Holiday, non-holiday, and everything in between, here's what we can't stop listening to this month.
CRB's Holiday Streams
I’ve really been leaning into the holidays this year. Normally I don’t buy a tree until way last minute, but this year I bought one right after Thanksgiving. And what goes well with all this spirit? The WCRB Holiday streams, of course! Here's how to listen.
J.S. Bach -- Magnificat, BWV 243a: I. Magnificat anima mea
Full disclosure: I’ve been listening to this over and over because it’s part of an episode of The Bach Hour I just produced. But going back much further, Magnificat is, probably more than anything else, responsible for my love of Bach’s music. There is no more addictive piece I know. In fact, in this opening movement, Bach lays down the law (as he so often does) for how to write a great pop song, with a catchy hook, a rhythmic groove that burrows into your ear and won’t leave, ridiculously simple lyrics, and even that magical radio playlist length of three minutes. Well done JSB.
Candlelight Carols with the Trinity Church Choir
This album is not on Spotify.
This year was the year of time moving so slowly and flying by all at once. For this holiday season, all I want is music that centers me, that reminds me that there is a lot of beauty and good in this world... and that better days are coming. I'm staying local this month with one of my absolute favorite Christmas CDs: "Candlelight Carols with the Trinity Church Choir," conducted by Brian Jones, from Copley Square, Boston. It's a wonder I haven't worn it out. There are old favorites, and songs that may be new to you, too... at least they were for me. Just sit back and find your peace.
Karen O, Daniele Luppi, Danger Mouse -- Turn The Light
I just moved, and when I was unpacking and getting settled before the internet was hooked up, I listened to my “Fall 2020” playlist on repeat, and this song in particular. It’s a track from the album “Lux Prima,” a collaboration between vocalist Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and producer Danger Mouse, of Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells, and a whole bunch of albums you probably enjoyed in the 2000s/2010s. It’s a little funky, a little gritty, a little ethereal, and very much my jam.
Ashley Barrett, Darren Korb -- Good Riddance (Hades: Original Soundtrack)
This fall, I've been playing a lot of a video game called "Hades," which is, as you might expect, about Greek gods and the underworld. It's a ton of fun, and the music is totally incredible. "Good Riddance" is a duet between Orpheus and Persephone, whom you can help reunite in the game -- minor spoiler, but they sing this the first time you see them together. It's a gorgeous song, and even more so in context!
Vince Guaraldi Trio -- O Tannenbaum
Christmastime for me is all about the traditions. One of my favorites is the Christmas Eve music pageant with our family friends – a living room detritus of pianos, saxophones, violas, and everything in between. My dad is always the headliner, but one of my contributions every year is an arrangement of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “O Tannenbaum.” The Peanuts Christmas sheet music book never leaves the piano, year-round.
John Denver -- When the River Meets the Sea
Here's my holiday gift to you: the most nostalgic, melancholy track from my favorite Christmas album of all time.
Listen to the full playlist here: