Christmas Music

Christmas Music

Show notes

Ivan Wise discusses Christmas music that should be better known.

Christmas is our most sturdily conservative tradition, and this December you will hear once again the same music that you have heard every other Christmas. The usual suspects dominate playlists in shopping malls, on radio stations and at parties. But how did we end up with this apparently immovable canon of Christmas songs? And what other Christmas music is out there that we should be listening to instead? George Ratcliffe Woodward, lyricist of Ding Dong Merrily on High, gets a rap makeover, Nikolai Gogol’s short story Christmas Eve inspired operas by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov and Tom Lehrer arrives to throw some cynical scorn over the Christmas schmaltz.

Past Three O’Clock A Night in Bethlehem Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann December - Tchaikovsky Vakula the Smith - Tchaikovsky Christmas Eve – Rimsky-Korsakov Weihnachtsbaum – Franz Lizst March of the gnomes – Vladimir Rebikov Werther – Jules Massenet A Christmas Song – Tom Lehrer Christmas Presents in Heaven – Solomon Burke Second Christmas Concerto - Michele Corette

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