Sunday morning music

With Christmas drawing nearer, I’d like to cut through the horrible holiday muzak that’s inflicted upon us at every turn, and bring you a few selections that are far more musical, meditative and in the true spirit of the season.

To begin with, here’s one of my favorite carols, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel“, the origins of which are lost in the mists of time.  Elements date back to the first millennium and the great so-called “O Antiphons“. Our first sample is an instrumental recording by The Piano Guys from their 2013 album, “A Family Christmas“.

Here’s a magnificent solo performance by the matchless Hayley Westenra, in Latin, with lyrics and translation provided.  She brings out the essential prayerfulness of this carol, so different from the commercial dreck to which we’ve grown accustomed.  She’s accompanied by the Pavao Quartet.  This song is from her 2009 album “Winter Magic“.

Finally, for a more “commercial” rendition that still retains something of the spiritual flavor of the original, here’s Mannheim Steamroller‘s version of the carol from their album “A Fresh Aire Christmas“.



  1. There are many great Christmas songs that onerarely hears. If I were a king, I would ban the over-played wreck and mandate going back to forgotten classics. The Cherry Tree Carol is one of these classics.

  2. My wife is in her "full-on Christmas mode". Over decorating the house, putting up the tree and…….listening to the Sirus XM Christmas channel!!!!
    Yeesh, after 20 minutes I had to retreat to the garage. In my mind that channel only has 5 different Christmas songs. And they're all sung in earnest in a finger nail/blackboard register/tone.


  3. Chip Davis at Mannheim has a better grasp of Latin pronunciation than the young lady…..and there's another cut on one of his offerings which utilizes the "Lumen Ad Revelationem" Chant melody, which pretty much seals-the-deal that he's a Catholic.

  4. If you want a new twist on Christmas music I recommend the folk band St Agnes Fountain they only form for Christmas each year for the past 13. Gifted singers and multi instrumentalists. New Christmas songs and new arrangements of classics. Their version of The Rebel Jesus is stunning! Try Phil Beer too, with the Albion Band he's put out some stunning Christmas music.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *