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Source: (consider it) Thread: Christmas music - oxymoron
Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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Why is all the Christmas music so crap? There are 3 tolerable Christmas songs:

I believe in Father Christmas. A little tinkly, but OK.

Fairytale. I can hear it a few times. I have had enough now this year.

Just like Christmas (by Low). You never hear it, of course, because it isn't crap.

And that is it. The rest - Slade, Wizzard, Maria, Wham - are crap and should never be played.

And then there are Christmas Carols. The only decent one is an advent carol (O Come O come). The rest can take a leap.

I have quite wide musical tastes, but there are limits. Like the Christmas drivel we are subjected to each year.

Can we just give up on all "music" for December?

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Jemima the 9th
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Oh I dunno, there's always Frank Turner's lofi effort:

(NB - monumentally unsafe for work or for small ears, or the easily offended) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW308CpEj1s

And if folk is your thing (it is mine) there's Kate Rusby's Christmas albums, Belshazzar's feast, everything on the Christmas folk session that BBC4 did a few years ago - Bellowhead, the Unthanks, etc etc etc...

Teen Emo has recently introduced me to My Chemical Romance's cover of All I want for Christmas, which is, er, special.

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Stetson
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The Little Drummer Boy is the only modern commerical Christmas tune that is any good. I agree, in general the genre is crap.

I'm not technically a Christian myself, but I think Christmas music only works well if it's religious. It's one of those things that just doesn't work when divorced from its original context. Like fairy-tales bowdlerized to remove all the violence.

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
The Little Drummer Boy is the only modern commerical Christmas tune that is any good. I agree, in general the genre is crap.

I'm not technically a Christian myself, but I think Christmas music only works well if it's religious. It's one of those things that just doesn't work when divorced from its original context. Like fairy-tales bowdlerized to remove all the violence.

Little Drummer Boy is the worlds.worst.earworm. - no contest. I will leave a store if it comes on, otherwise I have it on internal repeat play for days and days, and if I want to listen to men singing while sounding like they've got their balls in a vice, I'll take this one instead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQhuoY5h2kE At least it's funny.

Also, Feliz Navidad can take a long, long hike.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Stetson
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quote:
Little Drummer Boy is the worlds.worst.earworm. - no contest.
Well, yeah, but I think that's because it's so entrancing.

quote:
Also, Feliz Navidad can take a long, long hike.

Agreed, hearing that one just makes me unspeakably depressed. But I think part of the problem for me is that I once watched a news report about a Christmas party for people whose relatives had been killed by drunk drivers, and you could hear them singing it in the background.

Obviously, I feel bad for people who have been through tragedy(including my own), but I'd prefer to avoid having to experience their get-togethers.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Nicolemr
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I like most Christmas music, but spare me from the horrors of the "shoe song"... "If Momma Meets Jesus tonight".

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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Ditto for Feliz Navidad

Anything by John Rutter

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives)

Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley)

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"We're not in Wonderland anymore, Alice." – Charles Manson

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Pigwidgeon

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I listen to our local classical music station or to CDs, so I'm spared hearing this muck -- many songs mentioned here I've never even heard of.

Of course, I'm listening to Advent CDs for the next two weeks.
[Razz]

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I believe in Father Christmas. A little tinkly, but OK.

Fairytale. I can hear it a few times. I have had enough now this year.

Just like Christmas (by Low). You never hear it, of course, because it isn't crap.

I've never heard of any of those songs at all. Of course, given my opinions about most of what passes as Christmas music in popular culture, including other songs mentioned in the thread (Hell is the only appropriate place to talk about or hear "The Little Drummer Boy," IMHO), I think I'm okay with never having heard of them.

The only song that I actually long to hear at Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Rowen
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The only other person I know who is aware of the Low's fabulous song.....

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"May I live this day… compassionate of heart" (John O’Donoghue)...

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Evangeline
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
The Little Drummer Boy is the only modern commerical Christmas tune that is any good. I agree, in general the genre is crap.

I'm not technically a Christian myself, but I think Christmas music only works well if it's religious. It's one of those things that just doesn't work when divorced from its original context. Like fairy-tales bowdlerized to remove all the violence.

I agree except for Tim Minchin's brilliance in absolutely nailing Christmas in Australia, Drinking White Wine in the Sun, overtly anti-Christian but pretty much sums up 21st century Aussies sentimentality over Christmas.

White Wine in the Sun

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Goldfish Stew
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For your listening pleasure

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.

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Bishops Finger
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[Eek!]

John Rutter, eat your heart out.....

