December 20, 2008

Holiday Music Picks – Something Different!

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to check out the dress rehearsal for the Gala Holiday Pops concerts. It’s really a thrill to hear the Festival High School Chorale sing selections from the movie Home Alone – for such a funny movie, these songs can also bring a lump to your throat. And then to hear the Chorale along with the New York Voices rehearse an a cappella version of Lully, Lullay – what a treat! There are still a few more concerts this weekend – click here for details.

The Home Alone selections are also on the RPO’s A Holiday Celebration CD, along with Jeff Tyzik’s Chanukah Suite. I love this piece – with its lush orchestration and sweet melodies, it sounds like it could be a movie score.

And now, as Monthy Python would say, for something completely different. I raided my holiday CD collection for some more unusual music for your listening pleasure.
  • If the Beatles had ever released a holiday record, it might have sounded like Have Yourself a FAB-ulous Little Christmas from The Fab Four. They take the song Norwegian Wood, and turn it into Silent Night. When I’m 64 becomes Santa Claus is Coming to Town. They even take on some of the more psychedelic Beatles numbers and it all works amazingly well!

  • The Squirrel Nut Zippers were inspired by O. Henry’s classic story to write their own version of Gift of the Magi. Their CD Christmas Caravan contains a number of original songs, all done in their inimitable style blending '30s jazz, blues, and Southern roots music.

  • Brian Setzer (former lead singer of the Stray Cats) lends his rockabilly touch to the holidays with Dig That Crazy Christmas. He brings along a full big band for his take on White Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch, and even My Favorite Things.

  • Folk singer Christine Lavin’s Christmas album features a number of a cappella rounds including the traditional Dona Nobis Pacem as well as the more unusual Tacobel Canon (yes, it’s what you might guess). She also has some wonderful stories on here, including The Runaway Christmas Tree (which I just heard Simon Pontin play on WXXI) and Polkadot Pancakes.

  • And no Christmas CD list would be complete without A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This includes all the classic music from the TV special, including the Linus and Lucy theme and Christmas Time is Here.
Happy Holidays, and here’s to more great music in the New Year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations. I love the Bela Fleck CD. At WXXI we're already thinking about 2009. Your readers might like this sneak preview of the next Phil concert in mid-January. Here's a link to a 12 min. conversation with Christopher Seaman.

Happy holidays! Brenda Tremblay, WXXI