Holiday Music Playlist for Violin and Classical Music Lovers

December 24, 2019, 8:19 PM · Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and a beautiful day to all!

By this time of the season, most of us have been exposed to a high quantity of holiday music, whether we wanted to hear it or not. But how about high-quality? That is the aim of this list, to help us find and share the best holiday music, that appeals to our violin-loving community. Here I've assembled some videos of holiday music that I find to be worthwhile listening, including the album, in case you want to find more tracks for your own holiday playlist. I also welcome your additions to this list; please post in the comments below! And from us at Violinist.com -- wishing you a happy holiday!

Let It Snow. Joshua Bell created an album of holiday tunes in 2013 called Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell and Friends, and this track is light, jazzy and joyful. He performs it with guitarists Julian Lage and Rob Moose:

The Wexford Carol. This recording is more than 10 years old, how am I just discovering it? "The Wexford Carol", sung by Alison Krauss, with Natalie MacMaster on violin and Yo-Yo Ma on cello, is part of a 2008 of holiday music called Songs of Joy & Peace, in which Ma pairs up with all kinds of wonderful musicians: Dave Brubeck, Edgar Meyer, James Taylor and many more.

The Lark Ascending. Not necessarily a holiday song, but I find that this literally "uplifting" piece by Ralph Vaughan Williams fits well with this time of year -- and Janine Jansen plays it so well. This live performance from the BBC Proms 2003 is so soulful, it's worth the tolerating coughs from the audience!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Ray Chen plays this tune pretty straight, but if you want to hear some great old-world, rich chocolate-syrup violin sound, here it is, straight from his 1715 'Joachim' Stradivari. Chen has not yet made a holiday album - Hmmmmm....:

All I Want For Christmas. This looks so fun to play, how do we get the music? The Vitamin String Quartet recorded this in 2018 as part of their The VSQ Christmas Album.

We Three Gentlemen. I'm not going to leave out Lindsey Stirling at Christmas! Here is a clever medley from this artist who is a violinist-dancer-entertainer-filmmaker. The video is new this season, but the track is from her 2017 Christmas album, Warmer in the Winter.

Carol of the Bells. I heard this performance from the U.K.-based boys choir Libera on my local classical station (KUSC in LA); a different take and set of harmonies for "Carol of the Bells," and well-sung. It's from a their new album Christmas Carols with Libera.

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Replies

December 25, 2019 at 01:42 PM · Another rendition of "Let It Snow" by the Stringspace String Quartet featuring my teacher, Mirabai Peart on violin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnCZrvTLj80 This was recorded last week while she is on her summer vacation near Sydney.

December 26, 2019 at 01:53 AM · Nowadays the streaming services have curated holiday channels. Jazzradio.com has two. I played a piano trio gig for a posh holiday party last week with a guitarist and bassist. Great jamming on many tunes. Fum fum fum becomes a modal blues, etc.

December 26, 2019 at 04:48 AM · enjoy this post... ^^

December 28, 2019 at 04:40 PM · I'd recommend Christmas Carols for Violin and Guitar from Andrew Finn Magill. Pre 20th century choices, classic carols and lesser known ones as well. My favorite is Oiche Nollaig but they all are worth your listening https://andrewfinnmagill.bandcamp.com/album/christmas-carols-for-violin-guitar

Another I like is Wintersong, from Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem. Arbo plays fiddle and sings in this quartet. Some of my favorites on Wintersong include Ring Out Wild Bells, Julian of Norwich, and Singing in the Land https://www.raniarbo.com/cds/wintersong/

December 28, 2019 at 08:19 PM · Sheet music: "Christmas" from Tchaikovsky's "The Seasons" A couple of arrangements of this on IMSLP - I only know the Hartman, and have not played it with the piano. I first heard this delightful waltz on one of Jacque Lawson's Advent Calendars. It is fun to play, and vintage Tchaikovsky. Here's a link to the full score - the violin part is also available from the site: http://ks.petruccimusiclibrary.org/files/imglnks/usimg/2/29/IMSLP237407-SIBLEY1802.15685.d7ad-39087004882991score.pdf

December 28, 2019 at 11:27 PM · I would have much preferred the boys choir sans orchestra.

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