Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"
Beast Coast Wednesday
Hey Hey Family it’s BEAST COAST WEDNESDAY and we are going to break into Christmas Music since the season has arrived. I know I start my Christmas music either right on Thanksgiving or on Black Friday it really depends. This year we started it Thanksgiving evening when we lite our tree. So since it’s December 2nd and I know you didn’t listen to every Christmas song yet I want to tell you about the history of Christmas music and the variations in types of music.
Let’s get to it:
It’s not 100% clear when the first official holiday carol appeared but it appears to have been written around 1350 and 1550. During this period of time English combined circle dances with lyrics and referred to them as carols. Later on, the carol came to be associated with religious celebrations. Christmas carols remained popular until the Commonwealth of England government came under the control of Cromwell and the puritans. They banned the practice of singing Christmas Carols and believed they were Pagan and singful. Charles II rose to power in 1660 and allowed the English to sing Christmas carols once again. Christmas carols as part of religious celebrations were once again permitted beginning on Christmas Eve 1880. This period has been referred to as “the golden age of English carols that followed the verse-refrain pattern.”
Another telling is that when Prince Albert married the English Queen Victoria in 1840, he brought with him German customs which included the celebration of Yule or Yuletide and a winter festival. Christmas now included a mix of German and English traditions such as evergreen trees, greenery, exchanging gifts, caroling, and Christmas cards.
Christmas classics arose due to a need for a special kind of music as the importance of the Christmas celebration grew. Soon compositions arose from great musicians and here are some of the first known songs:
George Frideric Handel: Messiah in 1741
Johann Sebastian’s Bach’s Christmas Oratorio
Lenfance du Christ ( The Childhood of Christ) an oratorio by French 19th century composer Hector Berlioz.
Franz Schubert’s Ellen’s dritter Gesang (Ave Maria)
Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concerto grosso in G minor op6. No.8.
From 1838-1868 a new surge of Christmas tunes arose that we all know today. Here’s the list by year:
· Silent Night (1816-1863)
· Joy to the World (1839)
· Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (1840)
· O Holy Night (1847-1855)
· Jingle Bells (1850-1859)
· Up on the Housetop (circa 1860)
· Away in a Manger (1885-1887)
· Jolly Old St. Nicholas (late 1800s)
In the mid to late 1800s Christmas hymns were also translated into English such as Adeste Fideles in 1841.
Some fun and interesting facts
Jingle Bells was written by an American composer but was intended as a Thanksgiving song.
O Holy Night is one of the most well-known French Christmas songs and is, to this day, one of the most popular and beloved songs sung solo during the holiday season.
Silent Night was written by Father Joseph Mohr and titled Stille Nacht and 2 years later set to music by Franz Xaver Gruber and translated to English.
Genres of Christmas Music
Christmas music is unique for the simple fact that you can switch the radio to any station (adult contemporary, country, oldies, etc) and by December they’d most likely all have Christmas music in some form or fashion. However, it all began to diversify when the traditional 19th century sound of carols was dominated by a new “pop” sound in the 1930s. Since then, most songs have seen numerous renditions by various artist and with each cover in every stye it allows it to cross over into any market. In the 50s it was Elvis Presley in Elvis Christmas Album with Blue Christmas. In the 1960s it was the Beach Boys Christmas Album with Little Saint Nick. In the 1980s it was Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers in A Christmas to Remember with Once Upon a Christmas. Motown joined the Christmas scene originally in 1968 with Merry Christmas from Motown and then A Motown Christmas in 1973 which featured various artist from The Jackson 5, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross. Songs we know from this album and still play are Ava Maria from Stevie Wonder and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus from Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Another big one from the 60s is A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Other various artist originals from different genres include: Bing Cosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Nat King Cole.
New Wave of Christmas Music
I know everyone still bumps Mariah Carey every year because she set the record for #1 selling Christmas album of all time and has dominated the charts since her debut in 1994. Another artist that has had the highest selling Christmas album is Justine Bieber with Under the Mistletoe. Pentatonix, an American acapella group, has been huge in the music scene since 2014 with their album That’s Christmas to Me and A Pentatonix Christmas in 2016. I know the kids know this one: Do You Want to Build a Snowman by Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn & Katie Lopez has been the second best selling single since it’s conception from Frozen in 2013. I’m pretty sure those of you with kids under 12 play this every year. Ariana Grande’s Christmas Album has been the latest to rise to fame. Christmas & Chill and Christmas Kisses have been featured in stores and all over the radio since 2015. Trust me there’s many more but I will be covering Christmas in our community on Friday so I’ll save the new albums this year for It’s A Vibe Friday.
It’s just the beginning of the holiday season and you now have some more songs to add to your list to BEAST through the holiday. Check out these albums and songs and give me some feedback on what your family listens to during the holidays. I’ll leave a list of the music below again for review and samples of some of the first known Christmas Carols. Per usual check out our book recommendations, coffee recommendations, and black businesses to support.
Your family at Eclectuals
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The Grand Master List
Blue Christmas- Elvis Presley
Little Saint Nick- The Beach Boys
Once Upon a Christmas- Dolly & Kenny
Ava Maria- Stevie Wonder
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus- The Jackson 5
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Merry Christmas, I Wish You a Merry Christmas- Bing Crosby
A Jolly Christmas, Christmas- Frank Sinatra
Christmas Time All Over the World- Sammy Davis Jr.
The Magic of Christmas, Christmas with Nat King Cole- Nat King Cole
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