Sunday, December 02, 2007

What I'm Listening To This Advent

The Promise, by Michael Card. I would listen to him sing "This is the way we pick up our toys." Love him. His "Joseph's Song," about St. Joseph regarding the amazing gift of Jesus in his arms, is a sure-fire tear-producer.

The Birth of Jesus, by John Michael Talbot. He sets Psalms to music better than almost anybody on earth, although he can be a little bit slow and over-serious on some of his million albums. But this one's a great Christmas play. Many classic hymns along with a few of his own compositions, so it's easy to sing along almost immediately.

Majesty & Wonder, by Phil Keaggy and the London Festival Orchestra. An instrumental by this fine guitarist. Again, lots of classics in lush arrangements but his guitar is always a distinctive voice.

He is Born, by Karl Kohlhase. Writes, sings, records and produces his own music, he allows his music to be downloaded for a donation. He is thoughtful and sincere with a nice gift for composition and each of his albums is better than the last.

In these choices, I betray my age and musical tastes. If James Taylor or Paul Simon sang songs about Jesus, I'd be the first to buy them. I lean towards that "troubador" style of music.

Can't skip over the big massed voices and instruments, too: I love to play (and sing along with) the Messiah, in its complete form. I sang it at Chicago's Do-It-Yourself Messiah for many years, until going downtown on a weeknight got more difficult. Being one of 2,500 voices in the seats of historic Orchestra Hall singing "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" or "Surely He Has Borne Our Sins" or, obviously, the "Hallelujah Chorus," is quite simply a big rush. A slightly sloppy but always genial rush on some of the more esoteric numbers, but fun nonetheless.

I play the Messiah straight through, but the others go into random play. Do you feel like I do that there is some song the randomizer never plays, that there's a little jewel I haven't heard after dozens of plays?

What are you listening to?


Salome Ellen said...

Your first two are our family's top picks, but we've never heard of the other two. (Well, I've heard of Phil Keaggy, but not that album. I'm old.) We will have to find them and give them a try!

Therese Z said...

I'm always open to other suggestions, if you have one. If you like Card and Talbot, I'd probably like whoever you choose...

Roz said...

I'm old-fashioned, I guess. I lean toward the Robert Shaw Chorale or the Mormon Tabernacle choir singing the great old Christmas hymns. But I don't start them until the tree goes up, which is usually around the third Sunday of Advent.

I did used to have a rather hip-hop rendition of the Messiah which was actually quite wonderful. I wonder where it went?

Therese Z said...

That's when my tree will go up, too.

I save the "classic" Christmas albums until then, by which I mean the Robert Shaws and Mormons and what passes for classic in our family: The Firestone Christmas Albums!

But these are a little more Advent in feeling, for me, maybe because many of the songs are contemporary meditations on the Gift, so I am not so drawn back into family Christmas memories.

Julie Andrews and Rise Stevens can wait. Michael Card for now! Does that make sense?

Roz said...

Makes lots of sense! The best part of any big event is the eager anticipation - why shouldn't we have music that builds it?

Kansas Bob said...

We haven't broke the Christmas CDs out yet.. maybe today.. when we do there are a few that I really like..

A Vineyard Christmas has some great worshipful songs on it.

Sandler and Young are my old standby favorites

Bing Crosby, Pavoratti and Johnny Mathis all have nice CDs

Time Warner has a new Christmas music station that we are starting to listen to.

Therese Z said...

I am silly for Bing Crosby.



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