Beautiful Christmas music

I love Christmas music, and listen to it online whenever I can during December.  While I’m ordinarily no fan of Josh Groban, finding his pop music a bit shlocky, I thought he did just a thrilling version of O, Holy Night, which I now pass on to you:

I continue to find it sad that PC-mania has pretty much wiped Christmas off the map at public schools.  I loved the Christmas season at school when I was a kid.  I never felt as if I was on the receiving end of proselytizing.  Instead, I enjoyed the secular American version of Christmas, complete with Santa Clause and beautiful music (including music that wasn’t so secular, but that still didn’t leave me feeling pressured to run off to a church and convert).  Our children miss out on a lot living in such a carefully sanitized world.

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  • suek

    I have no idea who Josh Groban is, just to show you where I am on the present musical scene! “O Holy Night”, however, is well known to me. I can’t tell you how often I’ve groaned – either silently or aloud depending on the circumstances – when I’ve heard vocalists who were less qualified than they thought they were trying to master it. So…when “Benson” started into it, I groaned once again – aloud – because I expected it to be killed. What a pleasant surprise to find out that “Benson” (Robert Guillaume) was actually phenomenally qualified and later, it was no surprise to learn that he was starring in the role of “Phantom of the Opera”. Here and I thought he was “just a pretty face” (ok…and a talented comedian)!

  • suek

    And oh yeah…the local classical music stations (we have two) have been playing traditional Christmas music, both sacred and secular, and I was struck by the same thought you raise – how sad to lose this cultural history as we seem to be doing.

  • expat

    That was beautiful. The PC police have really diminished all of us. Left alone, most people can understand and appreciate the traditions of others, especially those so beautifully expressed.

  • suek

    Well…that started me on a search. Lots of comments from people as struck by Robert Guillaume as I was, but apparently no independent recording. That’s a disappointment, but I understand it’s on the first year’s recording. Somebody should pull it off the video. Hmmm.

    Anyway…the only fruit of my labor are these two links – for anyone who might find them of interest…

  • Ellie2

    A (late) friend of mine, a female Cantor, also loved Christmas carols. She could be found in the chorus of Handel’s Messiah at any orchestra doing the piece (The Chicago Symphony used do do it when we were in school in Evanston, they may still); she loved Bach, Bethoven and the traditional folk melodies. She would go caroling with no urging at all.

    She loved music, she loved teaching, she loved Israel. She never saw Judaism and Christianity as being competitors but as family.

    L’Chaim! For the Lord God Omnipotent ruleth.

  • Jewel

    I had always wondered how most Jewish folks felt about Christmas carols. I believe that the uglier the culture gets around us, the more important and cleansing music like this is. That anyone can find fault with it is difficult for me to understand.
    Groban’s version is lovely, understated and personal. Thank you for posting it.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ellie2, I appreciate your take. We just picked out our X-mas tree at a local Optimist Club and started talking with a Jewish woman there who had been selling Christmas trees for the OC for years. She loved Christmas. My daughter’s college roommate is Jewish and insists on having a Christmas tree and a decorating party (though her father strongly disapproves).

    Me, goyim that I am, I’m still learning. I just attended an orthodox Jewish burial and experienced a profound sense of rootedness, hearing the ancient Psalms and Kaddish recited in Hebrew.

    Jews and Christians as family…you’re right!

  • Brad

    One of the best versions of that song I have heard is by Nancy Griffith singing with the Chieftains. It is wonderful!

  • Ymarsakar

    While I’m ordinarily no fan of Josh Groban, finding his pop music a bit shlocky, I thought he did just a thrilling version of O, Holy Night, which I now pass on to you:

    Are you sure it is not primarily due to a nice male voice lulling you to sleep, Book? ; )

  • Bookworm

    Well, there is that, Y….