Home > christmas, music > The Den Mother’s Christmas Music Sampler, Vol. 1

The Den Mother’s Christmas Music Sampler, Vol. 1

Monday, November 29, 2010, 23:22 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

(Click here to listen to today’s music in a separate window/tab while you read about it below.)

Long-time readers of this blog know that the Den Mother loves music and loves Christmas. So it stands to reason that I also love Christmas music. From Thanksgiving through Epiphany, that’s all I have on my mp3 player, over 900 songs. As I did last year, I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorites.

One of the things I enjoy about Christmas music is the variety of recordings of the most popular songs. For example, I have 26 versions of “Silent Night.” But even less universally known pieces have been done by a variety of artists.

I have four different recordings of “Gabriel’s Message,” a Basque folk carol sometimes known as “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came” (the song’s first line), and I like them all for different reasons. The first is a solo, with harp accompaniment, by Welsh singer Charlotte Church. I’m not crazy about Church, or at least I wasn’t when she was a teenager; her voice was pretty, but her delivery lacked maturity. Some of her pronunciation in this particular song grates on me, but I’m not sure if it’s a result of her accent or just poor coaching. But I like the solo version and I love the harp. She recorded this song when she was 13 or 14 for an album that was released in 2000.

The next two versions I have are choral, essentially the same arrangement but each with its own distinguishing features. One is by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, England, an all-male choir including boy altos and sopranos. The other is by the Montiverdi Choir, an adult choir of mixed voices, and is in a different key from the King’s College version. Both are outstanding. Since I’m partial to choral music, I listen to these more than the other two.

The last version is something completely different, a contemporary quasi-choral arrangement by Sting. I like the idea of a contemporary musician reinterpreting an old song.

Listen for yourself and see what you think. This link will bring up a new window or tab (depending on your browser) with a web player and all four songs. Once the new window/tab opens, you can poke around the blog or navigate away.

Categories: christmas, music
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