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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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mulnectu
mulnectu
10 years ago

I may be the only person on the Eastern Seaboard to see and like “Becoming Jane”. It helped that I viewed it as a total fantasy, an alternate universe version of Austen. But I’m a sucker for costume dramas, James McAvoy was good (as always), and I thought Laurence Fox, who played Jane’s potential fiance, was VG and rather touching in the role.

As for music, thank you for all the links to those glorious sounds.

Diane Gaston
10 years ago

What a lovely Christmas gift, Janet! I loved the King’s College music. And I’ve heard the Christmas in the Trenches song before.

mulnectu, I liked the Becoming Jane movie! I, like you, never thought of it as being a story about Jane Austen.

Leanne
10 years ago

Oh my hubby and I watched the King’s College Messiah the other night. The 1725 version may explain the one chorus I didn’t know. (back in the day, at university, the uni choir sang it one year, but we didn’t do the whole thing. Just most of it.)

Jane George
10 years ago

Beautiful! Great clips, all. 🙂

librarypat
librarypat
10 years ago

Janet,
Thank you for posting the kinks to some lovely music.
I think John McCutcheon’s Christmas in the Trenches should be required listening for everyone3, especially politicians. It is heartbreaking. The world would be a much better place if we all understood his messge.

I hope you have a wonderful
Christmas and a great 2011.

Louisa Cornell
10 years ago

What a lovely group of music clips. I could listen to the King’s College one all day. Christmas in the Trenches always breaks my heart.

And I too enjoyed Becoming Jane as I saw it as a lovely story, not necessarily true, but lovely and really well done.

Paul Saunders
10 years ago

Some great clips and nice to hear John McCutcheon. Thanks for posting up Winter Solstice – I’m the the guy playing the pipes and the hurdy gurdy on it. It good to know that so many people have enjoyed it over the Solstice and Christmas time. Peace and best wishes, Paul
http://www.wynndebagge.co.uk

Janet Mullany
10 years ago

One day I’ll have a rant about Becoming Jane, but for the moment happy holidays to all, and a special welcome to musician Paul Saunders!

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