Friday, November 25, 2016

Is it time yet?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

I love holiday music. I start sneaking it into the daily repertoire a week or two before Thanksgiving, usually playing it on my computer in my office. Of course, my office is connected to Mr. L's office. He doesn't love holiday music as much as I do, although I will admit that our favorite local soft rock station starts playing it the Friday before Thanksgiving 24/7. That gets REALLY tiresome because you're liable to hear the same song 3 times during the day.  (We have it on in the kitchen just for background noise.)

Last year, one of my readers (and I really wish I could remember who it was), introduced me to Straight No Chaser, an a capella group. They're known for singing some pretty whacky tunes. I first heard their rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas thanks to this Facebook friend. I liked it so much, I went straight to Amazon and bought one of their Christmas albums. (Christmas Cheer.) My favorites? That's a toughie. I think Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Why? Because not only have they a changed a few of the words, but it's a unique arrangement. I like different arrangements of familiar tunes. My Dad used to take me to The Arrangers Workshop at the Eastman Theatre From the time I was about 10 until I was in  my mid-20s. Great music from great guest artists.

Another of my favorites is Popular Christmas for a New Age. I got it at Wegmans (grocery store) for about $5 about 10 years ago. It was re-released last year with a new (icky) cover, but it's the same wonderful instrumental CD that I've been enjoying for the past 10 or more years. It's jazz/new age kind of music and, again, it's the arrangement of familiar tunes in a different way that makes it unique and enjoyable for me.

Another artist I like, whose done quite a few holiday CDs, is David Arkenstone. I like his Visions of Christmas (my favorite on this one is Tchaikovsky's Arabian Dance from the Nutcracker. I could listen to that all day and tire of it), Christmas Lounge, and Celtic Christmas, but the one I like most of all is Enchantment: A Magical Christmas. They're all instrumentals and, again, all great arrangements of familiar holiday tunes.

I also have a few piano only DCs that I play over and over again (ad nauseam, Mr. L would say). My favorite is one I picked up at Target a few years back called Relaxing Christmas Piano. For some reason, it's the first one I play every year.  My favorite cut is God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, which is done in a rather somber key--but it's so different from any other version of that tune, that I find myself looking forward to it every time I put on the CD. (Yes, I still use CDs, but I also have everything on my computer or in the cloud, too, just so it's always available.)

In all I must have at least 50 holiday CDs and not all of them get played every year.

Why not share the title of YOUR favorite CD so that many of us can give it a try. It might just become one of my/our favorites, too!