Christmas music / Classical music / Gospel geek / Music education

Six handpicked classic carols with six gospel counterparts

By Melanie Henderson 

christmastrees

Aww, Christmas is nearly here. I hadn’t yet done anything on Christmas music, sorry. There’s all kinds of beautiful music to be shared. Don’t worry though, there’s more to come after this post (hooray!).

While for the most part everyone’s all pop and classic carols at this time of year, as with most music, I tend to tread on the gospel side of the street.

Something that always fascinates me is gospel music’s ability to make everything sound more exciting. That’s just my opinion though. I’d never try to say that the traditional hymn does not contain choral glory. It does. Of course.

So, just to motion your minds a little, I’ve selected a contrasting mix of six classicly sung carols along with a lovely gospel counterpart.

1) O Come All Ye Faithful  Kings College Choir (Cambridge, UK).

This beautiful rendition was filmed in Cambridge in 2008.  Stephen Cleobury arranged the music for the Kings College Choir and the boys choir.

Kirk Franklin & The Family (USA).

This is oldschool but well-loved in the world of gospel. Kirk Franklin & the Family released the full cd of Christmas songs in 1995.

2) Silent Night 

Winchester Cathedral Choir (England, UK).

We like the pretty church choirs. This is Silent Night in all its glory. This version was filmed in 2010 and arranged by Andrew Lumsden.

Solid Gospel (Munich, Germany).

There wasn’t a great amount of cool gospel versions available on Youtube, but this has been a favourite of mine for a long time. This version was recorded live at the Gasteig Black Box in 2010 and includes a little bit of German. Beautiful.

3) Oh Holy Night

Kings College Choir (Cambridge, UK).

Readers will soon understand my obsession with Cambridge and secondly my love for all-male choirs. Ridiculously irrelevant information, but there you have it. This version was filmed in 2009 and was arranged by the glorious  John Rutter.

Mahalia Jackson (USA).

Bow down Beyonce. Mahalia’s vibrato is one of a kind. This is just gorgeous. So much so that there’s going to have to be a future post entirely dedicated to Oh Holy Night. Wow.

4) O Little Town of Bethlehem Kings College Choir (Cambridge, UK).

Cambridge wins, again. 🙂

The Clark Sisters (USA). 

Gospel wouldn’t be the same without the wonderful Clark Sisters. This version is taken from their 1978 album: “New Dimensions of Christmas Carols.”

5) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Kings College Choir (Cambridge, UK).

Clearly, at this stage, it’s clear to see that Cambridge sets the example wins every time when it comes to classical music. Enjoy.

Darryl Cherry (USA). 

There is no reason why Christmas carols cannot be upbeat.

6) We Three Kings

Nothing like a little frankincense and myrrh to whir your Christmas senses. Cambridge wins again.

Kings College Choir (Cambridge, UK). 

Juliyaa (London, UK).

And to close this post, a little Juliyaa. Romantic, free and very, very pretty.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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