The Good and the Bad

I’ve been hearing all sorts of Christmas songs and carols everywhere I go.  I have a few favorites like

“O Come Emanuel” is so mournful and reminds me of how very dark it was before Jesus’ birth.

I also like

A little too “classical” a version for my taste, but at least you can understand the words.  And, if you read my blog, you know I’m a classical gal.  This is what I know, this what moves me from earliest memory:  beautiful songs performed with expression, dynamics and precision.  Songs like this are why I became a musician.

Attending the Episcopal church with my mom  as a child, we always went to Christmas Eve service.  She sang first soprano in the choir. The service started at 10 p.m. and went until midnight, the idea being that when you traipsed home, it was Christmas!  The closing hymn was always “Angels We Have Heard on High”.  I remember trying to sing the lovely, melismatic passage on the word “Gloria”.  Then trying to harmonize it by reading the alto part out of the hymnal.  I also remember being so very glad it was over.

Of course, it’s not all serious all the time.  I also like songs like this.

Christmas is a time to celebrate.  I used to be a serious purist and hated when people jazzed up or changed the feel of a traditional Christmas carol.  Not anymore.  Maybe I’m mellowing.

And then, the bad. I can’t stand “Carol of the Bells”.  It makes me cringe.  It’s like Pachelbel’s Canon in D for weddings.  Kill me quickly!

I detest “First Noel”.  Did you know there are 6 verses?  And it doesn’t sound any better in French?  Here’s the worst version I’ve heard.

And then to s-l-o-w it down so much!  Then the second verse goes to a 3/4 feel.  Why did you change the melody?  Bah.  No offense, Josh G.  You’re very talented.  And so is your lady friend.

Some songs fall into the “overdone” category.  “O Holy Night” fits that for me.

This one has a harp in it.  That’s a nice change.

All of this is very subjective.  We like what we know, right?  What songs do you like?  What songs make your toes curl?

Merry Christmas!


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