Saturday, 13 December 2014

What are you listening to at Christmas Time

When we live in Europe at Christmas time the radio stations did not play Holiday Music and stores do not in general have music on while you shop, this includes grocery stores, it is not part of the European cultural experience. It seems that this is a North American phenomenon and a phoney way to put people into the consumer crazy frame of mind.

What is truly funny is how the CBC or Radio Canada avoids constantly to use the term Christmas, they are so politically correct at the State Broadcaster despite harbouring people like our Gian Ghomeshi, until it was discovered that their superstar lived the Fifty Shade of Grey Life style. So it is all about Holiday Season, constipation is the word at the CBC.

I avoid the shopping malls all year round and do my shopping online. Unfortunately for me, yesterday I went to COSTCO, I know hard to believe but you know they have great prices on Stilton Cheese and paper products. I was in and out of there in 15 minutes. The COSTCO experience is like living in the world of Zombies or the un-dead, truly a twilight experience, I wonder about the employees there, what sin have they committed to be condemned to such a fate. I try to go only every trimester and stay only long enough to do what I have to do and get the hell out.

I am sure my dentist has some kind of crazy music on, he seems to think that it will take your mind off the idea of being at the dentist. He is addicted to Ellen and her cohorts of hysterical females who show up in the audience of her equally moronic TV show and scream at anything she says no matter how inane. I wonder where they get audiences like that, are they the same group of Furies you see in Shopping Malls?

Some of the many decorations for our tree

Then there is my own old friend and shrink the one I go on vacation with, Dr. Spo also known at Kontitonttu or Hustomte in Scandinavian, who is apparently haunted at work by cheesy Xmas music, you know the Chipmunks do Xmas type of thing. I wonder if this is the curse of Carl Jung unfolding as it should.

So to get back to what kind of Christmas Music do you listen to in the car or at home. Here is a selection of what I like to listen to at this time of the year.

Marc Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704), Antiennes ''O'' de l'Avent

The Elmer Iseler Singers, Early Canadian Christmas Music from 1648 to 1907.

Michael Praetorius, Christmas Music 17th century.

Christmas Music from English Parish Churches 1740-1830

Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672) Weihnachts Historie

A Venetian Christmas music by Gabrieli and De Rore 16th century

Michael Praetorius, Christmas Vespers

Marc Antoine Charpentier, Noëls and Christmas Motets (french-english music)

Michael Praetorius, Christmette, Christmas Mass of 1620 in the Lutherian Church, a favourite of mine.

Sir Thomas Beecham arrangement of the Messiah (1959)

Polskie Koledy i pastorali by the Warsaw Chamber Opera

and of course from my childhood the famous
A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi trio.

An eclectic choice but it beats the Xmas Muzak any time. I also discovered that the abbreviation of Christmas to Xmas is not a new thing at all. Apparently it started 1000 years ago, we did not invent anything and it is taken from Greek.

Venez Divin Messie, an old French-Canadian Advent carol, the composer is Ernest Gagnon, words by the abbé Simon-Joseph Pellegrin (1663-1745).


  1. Only you, Laurent, would go to Costco for the Stilton cheese!

  2. A friend gave me a Pink Martini holiday CD. I've been listening to it in the car. They give holiday songs a latin-jazz twist.

    1. I like Pink Martini and their music.

  3. Funny you should ask..
    I have a myriad of Christmas albums from the sacred to the kitsch. I put them in one long iPhone playlist, press shuffle and viola! It is amusing to go from Leonine to The Beach Boys, back to Handel and then to The Partridge Family. hohoho

  4. BTW, your music list is
    a) not at all surprising
    b) enviable; I want most of it.
    c) lacking Elvis. I know now what to get you for Xmas.

    1. Elvis? Umm, is he early Renaissance or is it Baroque with that hair due?

    2. He is from the Schoenberg school