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What Christmas Music Are You Listening To? 2022


Disco Stu
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Not a thread for posting your long lists or manifestos on what is the greatest Christmas music or anything, simply a casual whatcha listening to thread

 

Ringing in the season with Raymond Scott.  Bonus points for featuring Johnny Williams Sr.  This tune was subsequently turned into a holiday staple by Arthur Fiedler with the Boston Pops.

 

 

 

Plus this much more obscure holiday song from Scott

 

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"Nice", and "yes,it does".

 

In my car, I have NOW CHRISTMAS, or THE BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM, or THE ONLY CHRISTMAS RECORD YOU'LL EVER NEED, or whatever it's called.

Anyway, it's got all the Crimbo hits: John Lennon, Slade, Wizard, Jonah Lewie, Macca, Band fucking Aid, Greg Lake. You get the idea. The only thing I will not listen to, under any circumstances, is that caterwauling Mariah Carey! It's even worse torture than one of Elliott Carver's TV channels.

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12 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I started with the JW/Boston Pops album We Wish You a Merry Christmas - I'd gotten the box early this year and gone through all the albums back then, except for this one, which I saved for the Christmas season. Some fun stuff on it! 

 

A classic album to be sure, I especially loved discovering the Alfred Burt medley "A Christmas Greeting" (arranged by Alexander Courage), but I have opinions on "A Christmas Festival" :P.  I hope that Youtube video works outside of the US

 

On 17/11/2021 at 10:10 AM, Disco Stu said:

 

Nice.  Both JW/BPO Christmas albums are cornerstones of my late year listening.

 

However, my one nitpick as a giant Leroy Anderson fan: Anderson's "Christmas Festival" is and always will be the KING of holiday orchestral arrangements, it is perfect, but neither recording by JW and the Pops is exactly right for me.  The 1980 recording is the original instrumental arrangement but doesn't have the glorious but optional pipe organ part in the grand finale.  The 1992 album is very nice but the choir is not part of the original Anderson arrangement.

 

You can hear the glorious organ part starting around 8:08 in the great Slatkin recording with the BBC Concert Orchestra.  It's so perfect right at the finale at 8:51 too
 

That said, the 1992 JW recording of Anderson's immortal "Sleigh Ride" has always been my definitive go-to.

 

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Benny Goodman band at the cusp of their glory period, swingin' hard through a fresh Fletcher Henderson arrangement of a holiday classic.  Absolutely infectious as Gene Krupa drives the rhythm section full-tilt.  It's an all-timer for me as both a big Christmas music guy and a big early jazz music guy.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

Benny Goodman band at the cusp of their glory period, swingin' hard through a fresh Fletcher Henderson arrangement of a holiday classic.  Absolutely infectious as Gene Krupa drives the rhythm section full-tilt.  It's an all-timer for me as both a big Christmas music guy and a big early jazz music guy.

Is there any good compilation with such Christmas music? I love this old sound...

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Usually, I've been able to play Christmas music from early December, but I've been so swamped in other things this year, Christmas could just as well be years away. Hopefully, I'll get in the mood right before, and play some stuff.

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On 04/12/2022 at 9:35 AM, Disco Stu said:

Spike Jones - Winter

 

Very fun song.  The part where just the bass voice goes "and December just remember" makes me smile every time.

 

Thurl Ravenscroft, better known from "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Grim Grinning Ghosts" from Disney's Haunted Mansion.

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9 minutes ago, thx99 said:

 

Thurl Ravenscroft, better known from "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Grim Grinning Ghosts" from Disney's Haunted Mansion.

 

I thought it must be.  He's grrrrreat!

 

 

1 hour ago, filmmusic said:

Is there any good compilation with such Christmas music? I love this old sound...

 

No sorry, I don't really listen to various artist compilations very much, preferring to make my own playlists.

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5 hours ago, Thor said:

Usually, I've been able to play Christmas music from early December, but I've been so swamped in other things this year, Christmas could just as well be years away. Hopefully, I'll get in the mood right before, and play some stuff.

