Day 25

Offertoire sur Deux Noëls by Alexandre Guilmant

This was one of my favorites pieces to play as a prelude for the fourth Sunday of Advent or Christmas Eve when I had a weekly church job.

The piece is interesting for me because it’s not obvious where it’s going. The very long introduction combines elements of both carols without committing to either one.

I wrote a blog post that talks about this and some other Guilmant pieces I love to play.


Day 24

Mary’s Lullaby by John Rutter

This is the fifth and final arrangement that I’ve included from John Rutter’s Christmas Album.

If you’ve enjoyed the arrangements I’ve selected, you’ll find the books on my blog post Find the Best Christmas Sheet Music.


Day 19

Sing We Now of Christmas arr. Mark Hayes

This is from a collection of Christmas arrangements called Well-Tempered Christmas in an obvious nod toward Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.

This old French tune, with no identified composer, has a sharp focus with its 2/4 meter and minor key. This arrangement exploits that odd combination.


Day 18

Coventry Carol arr. Joseph M. Martin

Today’s English Carol comes from Martin’s collection of Christmas arrangements called Tapestry.

It tells the story of Matthew 2, where Mary and Joseph were warned of Herod’s edict to slaughter all male infants. They headed to Egypt instead of back home.


Day 17

Candlelight Carol by John Rutter

Today’s Carol by John Rutter is more meditative than last Sunday’s bubbly Angels’ Carol.

The SATB original alternates a lightly textured verse with a more dense chorus and never ceases to warm my heart when I hear it. I hope I captured some of that in this recording.


Day 10

Angels’ Carol by John Rutter

It’s Sunday, so that means there’s another sacred carol, thanks to the Rutter Christmas Album.

I tried to replicate the leggiero texture of the singing with facile fingers. If you haven’t heard it sung by Rutter’s own choir, the Cambridge Singers, treat yourself here!


Day 3

Nativity Carol by John Rutter

Each Sunday morning I’m going to include something sacred, not secular, and it will be from the Rutter Christmas Album.

This carol is outside of my top four, but I needed a fifth song since I already shared What Sweeter Music on December 1st.


Day 1

What Sweeter Music by John Rutter

I always loved conducting and accompanying the Christmas Carols of John Rutter when I was an active church musician. Playing this arrangement by the composer is the next best thing.

The lyrics derive from 17th-century priest-poet Robert Herrick, and are worth a read on their own!