22 December 2008

Favorite Christmas Albums

There's a discussion going on over at RevGals about favorite Christmas music. I thought I'd post a few of my favorites here.

The first has appeared before on this blog, but it's worth another mention. The Bells of Dublin is fantastic from start to finish, with one noticeable exception (those of you who own the album already know exactly which track is the one in question). Highlights include Elvis Costello singing "St Stephen's Day Murders," "The Wren," "Don Oiche Ud I mBethil"and an absolutely beautiful version of "Once In Royal David's City."

Because we liked the first album so much, I picked up A Christmas in Rome two years ago. It has grown on my quite a bit. It's a wonderful album overall, with another exception that isn't as awful as the one on Bells of Dublin, just a curious "how the heck does this fit?" track. Highlights include the Overture and Lullabies.

Some would insist that you can't be a Lutheran musician in the U.S. without loving the St. Olaf Choir. I'm one of them, for many reasons: the tradition, the incredible "St. Olaf Sound," and a dedication to furthering the art of a capella choral singing. This CD, however, has very little a capella work, but it's still worthy of mention. It was recorded in Trondjeim, at Nidaros Cathedral, and if I remember right a video performance has been broadcast a few times over the past few years on PBS. Here the highlights include "O Come, All Ye Faithful" (the descant WILL be sung in our Lessons and Carols service next year!), "Light Everlasting" and "Hope for Resolution," the last of which is a jazz treatment of Divinum Mysterium (Of the Father's Love Begotten) mixed with an original composition. That's good stuff, there.

So, there you have it. Three albums guaranteed to treat you better than one more version of "The Christmas Song" or "Little Drummer Boy." You're welcome.


  1. oh the chieftans... what's not to love if it's in your blood?! my cd players are broken. kaput. except for the one in the car... but seeing as the car wouldn't even start yesterday... augh....

    i think i may go next door to church & "borrow" a cd player for the christmas weekend... because really can you cook the feast without having a soundtrack playing? no. no. no... unless everyone wants toast!

    safe travels to you... if you're headed out of arctic iowa for the holiday!

  2. Going to go dig out my copy of the Bells of Dublin. Must be the Jackson Browne track that raises your hackles, if you and I have similar hackles.

    As an aside, when a classmate and I were in Dublin after our first Easter as pastors, we hung out a little at Christchurch Cathedral and after attending evening song, got a personal tour of the cathedral from the vicar. 'twas a nice thing for him to do.