As this Christmastide begins to end with the last two days of Christmas, listening to the last two parts of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (if you already haven’t done so) is a great way to finish the season. This being said, here are the last two albums (and some runners-up for your consideration) for days 11 and 12 of Christmastide.
Day 11 (Jan. 4th): Dream Season: The Christmas Harp, Yolanda Kondonassis. This album is a favorite for members of my family (my wife and son), and contains some beautiful music. It does have a rather interesting “vibe” when the percussion accompanist plays along, but overall the quality is quite good, especially considering Kondonassis is one of the world’s great harpists. The harp has always been associated with “heavenly” or “ancient” music, so having an album of such music for the end of Christmastide is more than appropriate. You can purchase the album here, and a couple of the selections are available on YouTube as part of a different collection (same recording however):
Day 12 (Jan. 5th): A Festival of Carols in Brass, Philadelphia Brass Ensemble. To complete our survey of excellent Christmas music, this collection is a bit of a modern classic. This is festive brass to the max, with mostly straightforward arrangements of the vast majority of what most people think are the “normal” carols and hymns of Christmastide. The playing is uniformly of a high quality, and the atmosphere is “festive” in a good way. While free on YouTube, this is a great addition to your physical collection as well.
As always, any feedback on this series is welcome. I hope all of you enjoyed at least a few selections from “Music for Christmastide.” Here are some runners-up as a bonus below:
Joy to the World (Royal Philharmonic/London Symphony)
Classical Christmas (Lumiere String Quartet)
Songs of Angels (Robert Shaw Chorus)
Christmas Carols (Andrew Parrot, Taverner Consort)
A String Quartet Christmas (Arturo Delmoni)
O Come All Ye Faithful (King’s College)
Carols from Trinity (Choir of Trinity College)
The Glorious Sound of Christmas (Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra)