Music for holiday living.
Alison Young

Alison Young’s Holiday Album Picks

Classical MPR's hosts were asked to list their top five holiday albums. Here are Alison Young's choices:
  • Christmas with the Dale Warland Singers
    Christmas with the Dale Warland Singers (Gothic 49208)

    Is there any other choir in the world that sounds as luscious and expansive as this chorus? There is a richness, warmth and almost velvety texture to the sound. This CD just lives in my disc player the entire season. Of particular note is a song by John Gardiner “Tomorrow hall be my Dancing Day” which I pretty well butchered in the numerous choirs I sang with. It’s absolutely perfect – bouncy, upbeat and full of joy. And to top it off, the Dale Warland Singers actually do dynamics. It’s thrilling!

  • Baltimore Consort, Bright Day Star
    Baltimore Consort, Bright Day Star (Dorian 90198)

    I’m not entirely sure if this disc is still in print, but if one disc could be considered perfect, this is it. One of my flute buddies gave it to me years ago because she was kind of crushing on Chris Norman. Well, who wouldn’t? He plays the wooden flute with such abandon and freedom; you think he was born to jam. It’s folksy music from Appalachia, the British Isles and Germany filled with energy and pure joy. I do have a five-CD player, so this one too lives there from about Thanksgiving noon until Epiphany. You’ll be hooked right from the first song.

  • Chanticleer, Our Heartís Joy
    Chanticleer, Our Heart's Joy (Chanticleer 8803)

    I remember the first time I heard Biebl’s Ave Maria on this disc. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Chanticleer sings with a kind of purity and innocence. There’s nothing forced or trying to showoff, just the beauty of the line as though every time you hear it is the first. Also on this magical disc is a set of songs from Spain “El la don don” followed by “Riu, Riu Chiu” that always leave me a little breathless. Christmas basically requires Chanticleer.

  • The Tallis Scholars, Christmas Carols and Motets
    The Tallis Scholars, Christmas Carols and Motets (Gimell 10)

    Nothing says an authentic Christmas like really, really old music. When you listen to this disc, you go to another place. It’s as though Christmas and all its mystery has just been discovered . All those silly TV shows, the shopping mania, traveling and relatives and the tree and the demand to be cheery during the season just don’t matter anymore. You’ve entered into a darkened church lit only by flickering candles and people singing about the greatest gift given human kind. A particular favorite is the first track “Angelus ad virginem.” It begins as a rocking solo and one by one voices join in. I still get chills when these voices break into harmony.

  • Robert Shaw Chamber Singers, Songs of Angels
    Robert Shaw Chamber Singers, Songs of Angels (Telarc 80377)

    You know all those carols you try and sing in church? If you want to hear how they should really sound, get this disc. The choir sounds like one organism – breathing, enunciating, phrasing and making perfectly inflected music together. You’ll find yourself singing along while you hear these familiar songs in a whole new light. In addition, the choir sounds like an orchestra and it takes a few songs before you realize there is no accompaniment. They are making this glorious sound all on their own.

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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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