Music for holiday living.
John Birge

John Birge’s Holiday Album Picks

Classical MPR's hosts were asked to list their top five holiday albums. Here are John Birge's choices:

Christmas needs beautiful singing.
Singing needs beautiful songs.
Songs need beautiful voices.
These five albums will fill your holiday with all of the above:

  • Christmas with the Cambridge Singers
    Christmas with the Cambridge Singers - conducted by John Rutter (Collegium CD 111)

    This is a desert-island Christmas disc. And some of it is so beautiful that it seems a pity to only listen to it in December. Of special note is John Rutter’s famous carol, “What Sweeter Music.” Heavenly. A perfect disc.

  • To Wish You a Merry Christmas
    To Wish You a Merry Christmas - Harry Belafonte (RCA 2626)

    When I was a kid, a favorite family Christmas record. Our LP worn out completely, replacing it was impossible because it was out-of-print for nearly twenty years. With the CD era, it was re-released, just in time for my son to grow up with this classic.
    And speaking of kid’s stuff…

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
    A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio (Fantasy 6978431)

    The children singing “Christmas Time is Here”?? Completely irresistible, like the TV special it was composed for. “Lights please…”

  • Happy Holidays
    Happy Holidays - Jo Stafford (Corinthian 114)

    This CD is compilation of two classic Jo Stafford albums, Happy Holidays and Ski Trails. So you get traditional Christmas carols, and some very atmospheric winter classics too.
    Yes, a few dated arrangements here and there. But Jo’s rich voice singing “The Nearness of You” will melt the snow, and your heart. And her version of “Moonlight in Vermont” is perfection.

  • Holiday Songs and Lullabies
    Holiday Songs and Lullabies - Shawn Colvin (Columbia 69550)

    Another great voice, and nothing dated here. Gorgeous arrangements, and a most inspired playlist. You may not know many of these songs, yet even on first hearing you’ll think you’ve known them all your life. The songs from Alec Wilder’s “Lullabies and Night Songs” are gorgeous rarities.

Shop for holiday gifts where your purchases support Minnesota Public Radio.

Taste of the Holidays Taste of the Holidays Vol. 1
The 21 song collection gathers together holiday classics such as "Joy to the World" performed by Choral Arts Ensemble, "The Christmas Song" by the Dolce Wind Quartet, "Greensleeves" by The Copper Street Brass Quintet, among others. The cd features a wonderful selection of classical music along with delicious recipes from Lynne Rossetto Kasper and The Splendid Table.

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A Chanticleer Christmas


Gifts for the Classical Music Lover
ArkivMusic presents a collection of the best classical music for gift-giving this holiday season. Including rare and value-priced items, this gift guide contains something for any classical music lover.
2011 Holiday Music Picks

More selections

The Splendid Table's "How to Weekends"
The Splendid Table's "How To Eat Weekends"
100 recipes and tips from The Splendid Table for your weekend cooking enjoyment!
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