Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Memories: the music we love

The music of the Christmas holidays has some of the deepest memories tied to it. Some of the reasons for those deep memories are the meanings attached to the music in general and specific songs. Some of it has to do with the general sense of happiness and well-being most of the songs create.

But I think the two biggest reasons deep memories are connected to Christmas and holiday music is that music is one of the oldest memories we have and the tradition we have of only playing these songs at a certain time of the year. Yes, some store and stations are stretching how long the acceptable time is for playing these but they aren’t playing 12 months of the year, yet. From our earliest years, before we could understand the Nativity story or the debate between Santa or no Santa, music was running in the background creating an aura of meanings even without the words.

Christmas and holiday songs, whether we identify with the religious aspects or not, harken us back to a time we perceive was less hectic, happier and more giving. Despite the marketplace’s attempt to prostitute the music for the bottom line (article) Christmas and holiday music generally gives us hope that something in the world can still be counted on to stay the same in the midst of change.

Of course you knew there would be a list and while I usually make single list the nature of the topic complicates doing only one list. So I have separated some of my favorites into three categories: spiritual songs, and classical songs, and secular songs. None of these lists are weighted as to personal preference. After you read my lists leave a comment with your favorites in any or all three categories.


Spiritual songs

1) Silent Night (Mohr & Gruber)
2) Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Wesley)
3) O Come All Ye Faithful (Wade)
4) Away in a Manger (3 versions, Murray, Kirkpatrick, Spillman)
5) Angels We Have Heard on High (French traditional)

Classical music

1) Christmas Oratorio (Camille Saint-Saën, Op 12)
2) Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Johann S. Bach)
3) Messiah (Georg F. Händel not originally written for Christmas)
4) The Holly and the Ivy (traditional, collected)
5) Ave Maria (Franz Biebl)

Secular (popular) songs

1) White Christmas (Berlin)
2) Feliz Navidad (Feliciano)
3) Jingle Bells (Pierpont)
4) The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting) (Wells & Torme)
5) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Martin & Blaine)
6) Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Cahn & Styne)

Other Christmas Memories: games, foods

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2 comments:

AuthorMomWithDogs said...

Great list you've put together. My faves are The Holly and the Ivy, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Mrs_Scotsman said...

My current favorite song is "Christmas Cannon" by the Tran-Siberian orchestra. I'll think about the others and get back to you.