IJ

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Twilight

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The only one that will cause me to stop shopping and walk quickly from the store is "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time." I don't see how it manages to be so boring and so irritating at the same time.
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Kittyville
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I had the misfortune to be in the supermarket the other day while they were playing an Aussie version of The 12 Days of Christmas. Kookaburra in a gum tree, anyone? Mercifully, it stopped at "five kan-ga-roooos".
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Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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The worst about supermarket music is that they take these crap songs and squeeze any actual music out of them.

And, of course, this time of year, even more places are playing mindless drivel noise.

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
The worst about supermarket music is that they take these crap songs and squeeze any actual music out of them.

Rather the like they do with the flavour of processed food.

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Jane R
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Here is some Christmas music for those who dislike Christmas music.

Christmas at Ground Zero by Weird Al Yankovic


(Not for those of a nervous disposition, but this is Hell...)

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L'organist
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Silent Night in my Christmas bête-noirea A mournful, dirge-like melody spanning an 11th which is too wide for most non-singers to deal with easily or well. English lyrics (which can vary widely) dire and not metrically comfortable: Radiant beams from thy holy face is a case in point.

Holst's tune for In the bleak mid-winter is always dreadful: its not a good tune and the words don't fit - and that before some prissy lunatic changes the words to include the nonsensical line a heart full of mirth to avoid using the word "breast".

I could go on...

[ 10. December 2016, 09:53: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Marvin the Martian

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# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
Why is all the Christmas music so crap?

Because you're a joyless bastard who wouldn't know a fun tune if it slapped you in the face?

Every single year we get some miserable sod saying that the only good Christmas songs are the ones that say it's a horrible time of year. Well fuck off, OK? Most of us just want to enjoy the season in all its schmaltzy, cheesy, repetitive, sparkly wonder.

2016 has been a shit year, so can we please just have a few weeks at the end where we can have a good time with our family and friends without a bunch of glass-half-empty, ants-at-a-picnic buzzkillers trying to bring us down?

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
The worst about supermarket music is that they take these crap songs and squeeze any actual music out of them.

And, of course, this time of year, even more places are playing mindless drivel noise.

But there is always the amusement when the jollity is broken up with 'Fairytale of New York' because it's on the same compilation CD and the staff don't realise what it's about ...

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
The worst about supermarket music is that they take these crap songs and squeeze any actual music out of them.

And, of course, this time of year, even more places are playing mindless drivel noise.

Same all year tbh. Shops and stores take off-brand versions of the songs to minimise performance rights payments. The effect at anytime is poor recordings and performances of songs good and bad, but at Christmas the effect is magnified because more of the songs are so bloody awful in the first place.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Silent Night in my Christmas bête-noirea A mournful, dirge-like melody spanning an 11th which is too wide for most non-singers to deal with easily or well.

That's why God wrote the Episcopal Church's Hymnal 1982 with its accessible four-part harmonic settings.

quote:
Holst's tune for In the bleak mid-winter is always dreadful: its not a good tune and the words don't fit.
Can't agree. It's one of my favorites.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Silent Night in my Christmas bête-noirea A mournful, dirge-like melody spanning an 11th which is too wide for most non-singers to deal with easily or well. English lyrics (which can vary widely) dire and not metrically comfortable: Radiant beams from thy holy face is a case in point.

In recent years it has become "sacred tradition" -- at least in every church I know around here -- for Silent Night to be sung after Communion, while kneeling, in the dark (maybe with hand-held candles). Singing it twice as slowly as intended seems to add to the sentimentality of the occasion.
[Projectile]

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Silent Night in my Christmas bête-noirea A mournful, dirge-like melody spanning an 11th which is too wide for most non-singers to deal with easily or well.

That's why God wrote the Episcopal Church's Hymnal 1982 with its accessible four-part harmonic settings.
What I dislike about Silent Night is the overrealized theological rectitude of the English translation. The original German focuses heavily (not entirely) on the humanity and materiality of the child. The "curly hair" ("lockigem Haar") doesn't make it into the English, for example. Specific, earthy. Earthy earthy earthy. Possibly wrong but that doesn't matter here.

The English so-called translation ditches that in favor of focusing on the deity of Christ. There's nothing earthy there. The point, I think of the celebration of Christmas, is the CARN part of the inCARNation. The flesh.

There will be other opportunities to celebrate his divinity. Just once, just one day a year for God's sake, let us celebrate his humanity, his like-us-ness, the fact that he has taken on OUR nature. God has a shitty diaper. Thanks be to God.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Silent Night in my Christmas bête-noirea A mournful, dirge-like melody spanning an 11th which is too wide for most non-singers to deal with easily or well.

