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"Here Comes Santa Claus" - Gene Autry

I celebrate filing my taxes every year with the Gene Autry song “I Paid My Income Tax Today”. So, why not Christmas too?

"Ice Dance" from Edward Scissorhands - Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman’s music pretty much has a place in the soundtracks of our lives. It’s stylized and evocative. Ever since I heard this piece as a child, it has never left me.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s In Nativitate Domini nostri Jesu Christi Canticum, H. 421, "Frigidae noctis umbra" from Noël Christmas Cantatas Album - Andrea Lauren Brown

Because more people should perform French Baroque at Christmas. Period. Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble would kill this. 

"The Three Kings" by Healey Willan from Christmas with Chanticleer album - Chanticleer

I love singing it. And I love listening to it. It’s definitely one of my selfish performance pieces. 

"What A Pretty Little Baby" from Sing We Christmas album - Chanticleer

Start at 4:49. Listen to the soprano trio gliding above, and then the lower voices nearing the climax. This piece gets me every time. Every. Time.

"Joy to the World" from The Preacher's Wife - Whitney Houston

It’s 2017 and Mariah’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is overplayed. So make some room for Whitney.

"Spirit of Christmas" - Ray Charles

Maybe a bit sentimental, but sometimes you need to indulge in the easiness of good feelings.

"River" from Christmas album - Laurence Hobgood and Kurt Elling

This Joni Mitchell cover is almost a swan song for Laurence and Kurt. They are powerhouse collaborators, and I’ll miss them together. 

"Jubilation" from Angel's Glory album- Christopher Parkening

I discovered Christopher Parkening the same year as I did Chanticleer. I had never really thought about Classical guitar music before then. Now, he’s the person I refer to time and time again. Oh, and I suppose Kathleen Battle sounds good on the album too. Although...I don’t know, I didn’t hear it.

Schoenberg: Weihnachtsmusik - Taverner Consort and Players

One of my favorite carols, ‘Es ist ein’ Ros’ ensptrungen’, with the Second Viennese School twist. Can you catch ‘Silent Night’ in the strings?

J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For The Second Day Of Christmas - No.10 Sinfonia - English Baroque Soloists · John Eliot Gardiner · The Monteverdi Choir

I wish Bach’s Christmas Oratorio were performed as much, if not more than, Handel’s Messiah during the Christmas season. They both have a pastorale, but my vote goes to Bach.

J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For The Feast Of Epiphany - No.64 Choral: "Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen" - English Baroque Soloists · John Eliot Gardiner · The Monteverdi Choir

I absolutely LOVE this trumpet solo. If you can ever snag the seat, it’s best experienced sitting in the choir near the soloist. Just let it dance and ring all through your being as it triumphs over the contrary.

 

[Editor's note: Due to circumstances beyond Matthew's control, his Ray Charles and Hobgood/Elling selections are not available to stream on Spotify and Apple; therefore the only complete version of his playlist is the version posted on YouTube.]

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