Monday, December 20, 2010

Favorite Christmas Music

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the music.When I'm  shopping, the tunes floating through the stores add to the excitement and joy of the season. At church, the choir members inspire me with their beautiful voices, especially the children's program. If you celebrate other holidays, do you have music too? If so, please tell me about it.

Here are some of my favorite Christmas carols and songs.

1.  Silent Night
"Silent Night" (the most popular of all Christmas carols) was first written as a poem in Germany in 1816 by a young priest named Joseph Mohr who was assigned to an Austrian pilgrimage church. The church organ was too rusted to play for the 1818 Midnight Mass so Mohr asked his friend Franz Gruber (a local teacher) to compose a tune. Mohr and Gruber sang the song together, with Gruber playing a guitar. The piece might been forgotten except that a visiting musician took the music and it grew in popularity as it was played throughout Austria & Germany.

2.  Away in a Manger
The song was first published with two verses in an Evangelical Lutheran Sunday School collection, Little Children's Book for Schools and Families (1885), edited by James R. Murray (1841–1905), where it simply bore the title "Away in a Manger" and was set to a tune called "St. Kilda," credited to J.E. Clark.
For many years the text was credited to the German reformer Martin Luther. Research has shown, however, that this is nothing more than a fable. In the book Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses (1887) it bears the title "Luther's Cradle Hymn" and the note, "Composed by Martin Luther for his children, and still sung by German mothers to their little ones." A possible reason for the spurious attribution to Luther is that the 400th anniversary of his birth was in 1883. The words were either based on a poem written for this anniversary or were credited to Luther as a clever marketing gimmick. This song has never been found in Luther's works. The first half of the melody is identical to the beginning of the second theme of Waltz #4, transposed down a fourth, in G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325 by Johann Strauss Jr., composed 19 years earlier.

The third stanza, "Be near me, Lord Jesus" was first printed in Gabriel's Vineyard Songs (1892), where it appeared with a tune by Charles H. Gabriel (simply marked "C"), thus these words are probably by Gabriel. Gabriel credited the entire text to Luther and gave it the title "Cradle Song." This verse is sometimes attributed to Dr. John McFarland, but since the popular story dates his contribution to 1904 (postdating the 1892 printing by 12 years), his contribution is highly questionable.

3.  What Child is This?

4.  Jingle Bells

5.  Here Comes Santa Clause

6.  I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause

7.  White Christmas

8.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

And I could go on and on.

Do you have any favorites you'd like to mention?

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

16 comments:

  1. Music definitely enriches the Christmas experience. One of my favorite songs is "O Holy Night." At our church's Christmas Eve service every year, my friend who has the voice of an angel, always sang it at the very end of the service. It wasn't Christmas till Gwen sang and ended the service exactly at 12 o'clock midnight.

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  2. That is another beautiful song, J Q. There are so many. And what a gift to have a lovely voice to sing them.

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  3. a few of my favorite Christmas songs are away in a manger, The first noel,Jingle belle rock, and silent night. When I was a teenager at church we use to hold candles at the end of the service and sing silent night. I think I love christmas eve better than Christmas day. Christmas music rock it puts us in the Christmas spirit. Great blog post Beverly, hugz

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  4. My absolute favorite Christmas song is Carol of the Bells. In fact, I've been posting a different version of it everyday on FB all this month. Tomorrow will be the 21st one. :)

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  5. What a beautiful scene, Legacy. The candles glowing, music filling the air. I hear what you're saying about Christmas Eve and gettin in the spirit. Thanks. :)

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  6. Oh, I haven't spent a lot of time on FB lately, Rena. Must check out your Posts. Thanks.

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  7. My favorites are Silent Night, Away in a Manger, and I'll Be Home For Christmas. My mother was and still is a huge Johnny Mathis fan and he made a beautiful Christmas CD that we always listened to. I have to admit, I loved it as much as she did.

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  8. Johnny Mathis is great, Kelly. His voice is so lovely. I have an Elvis Christmas CD. I'm a big fan of Elvis. Everything he sings is awesome. :)

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  9. I love the Spanish version of Silent Night--Noche de Paz. I also love listening to the Mormon Tabernacle choir.

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  10. I must listen to Silent Night in Spanish, Kim. The Spanish language is so pretty. I took Spanish in high school and college and loved it. Unfortunately, I've forgotten most of what I learned.

    Would love to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing. Maybe they'll be on TV.

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  11. I agree with JQ. "Oh Holy Night" is very high on my list, as is "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"

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  12. Both beautiful songs, Darby. I could just listen to Christmas carols all year long. Mmm. Might do that. :)

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  13. Oh Holy Night has forever been my favorite. What Child Is This is right up there, though. And I enJOY any Celtic rendition of Christmas tunes. Like you, I love the music of the season.

    Merry Christmas, Beverly!

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  14. Okay. I must turn on the stereo. Talking about all these carols makes me want to hear music. Now.

    Merry Christmas to all.

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  15. - Believe by Josh Groban
    - Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey
    - Mary, Did You Know

    Merry Christmas, Beverly!

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  16. Oh, Mary is lovely, Susanne. I'm not familiar with Dominick. Will have to look it up. Josh Groban is good.

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