Category Archives: Music

Christmas Music

I understand that some people really hate Carol of the Bells. I love it. It has always been one of my favorites. I do have a problem with it though. I am extremely picky about it and acceptable performances of it are rare. This arrangement does not quite match the magical, perfect Carol of the Bells that I have in my head but it is lovely and wonderful anyway. These boys do a great job. Not to mention that they are adorable.

And then there’s this. They have managed to arrange virtually all the Christmas out of it but, aside from that, purely as music, this is really good. Strange… I didn’t even know I like Metallica.

Christmas Music

Generally, I am a strict traditionalist when it comes to Christmas, especially Christmas music, but I find Mannheim Steamroller’s unique versions of traditional Christmas carols irresistible.

Christmastime, Lazy Blogging, Christmas Music, etc.

I get the feeling that hardly anyone is reading this anymore. That’s okay. I understand. It’s Christmastime and you’re all busy, as you should be. I am too and I’m not so inclined to put much effort into this for the next week or two. That doesn’t mean I’m going to completely disappear but you might not get anything but Christmas music and maybe an occasional brief comment that could almost fit on Twitter. Well, anyway…

I heard this on the radio yesterday. (a different recording) The Huron Carol was written ca. 1642 by a Jesuit Missionary living with the Huron tribe in Canada. He changed some parts of the Christmas story to make it more accessible to the Huron tribes people. (click link for lyrics)

The Cutest Christmas Song

I first heard this song, Christmas Bells, the same year I first heard So This is Christmas, but, while John Lennon’s gloomy guilt trip continued to play on the radio year after year, Christmas Bells soon disappeared from the air waves.

I was never a big fan of Peanuts as a kid and I especially disliked Snoopy’s Red Baron fantasies but during the first 13 years of my life we only got one TV channel so when Peanuts was on we watched it. Now, however, I have this odd nostalgia for the Peanuts holiday specials and it actually disappointed me that my kids didn’t like them either.

What I really like about this song though, is not that it’s about Snoopy and the Red Baron; it’s the Christmas spirit in it – bitter enemies putting aside their hostilities for just one night and enjoying a moment of Christmas cheer together. To me it seems that there is a better lesson in this song (if you happen to be looking for such lessons) than in the more popular So This is Christmas. And besides, it’s just so darn cute it’s irresistible.

And More Music (not Christmas this time)

I saw this video of young Vince Mira on Ellen on Facebook yesterday. This was in 2007 so I’m a little late to the party as usual. Surely by now everyone has heard of Vince Mira and his remarkable voice. People all over Facebook and Youtube have been saying he sounds “just like Johnny Cash”. He does not. Seriously, people? When was the last time you actually listened to Johnny Cash? Obviously not recently enough. (Yes, I do like Johnny Cash but I’m not here to talk about him today.) Hopefully this amazing young singer will be able shake off all of these comparisons and someday people will be saying of some young singer of the future, “He sounds just like Vince Mira.”

There are also videos of Mira singing songs by Bob Dylan, Elvis, and an original song of his own. But after listening to all of those I decided to embed this one because… well, because I like it of course.

Christmas Music Time!

Oops. It’s past mid-week and I didn’t do the “Mid-Week Music Break” thing. So I was thinking… since it’s December, I need to do a weekly Christmas music thing. (Some more ambitious people are doing a daily Christmas music thing.) So then I thought I should get my annual tearful lament out of the way first. But this year will be different because I discovered something. (Yay Google!)

The version of a song that you grow up with will always be right even if it is an obscure, oddball recording that no one has ever heard of and the “wrong” version is the standard that everyone is familiar with. This has always been the situation with me and the Christmas song, O Holy Night. (Originally a French carol) I grew up with a recording by an ensemble called the Longines Symphonette that had slightly different lyrics from the standard English translation that we always hear and it drives me nuts every time I hear the wrong (i.e. standard) version of it.

Every year I search in vain. But this year, finally, I found it! It’s just the middle part of a medley (starting at about 1:28) but these are the right lyrics.

Aside from having the right words… well, I can’t really complain about this choir and soloist. They actually are good, but I can’t help thinking how lovely it would have been if Nat King Cole had known the correct lyrics. [sigh]

edited for clarity

Mid-Week Music Break

Something traditional for the day before Thanksgiving. Those of you who are at least my age (in the U.S.) probably remember singing this in elementary school. I don’t know if they still do traditional stuff like that anymore. This short piano version is lovely.

Mid-Week Music Break

The obscure work that I had in mind for this today is not on Youtube :-( so, something else, something better actually.

I have been really loving Andras Schiff’s recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas #’s 19, 20, 9, 10, 11. Well, I couldn’t find one of those either except for the Lecture-Recital videos. (That’s the way my day is going so far.) So I just picked something off the first page of search results. Honestly, I like this less than any of the aforementioned sonatas but hey, it’s Beethoven.

Mid-Week Music Break

By the 1980s I had mostly stopped paying attention to popular music. The decline (that’s how I think of it) actually started in the mid-70s. I can remember a brief conversation with a high school friend in late ’75 or early ’76 about the music that year not being as good as the previous two years. It got even worse (from my point of view) after I graduated from high school. It was hugely disappointing that the genre that had been so soul stirring just a few years earlier was becoming increasingly blah. I eventually switched to classical music and found all the excitement I had been missing and more but that would not be for a few years yet.

Throughout the ’80s I kept listening to the same radio station and by “listening” I mean “having the radio on but not really listening,” but there were a very few songs in that decade that did get my attention. This was one of them. I hadn’t even thought about it in well over a decade and then I heard a bit of it on a TV commercial.

Like many songs I could never understand the lyrics except for a few lines that stand out. The lyrics are included on the Youtube page for this video. I’m still not sure what this song is about but it’s still fun.

Creepy Country Songs

My dad liked country music so I grew up with it. It is really not hard at all to find creepy country songs. Many of them bothered me, even when I was a little kid, with the way they seemed to be sympathetic to murderers, drunks, and cheaters. But anyway, check out this list of 10 Creepiest Country Murder Ballads.

I haven’t listened to country music since the 70’s (except for the “background music” at Atwood’s and a few other local stores and I don’t pay any attention to that) so there are only four songs on the list that I’m sure I’ve heard. I might recognize one or two others if I listened to them. (Which I’m probably not going to do)

Found here at the end of a post full of much better music. (IMO)

And He Sings Too

I had heard that Mike Rowe sang opera but I hadn’t heard the whole story before.

And here’s how you sing The Star Spangled Banner if you can’t hit the high notes.

Tunnels of Music

Here’s another one from an extremely fascinating series of videos. I posted the one of Flight of the Bumblebee last week. Here’s another one. It’s even more fun toward the end where it gets busier. And there are a few others: Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy.