I was going to wait at least until after Thanksgiving to post this, but Dan Phillips asked “What are the best Christmas albums, ever?” Which Messiah, and why? So these are my recommendations.
I haven’t listened to many different Messiah productions, but of those I have, I like this one best. Why? I just do. I’m not aficionado enough to go into all the nuances of nuance — “Well, Dan, it has a robust bouquet and tantalizes the palate with hints of elderberry and currants” — I just like it best.
I’m in need of some new Christmas music myself. These are probably not “the best Christmas albums, ever”, but here are some of my favorites:
Christopher Parkening & Kathleen Battle, Angels’ Glory. I believe the sopranos in Heaven’s choir sound like Kathleen Battle, and Christopher Parkening’s guitar rivals any angel’s harp. Maybe I exaggerate. Or maybe not.
Dallas Brass, Christmas Brass. I’m sure there are other Christmas brass albums equal to or better than this (like this one by the Westminster Brass, for example), but I’ve got this one, and I like it.
Joni Eareckson Tada, John MacArthur, Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth, O Come, All Ye Faithful. This is one of four hymn albums done with The Master’s College Choral. Each comes with a hardcover book of historical sketches and meditations on the hymns it contains.
Joni Eareckson Tada & Bobbie Wolgemuth, Christmas Carols for a Kid’s Heart. Similar to the previous album, this is one of four, also accompanied by a hardcover book. These are some of the best children’s productions I’ve heard.
Charlotte Church, Dream a Dream. I like this one in spite of the Ave Maria.
California Guitar Trio, Christmas Album. This one is fun for anyone who likes the guitar. It includes a couple of stupid songs, but since it’s all instrumental — nobody sings — they’re still enjoyable.
Nat King Cole, The Christmas Song. He’s Nat King Cole. Need I say More? This man sang. Not like what commonly passes for singing in pop music today. No moaning, groaning, whining, growling, yelling, screaming, . . . Just clear singing with the beautiful voice God gave him. And enunciation! He obviously believed vowels and consonants had fixed phonetic values. So do I; because they do.
However, to prove I’m not completely rigid in my standards, I also like:
Stan Boreson & Doug Setterberg, Yust Go Nuts at Christmas. If you weren’t raised among early twentieth-century second and third-generation Scandinavian-Americans as I was, you probably can’t appreciate this one. You’ll probably just think it’s stupid. Well, actually, it is stupid. Here’s a sample.
Do you have any recommendations for me?