Music of the Christmas season

There’s nothing like the power of music to tap the depths of human emotion. That’s especially true of Christmas songs since the season comes with a playlist that seems imprinted on our DNA.

The old carols, inspired by the sacred meaning of Christmas, still touch us deeply. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “Silent Night” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” And Handel’s Messiah.

Secular classics — “Jingle Bells,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “White Christmas” — inspire warm, fuzzy waves of nostalgia.

Contemporary singer-songwriters have stretched the season’s musical boundaries with original tunes that have become part of the Christmas song fabric, such as Mariah Carey’s romantic “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Charles Brown’s bluesy “Please Come Home for Christmas” and those tinged with melancholy — Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and Joni Mitchell’s “River.”

Holiday concerts tap traditional sacred and secular classics, the crowd-pleasers that always seem to touch us even deeper when we hear them performed live.

And there are a bunch of new recordings this year, ranging from traditional to strikingly original.

Let Christmas reign.

click here for Christmas concerts

click here for New Christmas albums

— Ellis Widner

Style on 12/01/2019

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