Christmas Eve poems

Alan Mandell reads Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas.” Mandell is a Canadian-born theater actor. The poem was published in 1823, but Moore didn’t acknowledge his authorship until he published a book of poems in 1844. There’s apparently an ongoing dispute among some literati and academics as to whether he was the actual author. He …

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There were bells

Mannheim Steamroller first appeared on the holiday music scene in 1984, although founder Chip Davis had been making records beginning in 1975. They’ve produced several albums of Christmas music. This is “Carol of the Bells,” from their 2004 compilation album “Christmas Celebration.”

The ancient choir

King’s College (Cambridge) has a glorious choir, comprised of 16 boys aged 7-13 and 10 adults. It was founded in — get ready — 1441 by King Henry VI of England. It’s famous for its “Nine Lessons and Carols,” performed and broadcast throughout the world on Christmas Eve via the BBC. The Lessons have been …

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Shortest night of the year

To celebrate the Winter Solstice, let’s hear a spectacular piano version of Vivaldi’s “Winter,” from his “Four Seasons” concertos. Vivaldi wrote them circa 1717 and published sonnets to accompany them in order to explain what he was trying to say about each season. This was one of the first and certainly the most detailed of …

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Stille Nacht

From a 1994 TV special entitled Aaron Neville’s Christmas in New Orleans, here’s “Silent Night”. Neville and Linda Ronstadt performed several glorious duets on her 1989 album “Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind”, and they reunited here on this show from his hometown. From Wikipedia: The song was first performed on Christmas Eve …

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Talking Snowmen?

Back in 1987 The Eurythmics sang a version of “Winter Wonderland” which was played so frequently in the five years ending in 2007 that ASCAP claimed it topped all holiday songs for that period written by one of its members. The song was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and lyricist Richard Bernhard Smith and …

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Local girl sings Christmas

Here’s a find: what Rolling Stone considers 40 Essential Holiday Albums. The author is obviously wrong. He did not include Bette Midler’s 2011 album “Cool Yule”. Here’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” yet another Irving Berlin composition. It was written in 1937 for the musical “On the Avenue,” starring Dick Powell and …

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