Traditional Christmas Songs – 2016
Posted on December 7, 2016
I’ve put together another playlist of Christmas songs this year, with a focus on the traditional. To me, ‘traditional’ means old English hymns, and newer stuff with orchestras and backing so that it still sounds ‘traditional’. I’ve never been a ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’, ‘Rockin around the Christmas Tree’ kind of guy. I like those songs all right, but they don’t really move me. I had fun putting this together, just picking songs at random, and later, trying to come up with a sequence that works just right.
I found that this year’s list has two kinds of songs. The first kind is pure Christmas fantasy, lights, snow, castles, Andre Rieu’s orchestra with everyone dressed to the nines. Aaahhh. The second kind operates more in the background, reminding us that Christmas is just a fantasy; these songs intrude into the bubble. In ‘River’, Joni Mitchell sings wistfully about Canada while stuck in California for the Christmas season. “I wish I had a river to skate away on”. Even in the nostalgic Charlie Brown song I’ve included, Charlie doesn’t feel quite right about the Christmas season. So the songs go back and forth between this kind of wistfulness and sadness, and joy and contentment. To a Christian, this contrast extends to the promise of the Christ child versus the grim reality of the world into which he descended. For us, Christmas is a time to look with hope beyond the gloom.
I won’t say too much about the individual songs. They are all songs I like, a lot, but that’s not going to be universal, I know. I’ve included some songs I know everyone likes, like ‘The Prayer’. I guess I do like it as well. I’m not a fan of Andrea Bocelli, although he’s fine on that song. In general: lovely timbre, doesn’t have the range. So, I’ve dug up a different version, but you’ll still like it, I know. And, you might wonder why I included Gerianne Rowe in a very blurry video singing ‘Somewhere a Child is Sleeping’. I think the video has 200 views, if that. First, aside from the video quality, Ms. Rowe’s voice is beautiful and clear. The video reminded me of the pleasant surprise of a hearing a great voice, or someone just having a good day at an inauspicious school recital or a church concert. I’ve had many such moments over the years. So that’s why that video is there. Anyway, have fun; let me know what you think either here or on Facebook.
(If you go into my archive for December 2014, you’ll find an earlier play list. There is a slight overlap of 2 or 3 songs to this year’s playlist. This one is mostly new songs.)