It’s that time of year again: good food, good friends, family, and staying warm by the fire. There’s a Christmas song in there somewhere, and as for every good thing, an amazing soundtrack has the power to bring those memories back again and again, year after year. We’ve compiled our favourite carols into your essential Holiday Playlist. Whether it’s easy listening for cocktails or Christmas brunch, gift exchange with the family, or entertaining all season long, there’s something for everyone on our list.
- Paul Bisaccia’s jazzy rendition of “The Slumber Song” from Christmas Tree Suite (Weihnachtsbaum) is as easy listening as it gets, perfect for early morning eats by the tree.
- Written by Edward Caswall and composed by Sir John Goss, “See Amid The Winter’s Snow” as performed by Cambridge Choir of King’s College is the right amount of Christmas hymn and upbeat tempo to get them started early in the morning.
- Chopin’s “Nocturne No.9 in B, Op.32 No.1” by Daniel Barenboim provides a beautifully soothing, effervescent counterpart to the mayhem that can be Christmas morning.
- Let the sparkling notes of “Harp Concerto in B Flat Major, Op.4, N°6, HWV 294: I Andante Allegro” by George Frideric Haendel as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra be your backdrop to sharing the gifts both made, bought, and given with love.
- Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra & Valery Gergiev rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker, Op.71 – Act 1: No. 1 The Christmas Tree” says it all in the title: grand yet festive, merry and just subtle enough to be the perfect soundtrack to your Christmas morning round the tree.
- Just the right blend of drama and nostalgia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Hansel And Gretel: Overture” by Engelbert Humperdinck evokes the wonder of childhood stories, like the childhood wonder that is Christmas morning.
The Family Dinner
- The choral perfection that brings Francis Poulenc’s “Quam Vidistis Pastores” to life hearkens days past of Christmas in grand cathedrals–and grand family drama. Perfectly paired with a glass of wine and family gossip.
- The glorious rendition of “Angels We Have Heard On High” by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra is sure to put all in a festive spirit.
- Light, melodious, with a touch of holiday grandeur, Robert Schumann’s “Piano Concerto in A Minor, ” performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker is sure to be a dinner table tradition.
- The light melancholy of Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Christmas Time is Here”, best known from A Charlie Brown Christmas, will put you in the mood for reminiscing with old friends while making new holiday memories.
- “Symphonic Studies, Op.13: Theme” by Robert Schumann and performed by Maurizio Pollini lends an air of sophisticated charm to holiday affairs.
- ‘Largo’ from “Winter” of “The Four Seasons” is quintessentially Vivaldi. It’s haunting violin the epitome of soft snowflakes falling, the perfect light touch to ending a perfect evening with friends.
Any Time, Any Where Favourites
- Nothing says Christmas quite like Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. We especially love the light drama of “Waltz of the Flowers” and any occasion during the Holidays is a good excuse to listen to this all-time favourite.
- The epitome of easy-listening, Chopin’s “Nocturne No.21 in C-Minor Op.Posth” suits early morning brunch or soothes family dinner drama.
- The beautiful intonations of “In Terra Pax: A Frosty Christmas Eve” by Gerald Finzi speak to us of the warmth and true meaning of Christmas. (Donald Sweeney, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, David Hill, Choir of Winchester Cathedral & Waynflete Singers)
Any other must-listen to Holiday favourites you think should be on the list? Comment below!