Sweet Trouble

Rants, raves, book reviews and one girl's thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, go get some Chinese food tonight (a fun little tradition of mine), perhaps visit your church and have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Early Christmas Presents: John Denver and the Muppets: "A Christmas Together"

An early Christmas present was delivered to me this evening by a particularly charming elf: John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. Perhaps not as well known a classic as the previously reviewed Charlie Brown album, the music on this CD whipped up memories of childhood for me.

I'm a Muppets fan, and I think the show and the ages at which I watched it had a big impact on my taste in music, my sense of humor and my love of puppetry as an art form. I was delighted when the first season of the show was released on DVD this August. However, there is something about hearing Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy and the gang singing classic Christmas carols that warms my soul. On top of that, as a performer, the very first puppet team I was on performed songs from this recording every year. I didn't know they were from this album until I popped it in tonight, but there's no forgetting Piggy's rendition of the "five golden rings" verse in Twelve Days of Christmas. Those were very happy times for me; learning an art form I had admired and enjoyed from childhood on. At the time, my eighth grade self actually argued that we shouldn't do that song because it was obviously Kermit and Piggy and lots of others whose voices were recognizable and didn't match the generic puppets that we owned. Now, I simply smile and cherish those memories.

The production quality on this CD may not match the remastered piano music I raved about in my last post, but the emotional wallop it packs for me is priceless.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas Music: A Charlie Brown Christmas album

Christmas means a lot of different things to a lot of people. I enjoy many aspects of the season including the religious celebrations that are the basis for the holiday. However, today I'm just going to focus on some of the music I've been listening to.

Christmas music is a big part of the season for me. I've sung in choirs since preschool, and been involved in seasonal productions both big (Disney) and little (small town elementary school.) I frequently find myself humming Christmas tunes in the middle of the summer, much to the amusement of my spouse. Anything goes when it comes to Christmas music, too! I'll happily listen to orchestral arrangements, Brat pack recordings, Big Band styles swing arrangements, Christian pop recordings...even the over the top silly South Park album! Well, that last one I'll listen to only if my son's not in the house...

This year I have a new favorite. The compact disc of A Charlie Brown Christmas has been playing in our car's CD player since Friday night. It was an impulse buy at Starbucks (now I know why they are suddenly leading point of purchase CD sales!) but we do try to buy at least one new Christmas album a year so I don't feel bad about buying it. It's a fabulous little album containing all of the songs that one associates with the Peanuts gang, plus some lovely piano music I don't. The recording has a mellow yet festive feeling. Mostly instrumental, the few numbers with voices are still low key and not intrusive to the over all feeling of relaxation this album provides.

I'm glad that the Charlie Brown Christmas special has become a tradition in America. It's a lovely special that takes me back to my childhood, and tells a wonderful tale that I look forward to sharing with my own son. Nostalgia allows it to remain on the air year after year, and for this I am grateful, since if it were produced in this day and age the Peanuts gang sure wouldn't be singing about Angels or reading scripture directly from the Bible. Let's hear a cheer for tradition if it keeps those little big headed kids gathered around their little tree year after year.