I was literally driven out of a store by the “Christmas Music” a few days ago. Within about 20 minutes I wanted to poke my eye out with a fork. As a healing balm to that dreadful experience, allow me to introduce you (or re-introduce you) to Corelli’s wonderful Christmas Concerto.
I had no idea that this even existed until today. John Rutter, one of my favorite modern choral composers, turned The Reluctant Dragon into a choral work! The Tulsa Choral Society is performing it at their Christmas Concert, which is how I found out. There are no professional recordings of this on YouTube, but this is a delightful and highly professional high school choir. I think you’ll like it. And what better treat for the season than the story of how a Saint and Knight compromised and conspired to save a Dragon who prefers upside-down-cakes and poetry to fighting and ravaging.
If you are not familiar with the St. Olaf Choir, you are in for a treat. If you are, you are in for a treat. Here’s a great PBS recording of the choir’s annual Christmas performance, Christmas At St. Olaf’s.
Time for me to log in with my new favorites and old of seasonal music. Here’s one I hadn’t heard before, the aptly named (for me) Falcon Carol.
Working on the new Elemental Masters book, Home From the Sea and I was struck by something. I never used to like Benjamin Britten. I was in good company, Sir Arthur C. Clarke very much disliked Britten’s music, and in fact satirized him in one of the Tales from the White Hart stories as “Edward England” describing on opera written by said young man that sounded rather like a rejected libretto for Peter Grimes. But I guess my tastes have broadened or something, because this, the fourth of the Four Sea Interludes, kept running through my head during the opening chapter. So here it is, Benjamin Britten, Storm.
Now THIS is the version of “This Land Is Your Land” that I learned. The reall Woody Guthrie version that pulls no punches. You go, Tom Morello.
I cut my teeth on the folk-revival movement in the late 50s and early sixties. I don’t remember when I first heard this, but here it is, sung by the first man who ever sang it in public. The Preacher and the Slave.
This song has always had great meaning for me. “Hearts starve as well as bodies.”
And fixed the link with an even better version, thanks for pointing out it was broken!
Ralph Vaughn Williams is one of my top favorite composers, so it should be no surprise that his Fantasia On Christmas Carols is in my seasonal rotation.