New Christmas Music for 2009
By Bethany Porter and Laura Young
Average User Rating:
All featuring beautiful and relaxing Christmas music full of grand orchestration and elegant vocals, these albums will transport you to another world. Put on one of these CDs to help you momentarily escape the stresses of your holiday schedule.
A Midwinter Night's Dream
This latest offering from Canadian musician Loreena McKennitt is an extended version of her 1995 EP, A Winter Garden, which boasts seven new arrangements of traditional songs and poems.
What does it sound like? McKennitt is known for her ethereal vocals and unique interpretations of traditional and classical works. The style has a myriad of different musical influences, from Celtic to folk to Arabic music, which lends to its exoticism and fanciful nature.
Perfect for playing while trying to calm your nerves on the way to your parent's house.
Standout tracks: "Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle," "Noel Nouvelet!"
A Winter Symphony
The world-famous songbird puts together a mix of Christmas standards, alongside winter-themed tunes.
What does it sound like? Brightman's expansive soprano vocal range is allowed to truly shine in the more classical songs on the album such as "Ave Maria" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." However, her sweet, child-like voice sometimes works against her, particularly during pop ballads such as her cover of Vince Gill's "Colder Than Winter." But all in all, Brightman's soaring vocals, the sumptuous orchestration, and high production value helps this album to magnificently encapsulate the magical wonderment of the Christmas season.
Perfect for playing on the car ride back home after visiting the in-laws.
Standout tracks: "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday," "Amazing Grace"
And Winter Came…
The queen of New Age music is back with a new album full of Christmas and winter songs. Most of the tracks on the album are original works composed by Enya and lyrics by her long-time writing partner, Roma Ryan.
What does it sound like? Enya 's signature sound--which is created by layering multiple recordings of her vocals on top of one another--is on full display on this calming holiday record. The result is breathtakingly pretty and feminine--with sweeping, gentle harmonies that will delight listeners.
Perfect for playing after the kids have gone to bed.
Standout tracks: "White Is In the Winter Night," "One Toy Soldier," "My! My! Time Flies!"
Celtic Woman (featuring the High Kings)
A Celtic Family Christmas
Formed in 2004 by Composer and Musical Director David Downes and Executive Producer Dave Kavanagh, the Celtic Woman is a musical ensemble comprised of five Irish female musicians: four singers and one fiddler. On their latest EP, the troupe sings four previously unreleased recordings, and includes two songs by their tour mates, the High Kings.
What does it sound like? As their name implies, the Celtic Woman performance style borrows heavily from traditional Celtic music. Expect lithe vocals and lots of delightful harmonies.
Perfect for playing while lovingly decorating Christmas cookies.
Standout tracks: "Carol of the Bells, "In the Bleak Midwinter"
Read on to discover the latest holiday offerings from the worlds of Classical and Instrumental music.