 

Aside from the few bits and pieces mentioned above, I've hardly found time to listen to any music in the past two weeks. I should be able to start catching up beginning with Thursday.

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On 4/12/2022 at 5:25 PM, Tom said:

A Charlie Brown Christmas Expanded Soundtrack (Guaraldi)

 

 

I bought the boxset, and it looks like it’s finally coming today!  Hopefully this and the new Great Pumpkin sold really well so that they’ll release more Guaraldi music from whatever tape archive they found!

 

Im continuing my fairly alphabetical journey, so today I’m listening to the scores from Christmas Break-In and A Christmas Story, as well as A Christmas Together (John Denver and the Muppets).

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15 minutes ago, mstrox said:

I bought the boxset, and it looks like it’s finally coming today!

 

I also bought the box direct from Craft but mine's not scheduled to deliver until Saturday.  And yes, getting more Guaraldi recordings from the actual TV sessions is a must.

 

25 minutes ago, mstrox said:

A Christmas Together (John Denver and the Muppets).

 

I wish there had been an album release for what is objectively and irrefutably the best Muppets Christmas special (A Muppet Family Christmas from 1987).

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Agreed!  An album release and a way to legally watch the special (in its entirety - have the old edited DVD).  That special turned “We Need a Little Christmas” into part of the canon for me, instead of some cast-off showtune (sorry Angela).Was hopeful that we’d see it once they worked out the Kermit rights for Emmet Otter and The Christmas Toy, but no dice so far.  Use some of that Disney+ money!

 

Wouldn't mind them releasing an album for The Christmas Toy as well, though that’s waaaaaay down the list.  I did actually find a version of “Together At Christmas” from that show (later reprised in the carol medley in Muppet Family Christmas) that somebody recorded on iTunes - it’s not very good, but it is a version of the song!

 

What I’d love to see most is somebody starting to plumb the Rankin Bass archives.

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On 01/12/2022 at 10:18 PM, Naïve Old Fart said:

"Nice", and "yes,it does".

 

In my car, I have NOW CHRISTMAS, or THE BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM, or THE ONLY CHRISTMAS RECORD YOU'LL EVER NEED, or whatever it's called.

Anyway, it's got all the Crimbo hits: John Lennon, Slade, Wizard, Jonah Lewie, Macca, Band fucking Aid, Greg Lake. You get the idea. The only thing I will not listen to, under any circumstances, is that caterwauling Mariah Carey! It's even worse torture than one of Elliott Carver's TV channels.


Does that include the original version of Fairytale Of New York, in all its politically incorrect glory?  

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12 minutes ago, mstrox said:

What I’d love to see most is somebody starting to plumb the Rankin Bass archives.

 

It has to happen one day, right?  I have a feeling that when it eventually does they'll be "song only" releases with none of the (admittedly, mostly short and transitional) underscore cues that I'd really want.

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2 hours ago, Sweeping Strings said:

Does that include the original version of Fairytale Of New York, in all its politically incorrect glory?  

Of course it does!

I wouldn't listen to any other version.

Anyway, it's also on IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE WITH GOD, so I'm covered.

If anyone even thinks of playing the politically correct version, they can just póg mo thóin.

 

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Today I begin listening to the many Christmas/Winter related works of Bob Chilcott, my favorite contemporary choral composer and one of my favorite composers, period.

 

These range from extended works ("On Christmas Night", "Wenceslas," "Christmas Oratorio", which sadly has no commercial recording yet) to individual original pieces to new arrangements of classics.  I especially love Wenceslas, a great example of Chilcott's many collaborations with the poet Charles Bennett as the librettist.

 

His choral writing is impeccable of course, but I also love his orchestrations for the accompaniments.

 

A few favorites:

 

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On 07/12/2022 at 3:04 PM, mstrox said:

Got my package from Craft Recordings today - a pretty nice little set.  Approximately EP-size and shape (see smashed up penny for scale).  The whole thing is bound together as a book, with ~50 pages of liners (doesn’t look to be a long read - big font and lots of pictures), and then five pages of stars that serve as sleeves for the CDs and Blu Ray.

