#3.98 – Christmas Desert Island Disks

#3.98 - Christmas Desert Island Disks
#3.98 - back
sent from: Esher, UK. destination: San Rafael, California, USA

Christmas Desert Island Disks 

– Respighi ~ The Adoration of The Magi 

Twenty years ago I had this track on cassette that I’d copied from someone else (I know, I’m old), and I fell in love with the weaving of a carol I knew well (O Come, O Come Emmanuel) with musical traditions of the Romantic period, a faint Eastern-inflection (overtones of Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade) all inspired by a painting. The film music fan in me could relate to it instantly. I’ve yet to find that recording, the cassette reveals too-little information. I’m convinced that we’re spoiled by the first time we hear a classical music piece, it fixes it in our memory as the correct version. Much like the first time you see James Bond, that becomes the definitive interpretation – how else can I explain my holding onto Roger Moore for far too long? OK this has gone way off topic.  

– Away In A Manger ~ (Normandy Traditional) sung by New York Polyphony 

This is one of the few popular carols you don’t end up yelling at the end. There’s the English version which I grew up with, the US version which is lovely but doesn’t speak to me in the same way, and then this one, which NPR’s All Song’s Considered clued me into last year, which apparently goes back to an earlier time but I can’t find good information about. I love the arrangement and the blend of the voices. 

– Vaughan Williams ~ Fantasia on Christmas Carols  

A ‘best of’ carols medley from Vaughan Williams, hitting my subconscious with a missile of childhood memory encased in a tube of Romantic classic music that bypasses any rational defense.

– Judy Garland ~ Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Clive Barker put out a CD of his favourite music tracks which included this one. I’ve never seen the film Meet Me In St Louis, nor am I a Judy Garland fan as such, but the wistful, melancholic tone here is gorgeous.

– Run-DMC ~ Christmas In Hollis 

No Christmas is complete without Die Hard. That is all.

– Praetorius/Traditional ~ Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming 

Years ago I sang this with a choir in Los Angeles, except that I left the country before the Christmas concert so I didn’t get to perform it. I loved the arrangement and gentle pacing of the song which I’d not known before, but of course I’ve yet to hear a recording of it that matches with my memory of those rehearsals.

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