Tinsel Tunes: A Classical Holiday Playlist : Deceptive Cadence Hear a slightly off-kilter collection of beloved carols, Hanukkah favorites and works by Prokofiev, Mahler and Thomas Adès.
NPR logo Tinsel Tunes: A Classical Holiday Playlist

Tinsel Tunes: A Classical Holiday Playlist

Time for a holiday and winter-themed playlist. Phil Walter/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Phil Walter/Getty Images

The shopping's almost done. Menus are planned. The relatives are relatively under control.

Just one thing's missing from your holiday checklist — music.

Instead of fumbling through dusty CDs, LPs and cassettes, how about a click-of-the-mouse playlist of classical, and classy, holiday music?

There should be something here for just about everyone: plenty of Christmas carols, a few Hanukkah favorites and some off the beaten slope items.

Did you know that Arnold Schoenberg, the feared fomentor of honk and squeak serialism, wrote a piece for Christmas? Check out his sweet music for strings, piano and harmonium.

For your snowy Currier & Ives scenes, Tchaikovsky is your man. His First Symphony, called "Winter Dreams," and his piano postcard for the month of December, "Christmas," conjure up white hills and warm fireplaces.

Then there are a few atmospheric pieces that, while not specifically holiday-themed, just sound right for the season — from Andreas Scholl's beautiful account of "King Henry" and the opening of Mahler's Fourth Symphony, to Bach's beloved "Wachet auf" and Sibelius' Rakastava.

So spread a little extra cheer this holiday season, take time to reflect, and listen to a lot more music. Happy Holidays!