You might remember that I made a post last Christmas about the music of the season, and particularly about the carols Jane Austen would have known. Well, you’re getting more Christmas music from me, mainly because I love Christmas music. Most probably don’t know this about me, but I do some work as the choir director for my congregation’s choir. There’s nothing more fun than picking sacred hymns to put into a Christmas program!
So this year I’d like to share my favorite Christmas hymns. And since there are so many to choose from and so many versions, I’d like to share my favorite renditions. They are somewhat constrained by what I could find on Youtube, but here they are:
- Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella – Mannheim Steamroller
This one made my list last year too. Beautiful melody, coupled with the oboe and clarinet, and you have the makings of a wonderful Christmas song. We sang this in church two years ago now, a two-part duet with choir backing, and it was beautiful. But this version is the best I’ve ever heard.
- Wintersong – The Canadian Tenors
In point of fact, this is only marginally a Christmas song, and not a sacred one, but I just had to include it. The original version, on Sarah McLachlan’s CD a few years ago was soft and lovely, and the follow up by the Canadian Tenors is sublime in their harmonies, and they way they sing the song with such feeling. One of my all-time favorite renditions.
- C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. – Jim Reeves
This song is one I remember from my childhood, as we sang it in Christmas concert one year. It’s a simple song really, but so beautiful for the message it contains. I’m not really familiar with who Jim Reeves even is, but this is about the only version I’ve been able to find. In this case, I love the song, rather than the version.
- Still, Still, Still – Mannheim Steamroller
This one, on the other hand, is a beautiful rendition of a wonderful song. I sang Still, Still, Still in choir when I was a teenager, and I’ve loved it ever since, using it in my current congregation more than once. Not only is it a lovely song, but the harmonies are wonderful, and the background instrumentation only enhances it. A true classic. And yes, I’m a big fan of Mannheim Steamroller!
- O Holy Night – The Canadian Tenors
O Holy Night is possibly my favorite Christmas song of all, and this version of it is gorgeous. You will have already seen a pattern here—yup, I really like the Tenors (as they are called now), and they knock this one right out of the park. Four part men’s singing one of the most beautiful hymns—what could be better!
There you have it. I hope you enjoyed our journey through some of my favorite Christmas songs. I will only add Merry Christmas everyone!