Music

Holiday Music, Traditional and Reinvented

I love old and unusual (pre-commercial-madness) holiday music. This season I spent some time prowling around Youtube and found some traditional renditions of favorites, and also some interesting reinterpretations.

The Coventry Carol deals with the Massacre of the Innocents, when Herod ordered the execution of male children under the age of two in Bethlehem, an often forgotten part of Christmas story. To me, it is a necessary counterbalance to some of the forced jollity of the season, a reminder that while many of us are celebrating, there are those who suffer who deserve our compassion.

This is King’s College Cambridge’s traditional rendition of the Coventry Carol.

Here’s a modern version composed by Kenneth Leighton, using the original words. Some commenters didn’t like the change but I find it captured the solemn subject beautifully. The young soloist is fantastic.

I’ve also loved “Gaudete”. Here’s a version by Anúna. Don’t you love their costumes?

And here’s a version described as a “post industrial groove anthem”, from the men’s choir of Milliken University.

What do you think of these pieces? Do you enjoy their modern reincarnations?

Happy Boxing Day!

Elena

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Gail Eastwood
7 years ago

Elena, I also love a lot of the old music! I must say I prefer the Anuna version of Gaudette (although the other one was fascinating!), but I listened to Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span’s version from long years ago so often, I can’t get that one out of my head –permanently fixed, including their accented version of some of the Latin words!!! I used to love going caroling with my SCA group –we sang old period songs as well as better known ones mixed in, and I liked those old ones best. I am a true anachronist!!

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