Classical Music Holiday Playlist - The Nutcracker - Friends of Chamber Music
Photo: Sergio Calleja

The Quintessential Classical Music Holiday Playlist

December 13, 2016

Time seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. Not enough of it and too much gone by already. One thing remains: the need to take a minute and appreciate the beauty of the moment you’re in. We’ve compiled the quintessential list of holiday classics so if it’s only a few moments you have this holiday season; whether it’s for yourself or with loved ones, it’ll be easy to get into the spirit of the season with these cherished pieces.

Handel’s Messiah

One of the most frequently performed works in Western music, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is a holiday must. Its sweeping tale of the King James Bible is underscored by grand melodies that embody the grandeur of the season.

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Written for each of the six major feast days during the Christmas period, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio was meant for six performance in a church setting. He incorporated adaptations of previous compositions, making this an sublime piece of parody music fitting for any holiday gathering in celebration of December 25th.

O Tannenbaum by The Vince Guaraldi Trio

One of the few covers on A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, O Tannenbaum by the Vince Guaraldi Trio is a classic for young and old alike. The 1965 Christmas special was commissioned by Coca-Cola, and has since gone down in our hearts as the adorable messenger for the true meaning of Christmas.

Antonio Vivaldi’s  “Winter” from “The Four Seasons”

The melancholy of Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 4; “Winter” from the Four Seasons, perfectly embodies the season it emulates, a beautiful musical reminder of the continuing cycle of the times.   

Gerald Finzi – In Terra Pax Op. 39 (Part I) – A Frosty Christmas Eve

The whimsical melodies of Gerald Finzi’s In Terra Pax Op. 39 serve as a melodic backdrop to Robert Bridges’ poem, A Frosty Christmas Eve. The words and music alike bringing one back to the childish, innocent notions of a magical Christmas.

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite

No Christmas playlist is complete without this soundtrack to arguably one of the most famous ballets ever written. While the original performance could not be cited as a success, today just about any song from The Nutcracker is sure to evoke the quintessential feelings of the season.

Cheers to good music and a very Merry Christmas from all of us at Friends of Chamber Music!