It is much less dirge-like if it is accompanied (as it was originally) by a guitar rather than the organ, and not taken too slowly. That doesn't help the tessitura, though.
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Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
Why is all the Christmas music so crap?

Because you're a joyless bastard who wouldn't know a fun tune if it slapped you in the face?
Very possible. But I do like fun music. Just not trite, same-again stuff.

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Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
God has a shitty diaper.

And he does cry.
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Silent Night in my Christmas bête-noirea A mournful, dirge-like melody spanning an 11th which is too wide for most non-singers to deal with easily or well. English lyrics (which can vary widely) dire and not metrically comfortable: Radiant beams from thy holy face is a case in point.

In recent years it has become "sacred tradition" -- at least in every church I know around here -- for Silent Night to be sung after Communion, while kneeling, in the dark (maybe with hand-held candles). Singing it twice as slowly as intended seems to add to the sentimentality of the occasion.
[Projectile]

We sing it with candles after communion, but standing in a circle at the walls of the nave. And we sing it (not too slowly) accompanied by guitar, not organ. (Whether the story that it was written because the organ was broken is true or not, it is a cautionary tale.) IMO, Silent Night always works best when sung somewhat like a ländler.

And some of us had God's harmony long before 1982, Miss Amanda. [Biased]

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
The worst about supermarket music is that they take these crap songs and squeeze any actual music out of them.

And, of course, this time of year, even more places are playing mindless drivel noise.

But there is always the amusement when the jollity is broken up with 'Fairytale of New York' because it's on the same compilation CD and the staff don't realise what it's about ...
Broadly similar to the experience of being at a YMCA Staff Christmas Party(in a country where the Y is mostly associated with middle-class suburban fitness clubs) and seeing everyone get up and dance to to the Village People's hymn to gay cruising.

[ 10. December 2016, 15:29: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Stercus Tauri
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Discounting the supermarket Christmas trash songs, which I do absolutely, I suppose the beauty of much of the music is in the ear of the beholder. To my ear there few songs as lovely as "Child in the Manger", preferably sung unaccompanied in the original gaelic. My minister hates it. He can only stand that melody as he fondly remembers it being howled by some crapulous crooner from the 70s who puked up a stomach-heaving, but mercifully long forgotten, imitation of "Morning has Broken" to a viciously abused version of the same tune.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
God has a shitty diaper. Thanks be to God.

Silent shite, holy shite ...

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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I'm partial to the First Nowell.

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Barnabas62
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Christmas music from 'Messiah' is sublime.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
I'm not technically a Christian myself, but I think Christmas music only works well if it's religious. It's one of those things that just doesn't work when divorced from its original context.

In the British context, though, I think secular Christmas music fits in better with the spirit of the age.

Christmas carols about Jesus are good for stimulating nostalgia among older people, but many children and younger adults today no longer sing them. I suppose they make for nice background music.

As for Slade et al, I used to dislike them more than I do now. Maybe I find it easier to tune them out these days.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Christmas music from 'Messiah' is sublime.

I attended a lovely performance last night with the Phoenix Symphony and Chorus. Now I'm ready to face Christmas.
[Smile]

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Teekeey Misha
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I worked in a supermarket to pay my way through sixth form. I lived with 9 months of something I think they called "ZZ Tops" and "Led Zepplin" and 3 months of a loop of "Drummer Boy", "Hark the herald" and "Sleigh Ride". I know how to switch off all auditory sense when I enter a supermarket.

Otherwise I would have gone postal before graduating.

Then, I worked for four years in a cathedral church where we had a carol service for every local school / the County Council / the County Constabulary / the County Fire Brigade / the County masons' lodges / the County Round Tables / the County Rotary Clubs / the County radio station / the City Council / you name it if it happened locally they turned up demanding a service. My personal record was the year I played a role in 13 carols services (excluding masses / matins / evensongs / carol services "belonging" to the cathedral community itself) between Advent Sunday and Christmas Eve.

By the time I left, I had become inured to Christmas. I'm not cynical about or loathing of Christmas music (surprisingly - although I much prefer Easter) but I am completely, utterly, totally, absolutely immune to it.

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Misha
Don't assume I don't care; sometimes I just can't be bothered to put you right.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Holst's tune for In the bleak mid-winter is always dreadful: its not a good tune and the words don't fit

Hear, hear. Rossetti balanced out the sentimentality of the words with the astringency of the metre, like a dry gin. Holst's tune just accentuates the sentimentality, like pouring in half a litre of tonic and then adding sugar syrup to finish it off.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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My favorite is "I wonder as I wander", sung a capella by a child soprano. I hate it sung by a trained adult voice.

