, closing with audience singing along to "Jesus, the light of the world." Beautiful, and they have albums out also.

  14. ...NPR had the Trio Mediaeval. The "Song of Mary" is exquisite (and not recorded anywhere I can find :( ). If you like Anonymous 4 - you will adore this!

  15. It's been a day! While I was away at a working retreat one secretary quit,
    we have to reconfigure the job she did and others, the newsletter is on hold, I'm sneezing and hoping I am not getting one of the plentiful colds, I need to visit the shut-ins, this is my first Christmas eve in this church, my kids won't be home for the holiday and my husband and I will really miss being with them, we've lost some family close to us...
    but in the midst of this all I heard Wynonna sing, Let's make a Baby King.
    wow all coming together.

  16. Ok, its weird but the cd that gets the most play at our house during the Christmas season was a freebie from our energy company when we lived in GA. Christmas carols as instrumental jazz. Calming, festive and danceable.

  17. Me, I'm listening to Brave Combo's "It's Christmas, Man!" Nuclear polka for the holidays.


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