Although I live in one of the prettiest spots in the world (hey - National Geographic said so so it must be true!) there is one drawback: sparsely populated places mean no malls. And no malls mean no holiday music. And no holiday music means no new holiday albums, so every year, we dust off the same ones again and again and play them non-stop for one day, and then file them away again.
This year, it's time for a change.
In the 'spirit' of the hunt, I've been browsing around for some interesting takes on the old classics.
First stop was Home Theater Hi Fi, where Music Reviewer Jason Victor Serinus has a list of Classical Holiday CD Reviews for the Audiophile that provided lots of great reading. In particular, he recommends A String Quartet Christmas, a three CD compilation that had gone out of print but is back on shelves now. The addition of a harp to a string quartet has me intrigued!
Next up, a visit to JC's favorite, AIX Records. Sure enough, they have a high-definition holiday album called "Surrounded By Christmas, on DVD-Audio. Listening to a sample of "Oh Tannenbaum" imagined as a jazz standard certainly put me in mind of holiday cocktails by the fire, and the almost-country-twang rendition of Jingle Bells was refreshing.
Being part Irish (the impish part, naturally!) I am always drawn to Celtic recordings, and in addition to the ones already getting annual play, I ran across The Chieftans' The Bells of Dublin on iTunes the other day. Maybe not audiophile quality recording, but their tracks The Skyline Jig and Past Three O'Clock almost danced right out of my Audiobytes and have the added advantage of not being on every other holiday album we own.
Those are a few of the holiday albums I'm looking at this season. How about you? Any recommendations? And do you take advantage of the extra time around the holidays to listen on vinyl, or are you in the car so much going from dinner to dinner that it's MP3 or bust?