Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas albums 8-14

So, here's the next installment of can't-do-Christmas-without albums (at least for me!)

8. Amy Grant, A Christmas Album

An oldie but a goodie.  I know every chord and lyric to every arrangement by heart.  I even made one of my church choirs at one point do "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" like her arrangement.  And Smitty is playing background at this point in his career. 

9. Chris Rice: The Living Room Sessions, Christmas

Simple, beautiful piano arrangements of Christmas carols.  It is understated and perfect for the background of someone coming over for a talky visit, or just reading/studying.  It is not really that distracting of a cd, but still is beautiful to just sit and listen to.

10. Michael W. Smith, It's a Wonderful Christmas

I know...Smitty again.  It's Jon's fault...he loves this guy.  We have a good amount of his cds, as well as the piano books.  Anyway.  This second Christmas cd of Michael W. Smith is a bit more serious than the first one, but no less beautiful.  In fact, I would say this one is downright awe-inspiring, in the best possible way.  More than once have I been caught by Isaac or Jeremiah with my hands raised singing Alleluia's to my God for His precious gift to us.  I do wish his voice was not so tinny, but other than that, this album is wonderful.  He is a gifted arranger and composer.

11. Christmas with The California Raisins

Sorry for the grainy picture.  This is actually The Temptations, pretending to be raisins for some reason...I guess it was an ad thing they did in the 80s?  But...really fun motown arrangements of classic Christmas songs.  I clearly remember my dad turning up the TV when their version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" came on during one of my Christmas specials.  He loved these songs.

12. Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas

Ok, so this album is fantastic, and I know not everyone's cup of tea (including my husband's)...but you cannot deny her vocals.  Great diva moments and really fun cd overall.  Great for belting out some Christmas cheer when you need to blow off some steam.  :)

13. Lady Antebellum, On this Winter's Night

I just discovered this album, and the harmonies and arrangements are so comforting and clear.  In general, I like this group (I am a fan of country music) because they tend to do the whole story-telling thing well in a modern setting.  They also make great music that is not too over-the-top (unlike Ms. Carey above...).  It keeps popping up on my pandora, and I find myself improvising harmonies over the top of their arrangements more often than not.

14. The Messiah, G.F. Handel

There are so many renditions of this work...I can't begin to claim enough knowledge about which would be the best cover to portray here.  So, I chose to a part of the original scribblings of G.F. Handel himself.  This part is the soprano recitative "And the Angel said unto them, "Fear not!"  I sang this many moons ago with a string quartet and full choir when I was a junior in college, and it was a blast.  This work is full of such beautiful composition - a true treasure to listen to at Christmas.

Ok, more next week!

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