Happy Holidays Play List!

December 24, 2015, 1:08 PM · Happy holidays from us at Violinist.com!

The weather at last has a little nip in it here in Pasadena, Calif., where down the road they are assembling stadium seating along the street for the Rose Parade in a week. My eldest is home from her first semester in college, and my youngest just got his drivers' permit. How time flies!

One thing remains always: music. And this time of the year, music can be, in popular psychiatric terms, such a trigger! There's the ubiquitous holiday music in the mall, the cynical ploy to open one's wallet by tugging at one's heartstrings. For me this often has an opposite, Scrooge-like effect. Then there is "Silent Night," at a midnight service in a church that I don't even attend, that nonetheless brings me to tears. What a time of the year.

Julia Fischer

But I still love holiday music. And in that vein, I've assembled some videos β€” a few selections from violinists and other classical artists, some serious, some not. Please add your suggestions to this list, which is by no means complete! (And if you are looking for more, here is last year's list of videos.)

* * *

If you need a little more than winter weather to make you shiver, have a listen to Julia Fischer's "Winter" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons":

He makes it sounds so easy! Joshua Bell nonchalantly throws all kind of tricks - harmonics, lefthand pizzicato, bariolage, double stops, just really tricky playing -- into this Nutcracker medley with the a capella vocal group "Straight No Chaser" from the holiday album, Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell and Friends:

I know many of us are string players, but where would we be without our brass? I love the sound of a brass choir, especially during the holidays. Here are current members of the brass section of the New York Philharmonic, playing β€œIt’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Eddie Pola and George Wyle / Arr. Robert Elkjer:

The Salt Lake City-based The Piano Guys have put together a lot of clever mashups -- this is their classic from about four years ago, "Carol of the Bells" for 12 cellos -- but one cellist, Steven Sharp Nelson. They have a knack for creating fun video, as well:

In 1944, Jascha Heifetz recorded his own arrrangement of "White Christmas" and we've all been looking for the transcription ever since! This Christmas, Berklee arranger Nate Sabat created a violin-and-piano setting, inspired by the Heifetz arrangement of the Irving Berlin work. Last week was the first performance of the new arrangement, played by violinist Chloe Kiffer and pianist Stefan Petrov at the "(Daniel) Heifetz Holiday Homecoming" in Francis Auditorium on the campus of Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA.:

I came across this quartet version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -- a rather simple concert video from 2011, but what a lovely sound and vibrato these guys have, I had to listen to the end. This was a student group from The Royal Academy of Music that called themselves the Fisher Sinfonia:

Please feel free to add your own links (or embed the video) in the comment section below. And happy holidays!

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