Five Tastes Of Classical Holiday Cheer

Organist Cameron Carpenter: not your typical holiday celebrant. i i

hide captionOrganist Cameron Carpenter: not your typical holiday celebrant.

Michael Hart/courtesy of the artist
Organist Cameron Carpenter: not your typical holiday celebrant.

Organist Cameron Carpenter: not your typical holiday celebrant.

Michael Hart/courtesy of the artist

With Hanukkah and Christmas fast bearing down upon us, we're drowning in musical eggnog. As a palate cleanser, we thought we'd burrow down into the depths of YouTube for some quick nips of classical cheer.

Have you found other great holiday music clips online? Share them with us in the comments section.

Five Jewels Of Yuletide YouTubery

Cover for Cameron Live!

Cameron Carpenter: 'Sleigh Ride'

  • Artist: Cameron Carpenter
  • Album: Cameron Live!
  • Song:

The head-turning American organist has offered up a singular, delightfully loony take on Leroy Anderson's classic 'Sleigh Ride.' In the holiday spirit, all proceeds from download purchases of this version are going to Carpenter's alma mater, The American Boychoir School in Princeton, NJ. (And check out the custom shoes!)

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  • "Cameron Live!"
  • Album: Cameron Live!
  • Artist: Cameron Carpenter
  • Label: Telarc Distribution
  • Released: 2010
Cameron Carpenter/YouTube

Cameron Carpenter's organ arrangement of 'Sleigh Ride.'

 
Cover for Unsilent Night

Phil Kline: 'Unsilent Night'

  • Artist: Phil Kline
  • Album: Unsilent Night
  • Song:

As he describes in this video, New York-based composer Phil Kline first invited a group of friends to help create a Yuletide "mobile sound sculpture" in 1992. Since then, every December, participants obtain one of four tracks created by Kline, then walk along a designated street course with boomboxes playing the different parts simultaneously in what Kline likens to a modern caroling session. "Unsilent Nights" are taking place in cities and towns across North America this month — Bill Murray turned up at the one in Manhattan.

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  • "Unsilent Night"
  • Album: Unsilent Night
  • Artist: Phil Kline
  • Label: Egrem
Arts And Ideas/YouTube

Composer Phil Kline's 'Unsilent Night.'

 
Cover for George Frideric Handel: Messiah

'Messiah' At The Mall

  • Artist: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Album: George Frideric Handel: Messiah
  • Song:

Last winter, a photography business in Ontario, Canada, near Niagara Falls, wanted to spread some holiday cheer — so they enlisted a local community choir for a flash-mob performance of the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. The performance was a huge viral hit, viewed more than 35 million times on YouTube.

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  • "George Frideric Handel: Messiah"
  • Album: George Frideric Handel: Messiah
  • Artist: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Label: Philips
  • Released: 2010
Alphabet Photography/YouTube

A memorable day at a mall food court.

 
Cover for Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker

Berlin Philharmonic: Tchaikovsky, 'The Nutcracker'

  • Artist: Simon Rattle
  • Album: Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
  • Song:

You'll have to forgive us the obvious pun, but in 2010, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic released a really marvelous — cracking, even — recording of Tchaikovsky's beloved holiday ballet. Here are some excerpts plus insider insights, such as this one from Rattle: "For any normal [non-ballet] symphony orchestra, it is a nightmare to play."

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  • "Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker"
  • Album: Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
  • Artist: Simon Rattle
  • Label: EMI Classics
EMI Classics/YouTube
 
Cover for Echo: Glory of Gabrieli

Canadian Brass: Scheidt, 'Echo ad manuale duplex'

  • Artist: Canadian Brass
  • Album: Echo: Glory of Gabrieli
  • Song:

This is not strictly Christmas music per se — but there are few things that say "holiday" more than a brass spectacular. Here the phenomenal Canadian Brass and a few friends play music by the German early Baroque composer Samuel Scheidt.

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  • "Echo: Glory of Gabrieli"
  • Album: Echo: Glory of Gabrieli
  • Artist: Canadian Brass
  • Label: Opening Day
Canadian Brass/YouTube

The Canadian Brass and friends.

 

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