A myHT Fortress

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 7 - Kristin Chenoweth's "A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas"

We fell in love with Kristin Chenoweth when we first heard the Wicked soundtrack.  She has an amazing voice, with incredible range and control!

This album was one of last year's additions to the collection, and quickly jumped in to our "most often played" stack.

In some of the songs, she slips into a little country twang, of which I am not a fan.  She also has a couple unusual choices, such as "Sing (Sing a Song)," which many people my age associate with Sesame Street, not Christmas.  But all in all, it's a great album!

Of particular interest is a new piece called, "Home on Christmas Day."  Crisp, clean piano accompanies Kristin's sweet voice in this fresh selection.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 6 - Bing Crosby's "White Christmas"

Whether he is/was your favorite singer, or not, I would suggest that there is one voice that most people associate with the Christmas season: Bing Crosby.

I absolutely love the classic films Holiday Inn, and its "reboot," White Christmas!  With the musical genius of Irving Berlin, Bing crooned his way into Christmas memories as a permanent fixture.

This album shares the name of the latter film, but has a wide variety of songs (most of which are not in the movie.) The title track is a secular, yet beautiful and sentimental song from the 1940's, as is "I'll Be Home for Christmas."  And it's hard to beat Bing gently singing "Silent Night."

Was Bing "multi-cultural" before it was cool?  Some eclectic items are in the mix, such as the Hawaiian themed "Mele Kalikimaka" and the Irish sounds of "Christmas in Kilarney."

While Bing is no longer my absolute favorite (like he was when I was in high school), it still would not seem like Christmas was musically complete without him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 5 - The Muppets & John Denver: A Christmas Together

Now for a bit of lighthearted fun.  Most people from my generation grew up with and loved Sesame Street (and then) the Muppets.  

This album has been out for quite a while, and provides that Muppet spin on a number of favorites, and a few unusual choices.

The rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a highlight, with touches that only Miss Piggy and Animal could give.  "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" also provides classic Animal moments.  And the album concludes like many a Christmas Eve candlelight service, with "Silent Night."

Monday, November 26, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 4 - Harry Connick, Jr.'s "When My Heart Finds Christmas"

We love Harry Connick, Jr.  That's just how it is. We laughed when we sent out wedding invitations that we should send one to him., and perhaps he'd even play our reception!  

I know he would not have attended the wedding of complete strangers; still, I often wonder if Harry would have sent a note or card or something.

"When My Heart Finds Christmas" has a great mix, from holiday classics such as "Sleigh Ride," to some of Harry's special Jazz/New Orleans/Harry Connick, Jr. style of songs, such as the title track and "(It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus."

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 3 - Michael Buble's "Christmas"

Several years ago, while talking about our love for Harry Connick, Jr.'s music, our cousin Amy Sprehe Faerber turned us on to Michael Buble.  (Thanks, Amy!)

Michael has that classic Rat Pack sound, definitely inspired by Sinatra.  He has rich, masculine vocals, and quickly became a favorite artist for us!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 2 - Praetorius' Mass for Christmas Morning

This is another personal favorite!  Michael Praetorius was a Lutheran Kantor about a generation before J.S. Bach.  This is a reconstruction of a Lutheran Mass for Christmas Morning, using the work of this great master.

A mixture of German and Latin are used, much as they would have been for city churches served by Praetorius' music.

Particular favorites of mine include the Introit: "Puer natus in Bethlehem," the "Quem Pastores" (also known as the "Quempas Carol," and "In Dulci Jubilo."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 1 - An Old English Christmas

An Olde English Christmas was one of those CD's we bought on a whim; you know, with the end cap display of things that you don't really need, but the impulse shopper takes over.

Was it the Anglophile in us?  Or simply the love of Christmas music?  Whatever the case, we took a chance, and it is about our favorite Christmas album!  

The music is entirely instrumental, soothing, and joyful.  It can be heard multiple times, throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons in our parsonage.

Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Christmas Music Edition

The Heinz household has amassed quite a collection of Christmas music.  “But 30!” you ask.  Actually, our collection goes well beyond 30, but I will try to limit this list to the best, the more unusual, and the humorous.

Over the next 30 days, I will upload one CD title per day, and talk a little about it.  We have a wide range of musical tastes in our family, and our stacks of CDs and iTunes library reflect that.  So in the coming weeks, grab your Peppermint Mocha, sit back in that favorite chair, and delight your ears to the Christmas music of your choice!

Merry Christmas!