Past “Jingle Bells”: Three Ideas for Palate-Cleansing Christmas Music 1

I LOVE Christmas music! I sing it in the choir at church, I listen to it around the house, and from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas you can always find me humming along to a beloved holiday tune. However, this Christmas season I set out to find a few good “palate-cleansing” songs – things a bit off the beaten path that I can turn to when “Dominic the Donkey” just isn’t cutting it and the Christmas music on the radio feels too sugary-sweet.

So if you’re looking for Christmas Music palate-cleanser, try these three:

1) The Piano Guys: Originally a YouTube sensation, The Piano Guys (despite the name) only has one pianist in it, but I enjoy their introspective arrangements of some of my Christmas favorites. There is always a cinematic element to their music (as you might expect from a group that released YouTube videos before releasing albums), but even without the visual their music is stunning. This one made its way around social media last Christmas, and I think it captures the awe and wonder of the season perfectly!

2) Chanticleer I just discovered Chanticleer’s Christmas music, and I think I’m in love. An all-male vocal ensemble, Chanticleer has some absolutely stunning arrangements of sacred music. It’s hard for me to pick just one song to share, but I’ll go with their arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter” where some of the key changes gave me chills. Chills, I tell you!

If you enjoy that one, check out “Gabriel’s Message” (also known as the Sussex Carol) and “Ave Maria”. Gorgeous.

3) John Adams, El Nino This one definitely qualifies for “off the beaten path”! Written by American 20th century composer John Adams, El Nino is like a modern-day Handel’s Messiah, but with libretto pulled from a variety of texts including one of Martin Luther’s Christmas sermons and several South American poets. Like the full Messiah, this is a lengthy musical work at almost 2 hours in length, but well worth a listen if you have a chance. The below video plays one of my favorite movements, called “The Christmas Star”:

What’s your favorite Christmas music palate-cleanser? Let me know in the comments! Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas season and a Happy New Year!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.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

One thought on “Past “Jingle Bells”: Three Ideas for Palate-Cleansing Christmas Music

  • Edie scheffel

    Although not strictly a Christmas album I love listening to ‘Native Angels’, an album by San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE), a small ensemble of 8 voices w prrcussion. It is a compilation of worship music from Mexico/Central America written by priests, natives, settlers , slaves etc in the earliest days of colonization. Beautiful sounds.