When it comes to the holidays I think there are two types of people in the world, those who are planning and buying gifts even before the leaves start falling and those who don't want to even THINK about Christmas until after Thanksgiving.
But whatever category you find yourself in, here are some of our seasonal items that are sure to get you into the Holiday Spirit!
GQ112 Midnight Clear~Oliver Wendell Holmes once declared this hymn by Edmund Hamilton Sears to be "One of the finest and most beautiful ever written." Sears, a retiring young Unitarian minister in Massachusetts, was dismayed by such public praise, saying he preferred to lead a quiet life in some half-forgotten parish. Fame dogged him, however, as well it might, this song was one of his early efforts. The poem was first published in 1849 in a church magazine and was adapted the following year to a tune composed by Richard Storrs Willis. Willis, by that time an eminent editor and critic for the New York Tribune, had studied music in Europe as a young man, with, among others, Felix Mendelssohn, who so much admired Willis's work that he rearranged some of it for orchestra. *
GQ112~ Midnight Clear
GQ 111~ Hark! Felix Mendelssohn composed the energetic tune to which we now sing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in 1840 as part of a cantata commemorating printer Johann Gutenberg. Fifteen years later an English musician, W.H. Cummings, applied Mendelssohn's musical phrases to a hymn written in 1739 by Charles Wesley. ("Hark, how all the welkin [heaven] rings was how Wesley write the line; fortunately, a colleague substituted the opening line we know and sing today). The devout Wesley, the Poet Laureate of Methodism, composed about 6,500 hymns in the course of his life. He and his equally devout brother John, who founded Methodism in England, might have been dismayed by the sprightly character of the music, but their text would have pleased Mendelssohn, who always felt that his tune deserved a "merry subject." *
GQ 109~ Snowglobe Blend the lyrics of Sammy Cahn with the music of Jule Styne and you're bound to get a ballad that will make history. In the one year of 1944, this pair turned out "I Fall in Love Too Easily," :I'll Walk Away Alone" and "Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)." Then, the next year had barely started when they produced the winter-time classic "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" which was turned into an immediate hit recording by Vaughn Monroe. "Let it Snow!" offers a choice between the bitter weather outside and a crackling warm fire inside. Any difficulty in making your choice? *
GQ109~ Let it Snowglobe
*This information comes from the Merry Christmas Songbook by Reader's Digest, 2007.