Christmas Countdown: 1

Christmas treeIt’s Christmas Eve Day! When I was growing up the evening consisted of the special family dinner and dessert, a Christmas lesson, opening the presents under the tree, all capped off with a midnight church service. Christmas morning brought stuffed stockings of trinkets and candy, but the Eve was the Big Night.

The Way-Back link is to the 2012 Christmas Eve post when I’d just learned that my Santa: Man or Woman post had been Freshly Pressed. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the poem I wrote to commemorate the discovery.

Now the Christmas Eve musical selections…

Silent Night. Of course, what else. The question is which one? If you’ve been following the Way-Back links, you’ve seen the Stevie Nicks one. I really like the Elvin Bishop version (and the Enya one). Tonight I’ll start with this one:

As much as I love that one, my favorite (and I know I’m not alone in this) is Oh Holy Night. Here again, it’s tough to pick one. Two long-time favorites are the Josh Groban version or the one by the incomparable Mahalia Jackson. (There’s a really pretty one by Celtic Woman you should check out.) But I’m gonna go with Patti Smith:

[Warning: Pace Change Ahead!]

Christmas Eve Day evening should be spent inside (with Norah Jones and Willie Nelson), because Baby It’s Cold Outside:

And if you’re out and driving, please be safe. To keep you company, here’s Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea:

We end at the beginning with Mannheim Steamroller’s Silent Night from their first holiday album in 1984:

For tonight’s bonus music here’s another selection from The Piano Guys:

For forth and spread beauty and light.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

7 responses to “Christmas Countdown: 1

  • dianasschwenk

    Check out this Christmas song I found a couple of years ago – it’s one of my faves!

    Diana xo

  • reocochran

    This is a beautiful rendition of Silent Night, W.S. I am off to do Christmas Eve shopping with my Mom. My brothers are worthless at this task! ha ha! I am blessed with our connections and wishing you a splendid time!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Christmas Eve shopping, oh, you poor soul! So much better to spend the day relaxing! Ah, well, we gotta do what we gotta do, don’t we! Which did you like best? The Sinead or the Steamroller? Or the Stevie Nicks? Or the Elvin Bishop? Or the Enya? 😀 Really, really hard to pick, isn’t it! 😮

  • Wyrd Smythe

    ♩♪ Musical Notes:

    Silent Night, Holy Night (Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht) is a 1818 German Christmas standard covered by many, many artists choral groups. It was composed by Franz Gruber (not Hans 🙂 ) to lyrics by Joseph Mohr. It was first performed on Christmas Eve (tonight!) at the St. Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf. The priest there, Father Mohr, brought his words to the schoolmaster and organist, Gruber, who lived in the nearby village of Arnsdorf.

    The song was sung simultaneously in French, by both English and German troops during the Christmas Truce of 1914 during WWI. It was known to the men on both sides.

    Oh Holy Night is also from the 19th century. It started life as a French poem, Minuit, Chrétiens (Midnight, Christians), by professed anticlerical atheist Placide Cappeau in 1843. The poem was written to celebrate the renovation of the church organ in 1843.

    Soon after Adolphe Adam compose music for the poem. The song premiered in Roquemaure in 1847 sung by opera singer Emily Laurey.

    Unitarian minister John Dwight created a singing version from Cappeau’s text in 1855.

    Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a duet by Frank Loesser in 1944. It’s intended more as a winter romantic song than specifically a Christmas song. It’s included here because (a) I really like Norah Jones and (b) Norah Jones and Willie Nelson? Who could resist!

    Driving Home for Christmas is an original tune by (very interesting musician) Chris Rea. It’s inclusion here is in part due to its relative obscurity and in part due to Chris Rea being another artist I really like.

    O come, O come, Emmanuel originally dates back to the 12th century as the Latin hymn Veni, Veni, Emmanuel. The version we know and sing today comes from an 1861 translation.

    Of note is that the metre of the Latin allows either the English or Latin to be sung to the same melody.

  • Hariod Brawn

    Happy Christmas my friend! And many thanks for everything! You have greatly enriched my blogging experience in this my debut year, not only as a result of your writing, but also because of your generous and willing engagements in the comments section. You get my personal award for top blog of 2014 – jointly with Tina’s, of course!


    • Wyrd Smythe

      You place me in very good company, thank you! And thank you as well for your participation here; we’ve had some fun and explored things and even introduced each other to new music (the best gift of all).

      I hope you and yours are having a wonderful Christmas!


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