The words are totally unsophisticated, and a trained voice ruins the effect.

I have not linked to a tune because all versions I can find are sung by trained adults.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

Posts: 20128 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
My favorite is "I wonder as I wander" << snip >> I have not linked to a tune because all versions I can find are sung by trained adults.

Here is John Jacob Niles himself singing it.

The story of how Niles discovered the song is fascinating. If you expand the description under the clip you'll see the story.

[ 10. December 2016, 22:14: Message edited by: Amanda B. Reckondwythe ]

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"We're not in Wonderland anymore, Alice." – Charles Manson

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Egeria
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# 4517

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Mousethief said:

quote:
Just once, just one day a year for God's sake, let us celebrate his humanity, his like-us-ness, the fact that he has taken on OUR nature. God has a shitty diaper. Thanks be to God.

There is a Latin American Christmas carol about this very thing--the lyrics have to do with Mary hanging out the diapers! Sorry I cannot provide more information. Where did I hear this? Might have been at our University's annual holiday concert, a few years ago.

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"Sound bodies lined / with a sound mind / do here pursue with might / grace, honor, praise, delight."--Rabelais

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Egeria:
Mousethief said:

quote:
Just once, just one day a year for God's sake, let us celebrate his humanity, his like-us-ness, the fact that he has taken on OUR nature. God has a shitty diaper. Thanks be to God.

There is a Latin American Christmas carol about this very thing--the lyrics have to do with Mary hanging out the diapers! Sorry I cannot provide more information. Where did I hear this? Might have been at our University's annual holiday concert, a few years ago.
I would love to hear this!

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Ariston
Insane Unicorn
# 10894

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Back when I worked retail, we had a few Very Simple Staff Rules about Christmas music:
—Play Vince Guaraldi Trio's Charlie Brown Christmas album
—Realize that, since most people only know the Vince Guaraldi Trio from Charlie Brown Christmas, you can get away with playing everything by the VGT and people will think it's Christmas music.
—Realize further that, between that an a lot of Christmas standards coming out of the '40's, you can get away with playing even non-VGT combo jazz (Django, Ella, even Piaf) and people will think it's Christmas music.
Not playing Christmas music at all during Christmas was a good system.

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“Therefore, let it be explained that nowhere are the proprieties quite so strictly enforced as in men’s colleges that invite young women guests, especially over-night visitors in the fraternity houses.” Emily Post, 1937.

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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So true, Ariston. A couple years ago I commandeered the house sound system while everyone else was distracted and did pretty much what you described-- drew a line from Guaraldi to Brubeck/ Django/ Krupa.

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"Take your broken heart, make it into art"-- Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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There is loads of rubbish Christmas music for the same reason there is loads or Rubbish Christian music: The class protects it from critical review.
Jesus makes me Happy or Jesus and Santa make me Happy are all that is required.

That said, MtM has a point. Much of the complaint is more whinging about preference than registering a real complaint.

quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
My favorite is "I wonder as I wander", sung a capella by a child soprano. I hate it sung by a trained adult voice.

The words are totally unsophisticated, and a trained voice ruins the effect.

I have not linked to a tune because all versions I can find are sung by trained adults.

Moo

Children, not a child, and not a capella, but a simple arraignment.
I think this one borders what you want and what you do not like, but I do see how adults singing this would not be quite right.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Stercus Tauri
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# 16668

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

Children, not a child, and not a capella, but a simple arraignment.
I think this one borders what you want and what you do not like, but I do see how adults singing this would not be quite right. [/QB][/QUOTE]

You are sure you mean arraignment? Though I would agree that a lot of perpetrators of Christmas music deserve to be dealt with very sternly.

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Thay haif said. Quhat say thay, Lat thame say (George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal)

Posts: 857 | From: On the traditional lands of the Six Nations. | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
St. Gwladys
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# 14504

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If you want something to make you feel Christmassy/cheer you up/give you hope that Christmas music can be valid and fun, listen to any f The Carnival Band's "Carols and Capers" albums with Maddy Prior .
Brilliant!

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Most carols that involve hard cider are alright by me. [Two face]

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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I'm sure Donald Trump's favourite is "I'm dreaming of a White christmas"

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10833 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Stercus Tauri
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# 16668

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Now, there's a blast from the past. We used to call it the Enoch Powell song.

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Thay haif said. Quhat say thay, Lat thame say (George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal)

Posts: 857 | From: On the traditional lands of the Six Nations. | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged



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