My Favorite Things - Kelly Clarkson: This is one of my favorite songs from The Sound of Music, so when I stumbled upon it a few years ago with Kelly Clarkson singing I was already in love. I enjoy this modern take on such a classic piece that I often didn’t associate with the holidays.
Santa Tell Me - Ariana Grande: I have a confession to make - I am obsessed with Ariana Grande. It took a lot of will power to not make a playlist of her entire Christmas catalog. This song made the cut because it makes Christmas sexy.
Little Drummer Boy - Destiny’s Child ft. Solange: This song was made to be arranged as an R&B piece. I grew up listening to Destiny’s Child - I also think that Solange needs to have a shout out every now and then too.
Last Christmas - Ariana Grande: Whoops, she made the list again…. the reasoning should be quite evident by now :)
All I Want For Christmas- Mariah Carey: Best Christmas song ever. ‘nuff said.
Merry Christmas Baby - Etta James: This song is so untraditional which is why I love it. The blues and jazz are from the time that is long gone and such a throw back to the time of juke jones and barrelhouses. One critic wrote “leave you wanting more” which sums it up pretty well.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland: Whenever I want to get “the feels” I throw this bad boy on during the holidays. She can do no wrong, and this song is such a classic. Though it may not be the best, or the sexiest, it is my favorite holiday song.
O magnum mysterium (Victoria) - Chanticleer: This is easily one of my top 5 motets of all time. The open fifths and octaves that Victoria uses and long lasting dissonances accompanied with each voice part echoing the other creates such an eerie quality that this text embodies. This is also the first piece that I was introduced to Chanticleer with in my first year of music history!
In the Bleak Midwinter - VOCES8 - Rossetti’s famed winter poem has been set and arranged so many times. Chanticleer is even doing an arrangement by Joseph Jennings this Christmas tour. I am drawn to this poem because Rossetti has set up a beautiful platform with this text for any composer or arranger to use with its extrospective description until the 5th and final verse which takes a dramatic introspective shift. VOCES8 delivers such artistry and imagery with this arrangement of Holst’s classic composition.
O admirabile commercium (Stoltzer) - Chanticleer: For some reason each Christmas this piece is the one I turn to when I am craving something soothing and meditative. There are such subtleties in the polyphony that resolve in such satisfying ways that it is hard not to fall in love with this piece.
Carol of the Bells - Pentatonix: This is a fun take on a piece that has been done so many ways. The perfect song to put on when you are measuring how much rum to put in your eggnog,
O magnum mysterium (Lauridsen) - Chamber Choir of Europe: You may be thinking “Hey! This was already on this list!” This text is some of the best religious text out there. It is beautiful, colorful, and so full of imagery that it allows composers to create so many different expressions. This composition of the text is breathtakingly beautiful and captures that magic and mystery of this responsorial chant.