Vera and I are wishing all of you celebrating Christmas a most merry and wonderful holiday.
And what better way than with music? Here in Israel, December is not marked by the Western (and Christian-cultured) over-dose of decorations and songs on the radio. There’s a bit of a hype around Chanukkah, but by now we are back to business as usual. However, having grown up abroad, the love of the music of the season is still with me, and thanks to the internet I can – and am – listen(ing) to Christmas carols all year around. Why not Chanukkah songs, you ask. Well, because Chanukkah songs generally speaking are simply not as good as the Christmas songs. Sorry to be blunt. But it is rather like George Frideric Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus vs. The Messiah. To be sure, there is See the conquering hero comes and it’s a lovely piece (here in a standard version). It was turned into a Chanukkah song (sounding thus).
But the Messias has this (“O Thou That Tellest good tidings to Zion” with Sara Conolly) and this (“For unto us a child is born” / choir) and this (“I know that my redeemer liveth” with Eleanor Steber) and this (“Ev’ry valley shall be exhalted” with Mark Padmore)…
But, then there are the carols and they make me smile soft smiles. Here are a few favourites
Oh come all ye faithful (obviously in Latin and with Pavarotti…. who almost knows the lyrics by heart)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (in the funcky version with Annie Lennox)
Ding dong merrily on high (and actually I don’t care what Julie Andrews sing, as long as she…well… sings)
so here is the “The Andrews Christmas Medley”
and finally: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (With Ella… I dare you not to start dancing)