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This post is part of a series designed to help get great classical music in your kids’ ears. I like to think of music seasonally, just like food. Sure you can eat a watermelon in January, but will it be good? The sense of waiting and rotating is part of what makes seasonal produce delicious. Music can be the same, which is why I encourage using these monthly playlists. A little infusion of new music each month keeps things fresh and lively. You enjoy it for a time, and then you enjoy moving on. You can find the December list on Spotify HERE or use the Youtube links below.
Troika from Lieutenant Kije // Prokofiev
So this might not be the greatest way to start…but I have to tell you this piece actually has nothing to do with Christmas. It was originally written for a Russian movie soundtrack (technically, it was a Soviet Union movie soundtrack). But a troika is a traditional three-horse Russian sleigh, so what you will hear is very sleigh-bells-in-the-snow. It is joyful, bouncy, and — yes, Christmas-y! At least to my ears. (Make no judgments until you get through the first 30 seconds.) #sleighbellsforthewin
Fantasia on Greensleeves // Vaughan Williams
Greensleeves is the old English tune used for the carol What Child is This. British composer Ralph (rhymes with safe) Vaughan Williams loved local folk tunes, and he created an entire orchestral piece around this familiar melody.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing // Mendelssohn
You might be surprised to find out the tune for this common carol was written by a classical music composer. Although it originally had nothing to do with Christmas. Read more about the story HERE!
Hallelujah Chorus // Handel
This is the grandaddy of Christmas classical music. From Handel’s famous Messiah, it is most often performed around the holidays. But, technically, the Hallelujah Chorus is not from the Christmas portion of the famous oratorio. It is the finale of the Easter section. Tricky! All the details HERE.
Ode to Joy // Beethoven
This is another classical piece often associated with the holidays. Beethoven’s famous Ode to Joy is the tune for the hymn Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee. Beethoven completed this piece when he was entirely deaf. Amazing!
Overture from The Nutcracker// Tchaikovsky
March from The Nutcracker // Tchaikovsky
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker // Tchaikovsky
Ahh, now things are getting really Christmas-y. These tunes are inextricably associated with the holidays. They will be familiar to you already! (Lesson on March HERE.)
Sleigh Ride // Mozart
No, not that Sleigh Ride. This is Mozart’s Sleigh Ride, originally one of a collection of three German dances. It sounds majestic and full of holiday joy. #sleighbellsforthewin #again
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers // Jessel
This is the famous tune used in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes. German composer Leon Jessel would probably never have guessed his little melody would lead into an iconic moment that delights children (and adults) year after year. (Watch the performance here, and then watch this to see how they do it!). Lesson HERE.
Enjoy infusing your home with holiday-related classical music, and I will see you next week for our first lesson!
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