Holiday Music? Really!
The whole world is thinking politics. My desk is covered with list upon list of holiday music.
Oh yes, it's that time of year. We all wrinkle our noses when the stores begin putting up their holiday decorations in October, but I started sorting through music 2 weeks ago. Each year, I take those reams of lists, collate and sort them, then divvy out the goodies to each announcer. It's a long process, but it ensures that the Nutcracker Suite gets a spin in a different place each December, and the multitudes of Christmas concertos are all evenly distributed over the holiday season. Then there's Chanukah and the Solstice (which actually coincide this time), and (of course) Saint Nicholas Day. So many cantatas, so little time.
I love music of the holidays. It resonates deeply in my soul, reminding me of countless concerts in churches and auditorums, of family, of neighborhood cookie swaps, of cold snow and warm fires. I profess a deep fondness for "Il est ne, le divin enfant" and Finzi's "In Terra Pax." And I can never listen to Amahl and the Night Visitors without a full box of tissues nearby. On the other hand, "Jingle Bell Rock" annoys me beyond belief. And "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer?" We should just not go there.
So ask I embark on this massive project, I ask you: What holiday music do you love? What pieces remind you of December and all the festivities that month brings? If you could hear just one work, what would it be? Of course, you can also consider the converse: amidst all those pieces in our holiday songbook, is there something that you never want to hear again. Ever. Let me know. I'll try to squeeze it in. After all, it is the season of giving, isn't it?