 

Mine arrived today actually!  It's a beautiful package.  

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Figured out that the "Greensleeves" track that has been on every CD/digital release of A Charlie Brown Christmas since the 80s is take 8 in the bonuses of the new box (disc 4, track 6).  This was not on the original 1965 album, but the only way I've ever known the album is closing with Greensleeves, so I made a copy of the take 8 bonus, edited out the the studio chatter at the start, and stuck it back into the main program on disc 1 for my digital rip in iTunes.

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MzgtMTI1My5qcGVn.jpeg

 

This CD has been with me for a long time. It came with a classical music magazine in the early 90s; not one I bought myself, but a neighbour of ours at our summer house in Denmark who then passed it on to me. It's been my go-to Christmas music album that isn't a film score ever since then. Varies from straightforward tonal stuff to modernistic material that doesn't immediately shout "cozy Christmas moods".

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Next up:

 

Murray Gold's most christmassy Christmas special doesn't only have some wonderfully wintery music and a moving song that's super cheesy in the way only Gold can pull off without being *too* cheesy - it also opens with the most James Bond music Gold ever wrote for the series. I actually wouldn't mind him getting a chance to score an actual Bond film.

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5 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Next up:

 

Murray Gold's most christmassy Christmas special doesn't only have some wonderfully wintery music and a moving song that's super cheesy in the way only Gold can pull off without being *too* cheesy - it also opens with the most James Bond music Gold ever wrote for the series. I actually wouldn't mind him getting a chance to score an actual Bond film.

Yes to all of that! Absolutely terrific score and one that works as a stand-alone listen almost better than any other of his. 

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5 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Next up:

 

Murray Gold's most christmassy Christmas special doesn't only have some wonderfully wintery music and a moving song that's super cheesy in the way only Gold can pull off without being *too* cheesy - it also opens with the most James Bond music Gold ever wrote for the series. I actually wouldn't mind him getting a chance to score an actual Bond film.

Haven't seen Doctor Who so to me this looks like Albus Dumbledore and Daemon Targaryen in a Christmas movie :D

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Pretty much making my way through all of these scores0C0829CB-00FC-4790-890F-C71FFD972EBA.jpeg

 

…in addition to my vast library of classics, childhood kiddie records, novelty songs, crooners, etc. 

 

Up next, William Ross’ Harold and Kumar, first time listen. 
 

 

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A staple for a few years now, I love this album by the US Air Force Symphony with their choir, the "Singing Sergeants."

 

This is a recording of the great Robert Russell Bennett's The Many Moods of Christmas, a set of four suites for orchestra and chorus.  Bennett is one of those great underrated figures of 20th century music.  His career of arranging and orchestrating musicals and film scores for composers like George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, and Jerome Kern is unparalleled, and he had many wonderful compositions of his own (his Symphonic Songs for Band is a particular favorite of mine).

 

The orchestral arrangements here are brilliant and the performances are superb!

 

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Yesterday I listened to the fairly un-Christmassy score to Better Watch Out, and to the whole shebang of Charlie Brown Christmas including the sessions.  Neat to be a fly on the wall, and there were a few takes that were worthwhile variations in their own rights - one O Tannenbaum is sticking out in my head at the moment.  For the most part, it seemed like Guaraldi had a good idea of what he wanted, so there wasn’t as wild an amount of variation as I’d have expected with a jazz score.  Stuff within the margins, mostly.

 

Today will be Cricket on the Hearth, a few random Disney holiday albums, and of course RuPaul’s classic album “Christmas Party.”

 

 

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A favorite since I was a kid, The Manhattan Transfer's Christmas Album.  Relevant to film scores, the orchestral arrangements/co-production are by Johnny Mandel composer of such scores as Harper and M*A*S*H.  He also wrote the only original song on the album.

 

manhattan-transfer-the-christmas-album-c

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