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08 December 2006

Alleluja! Exultate, jubilate! / anybody got any decent Xmas music?

Christmas Cat, by Edward Gorey

Post this date to F_Minor, Internet Home of the Worldwide Glenn Gould Kult:

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Okay, it's that ghastly season again where music lovers have to wear industrial noise-cancelling ear gear for a month.

First off, so I won't be spanked for an OT ... Did GG ever record anything that qualifies as Christmas Music? I sure wouldn't mind filling the living room with it.

(The default around here is John Denver and the Muppets, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.)

So ... can anybody recommend his/her favorite Hi-Quality Christmas Music? Something you can play for Yule guests without feeling ashamed?

One Yuletide decades ago, my former in-laws gifted us with a huge 4-LP set of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Greatest Christmas Hits, and expected us to play it constantly during their visit. The thing made me so ill that I snuck it down to the Public Library at midnight and shoved it through the Book Deposit hole with a message taped to it:

We're sorry we can't give this record a good home. Please give this record a good home. Merry Christmas and Thank You.

If this CD is still for sale, I enhusiastically recommend

A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert

Sony Classical SK 48235

Kathleen Battle, soprano
Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano
Wynton Marsalis, trumpet
Andre Previn (conductor, pianist)
Nancy Allen, harp
The American Boychoir
The Christmas Concert Chorus
The Orchestra of St. Luke's

(recorded live 8 December 1991)

featuring

* The Twelve Days of Christmas
* Gesu Bambino
* "Alleluja" from "Exultate, jubilate"
* We Three Kings of Orient Are
* I Wonder As I Wander
* Go Tell It On The Mountain
* Evening Prayer (from "Hansel und Gretel")
* Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
* Maria Wiegenlied
* The Holly and the Ivy

... and about 20 other old chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but you'll never hear them performed more beautifully. This hour of Christmas Music doesn't sound in the least like fingernails on a blackboard.

So what do you guys got?

Wishing everyone a musically beautiful Christmas!

Bob

7 comments:

abbas said...

weirdly enough, the CBC was broadcasting live all day today from glenn gould studio for a live audience in order to raise donations and charity for the daily bread food bank. i was driving most of the day, so as always was fun listening in to cbc radio one and getting my cbc fix. i realize this is a completely irrelevant comment.

Bob Merkin said...

this ain't irrelavent to My Kult. Thanks! I'll pass along your Big Glenn Gould CBC News Scoop to my fellow GG F_Minor (GG's favorite music key) Kultists, and they'll love it!

Have you seen "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould"? Of course it's almost all filmed in and around Toronto. GG was one world-class Weird Guy, and this movie captures his one-of-a-kind personality and fantastic talent just charmingly.

Jim Olson said...

Some Christians might point out that it is technically the liturgical season of Advent.

Christmas does not begin until after sunset on the 24th of December, lasts 12 days until January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany.

Of course, most Christians started singing Christmas carols in church the Sunday after Thanksgiving, encouraged by ignorant and ill-informed pastors and music directors.

This coming Sunday is only the second sunday of Advent. Oddly, the fourth Sunday of Advent is also Christmas Eve this year.

I intensely dislike this time of year. I think the twits who want to put the "Christ" back in Christmas ought to be more concerned with putting the Mass back into Christmas and remember that it is not celebrated until December 24th!

Bob Merkin said...

this time of the year is a torment if you have to subject yourself to such a din of crappy hypergimmicky schlocky kitschy music. it's possible to close your eyes to a lot of Modern American Christmas, but it's impossible to close your ears.

as for your gripes -- well, uhhh, until the Revolution, Comrade, Christmas is about retail profits, and thus the Chrismas Season really runs from Halloween to about 8 pm 24 December. And you better pray for a Merry Christmas, or the whole economy slides into a recession, and unemployment rises another 4 percent.

well look -- Europe now has a "Slow Food" movement, a reaction to Fast Food.

So whatever your vision of Christmas is, maybe you're the dude to start the Real Christmas movement, and lead us not into the Shopping Malls and the maxed out Credit Cards.

but anyway, quit being such a grinch and tell me if Boston's gonna have any real pretty live seasonal concerts, huh? with real pretty music, huh?

on 2 January we're gonna see The Magic Flute at the Met in NYC!!! Wheeeeee! A matinee! And then we're just gonna GAWK!!!

Jim Olson said...

Ah, as for concerts, etc, I recommend the following events, both of which I have parts in.

Friday, Dec. 15th at 7 p.m. at Old South Church in Boston, the Back Bay Chorale will be presenting their annual Christmas concert. Repeats on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 17th.

www.backbaychorale.org for tix.

Sunday, Dec. 17th at 11:00 a.m., Marsh Chapel will be presenting its annual Lessons & Carols.

Might be a nice double header to come in on Sunday for the 11:00 service, go have lunch, then come back for the afternoon BBC concert. Buy tix for Sunday afternoon soon...it sells out.

patfromch said...

eh scrooge, of course chrissie is all about selling and marketing and stuff like that nowdays. I even saw 2 Punks standing in line in front of the checkout of the electreonics dept of a local Warenhaus, not even they can escape....
advent is still celebrated as a traditon where I live including advent candles, special mass on advent sunday and advent calendars for the kids.
As for the music: Anonymous 4 singing medieval hyms and liturgy for chrissie. Essential. period.

(Pat's Bad Habit cannot resist to listen to Led Zep IV while decorating the chrissie tree..)

despicableteacher said...

Hi Bob,
I have The Klezmatics' Woody Guthrie »Happy Joyous Hanukkah» , does that count?