Listen to Christmas

Mostly videos today, something to put you in the Christmas spirit, and I want to share with you some of my favorite Christmas music.

First, here’s a new favorite, a Winter Solstice piece–thanks to Jane George for directing me to this.

Moving on to something entirely different and not necessarily anything to do with winter or Christmas, and from one of the all time flops of the big screen, a dance scene from Becoming Jane. (It’s the season for parties, after all!) I think this is so brilliantly done because the expressions and gestures tell us so much about the relationships:

But moving a little toward Christmas now, here’s Steeleye Span performing Gaudete (rejoice), a medieval plainchant. I’ve been a fan of this group for, uh, a very long time:

What would Christmas be without the Messiah? I always try to get to a live performance although I think this year I’m not going to make one. I’m torn between the Messiah performing style I grew up with, featuring a huge local choir, and the original instrument/performance practice approach I now prefer. So here’s Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge (all boys club!) a reconstruction of the 1752 version.

And now it’s time to make you cry. First, John McCutcheon, Christmas in the Trenches. (It’s all true!) Listen to what he says at the beginning about this “story that needs to be told 365 days a year”–and may all our loved ones come home safely.

Finally, what for me is the ultimate tearjerker, the December 24 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge again–this is the beginning of the 2010 service. It always starts with the treble solo singing Once in Royal David’s City, and is broadcast live worldwide. Check out American Public Radio for the time in your area. There’s a wonderful shot of the vaulted ceiling and windows of the Chapel at about 1:20 in.

Hope you like these. What are your Christmas sounds?

Happy holidays, everyone.

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