December 17, 2009

Holiday Music Picks for 2009

It’s time again for an informal review of holiday music from my personal CD collection. Although I already have lots of holiday music, I went a little crazy this year adding to my collection.

After catching part of a TV special on WXXI, I had to get Sting’s new CD If On a Winter’s Night. The lead singer of The Police has gone a very different direction with this one – it’s a mellow CD, sometimes sounding Renaissance, other times folk or world music. In addition to a few traditional holiday songs, there’s music by Purcell, Schubert, Bach, and a couple of originals. He has great musicians with him too, on strings, guitar, brass, percussion, Northumbrian pipes, harp, and melodeon. Above it all soars Sting’s trademark voice.

I’ve recently discovered the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, and so when I saw they had a holiday CD, I decided to check it out. The CD opens with a very morose sounding “Jingle Bells,” which suddenly goes up-tempo. It’s sort of manic-depressive – and very funny and unpredictable, which I’ve come to expect from this band. In addition to the traditional Christmas songs, they have a number of originals – including “Elf’s Lament” with Michael Bublé and a beautiful Hanukkah song.

Speaking of Michael Bublé, my husband gave me Bublé’s holiday EP, which showcases this jazz crooner in a terrific version of Mel Tormé’s “The Christmas Song,” as well as “Let It Snow,” “White Christmas,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” It may be a short CD – but a number of these songs are definitely going into the holiday mix on my iPod.

After hearing the RPO’s Motown concert back in October, I decided to get a Motown holiday CD – and The Best of Motown Christmas: The Christmas Collection features great music by The Supremes, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Four Tops, and Marvin Gaye. Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” is a beautiful wish for peace on earth, and The Temptations do a really grooving version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

For something a little different, I found Sunday Music 5: Holiday. These collections are put out by Barnes & Noble and feature a wide range of music by various artists. This holiday mix includes Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson, Sufjan Stevens (I love his CD Illinois), Ray Charles, and Lou Rawls. There were also several artists I didn’t know, but was pleased to discover – The Bird and the Bee, and Imogen Heap.

And of course every year I play the RPO’s A Holiday Celebration. Jeff Tyzik’s “Chanukah Suite” is one of my favorites, and “The Twelve Gifts of Christmas” makes me chuckle. “Three Songs from Home Alone” are surprisingly touching, considering how funny that movie is. Several songs on the CD will be played at the RPO Holiday Pops concert this weekend – Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” (a classic!), “Silent Night,” “Ave Maria,” and “Gospel Hallelujah.” Click here for more info.

From everyone here at the RPO, we wish you a very joyous and happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you at the concerts this weekend and in 2010!

1 comment:

Term Papers said...

I agree with many of your points.