One thing I make sure to do every year while putting this feature together on a daily basis is to find stuff I’ve never heard before. Christmas music is such a huge genre that it seems a pity to only stick to the favorites we’ve known forever, because at some point every one of our favorites was a song or piece we’d not heard before. Sometimes you remember the first hearing–I still remember when I first really heard Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne”, for instance–and sometimes you don’t, but there really was a time when we didn’t know “Jingle Bells”.
This piece by Edward Elgar is apparently one of his most obscure works, but the tide must be turning in that regard because I turned up a passel of recordings and performances of it! This one I like a great deal, as it couples a wonderful performance of a gentle, beautiful song with a short film that’s shot wonderfully. Elgar wrote “A Christmas Greeting” for a choir in Hereford, apparently setting words written by his wife. The piece has been rearranged quite a few times for other ensembles; this performance turns it into a lovely chamber work for violin, piano, soprano, and tenor. I’d never heard this before just this morning…and now, here it is!