Nov

28

2006

Trevin Wax|6:03 am CT

Ten CDs to Make the Season Bright

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Here’s a list of some of our favorite Christmas CDs. If you have some to add to this list, please do!

1. CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
The Carpenters
The Carpenters’ Christmas Collection is a double-CD set that includes all of their Christmas music from the late 70′s, and early 80′s. There is nothing like Karen Carpenter’s warm voice on a cold wintery day and Richard Carpenter’s fantastic arrangements. I like these two CDs because each song leads into the next, as sort of a suite of Christmas music.
Highlights on these CDs: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the slowed down version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the awe-inspiring quietness of “Christ is Born,” and the fun “Sleigh Ride”

2. CHRISTMAS & CHRISTMASTIME
Michael W. Smith
Even if you’re not a big Michael W. Smith fan, you’ll probably enjoy his Christmas music. The first CD (from the 80′s) is arguably better than the second, but both are terrific. The orchestral sound and terrific original compositions make these two CDs classic. Highlights: “No Eye Has Seen” with vocals from Amy Grant, the boy choir on the spine-tingling “All is Well,” the revved up “Gloria,” and the instrumentals on Christmastime.

3. A CHRISTMAS STORY & WINTER WONDERLAND
Point of Grace
There’s just something about the harmonies of Point of Grace that go over great at Christmastime. Both of these CDs are terrific. Point of Grace follows the Carpenters’ formula and utilizes the “suite” mentality on the first CD, letting songs flow right into each other.
Highlights: the big band version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “One King,” the a cappella “In the First Light,” “Let it Snow/Sleigh Ride,” and “Jingle Bells.”

4. A FRESH AIRE CHRISTMAS 2
Manheim Steamroller
20 years might have passed, but this instrumental CD from Manheim Steamroller remains a Christmas staple for our family every year. Creative sound, standard Christmas hymns, beautiful orchestration.
Highlights: “Carol of the Bells,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “Still, Still, Still,” “O Holy Night,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

5. THE MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS
Steven Curtis Chapman
I’ve enjoyed this Christmas CD the past few years. There are some fantastic arrangements of classic Christmas songs, as well as a few original songs that quickly become favorites.
Highlights: “Christmas is All in the Heart” with CeCe Winans, “Carol of the Bells” played on the guitar like you’ve never heard it before,” “Music of Christmas,” a medley of Christmas songs done instrumentally, “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” to a different tune.

6. A CHRISTMAS ALBUM, HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER
Amy Grant
No Christian artist does Christmas quite like Amy Grant. Her 3 albums get spun a lot around our house during the Christmas season.
Highlights: “Emmanuel,” “Christmas Hymn,” “Breath of Heaven,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Silent Night,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

7. THESE ARE SPECIAL TIMES
Celine Dion
It took a while for this one to grow on me. Now it’s a favorite for our family. There are some terrific songs on this album.
Highlights: the breath-taking “O Holy Night,” a terrific arrangement of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “The Prayer” with Andrea Bocelli, and “Don’t Save It All for Christmas Day.”

8. MERRY CHRISTMAS
Mariah Carey
Another diva who has a great Christmas CD.
We especially like: “O Holy Night,” “All I Want for Christmas,” “Miss You Most at Christmastime,” “Joy to the World,” and “Jesus Born on this Day”

9. MIRACLES & FAITH & WISHES & GREATEST HOLIDAY CLASSICS
Kenny G
Nothing quite compares with the sweet sound of the saxophone at Christmas time. Kenny G captures the Christmas sound with some fantastic arrangements of great Christmas songs.
Highlights from these CDs: “The First Noel,” “We Three Kings/Carol of the Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Holy Night,” and “Jingle Bells”

10. HOME ALONE & HOME ALONE 2
John Williams
The original scores for these two movies make for great Christmas music. A must-have for Christmas fans. “Somewhere in My Memory” is one of the prettiest Christmas tunes ever composed.

What favorite Christmas CDs are you listening to this year?

Categories: Music

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  1. How about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra?

  2. It’s funny, but I have never really been able to get into the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I’ve always preferred Manheim Steamroller (which is somewhat close to Trans-Siberian, I guess). I like what I hear on the radio from them though.

  3. Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas = Good. Real good.

  4. My all time favorite is called Welcome Christmas: Carols from Around the World, with Philip Brunelle and the Ensemble Singers of the Plymouth Music Series. I think it cost $7.95.
    Ancient Noels: Maggie Sansone and Ensemle Galilei
    Maurice Andre: Les Plus Beaux Noels
    A Rose of Swych Virtu (Music Antigua de Albuquerque
    Wolcum Yule: Anonymous 4

  5. Hard to believe Christmas is already around the corner. I am ready for some Thanksgiving turkey though.

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