Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Christmas Songs...‘Tis the Season


I do love the Christmas music I grew up with which included German music that just seems to exude peace, love, beauty especially when the church bells ring. Often the bells ring before and after Silent Night is performed. I don’t like the many songs out there where the singers sound like screeching cats butchering iconic carols nor do I like the music that is called Christmas music because they throw in the word Christmas in it. I don’t mind Dean Martin, Perry Como etc... but I always go back to the great classically nuanced carols or music that has that vibe like the Harry Simeone chorale. I also just the Bonanza Christmas album that has a whole story with musical interludes all sung by Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and one song by Pernell Roberts. It’s not Christmas until that album is played.

One of my favourites is a Christmas album sung by Ivan Rebroff. He was a German singer with a freakish 8 Octave range who could sing from low  F to high F...2 octaves over C. He fancied himself more Russian than German even though he was German, but he may have had Russian lineage. He loved to dress up like a Cossack and was a true workaholic working 7 days a week for a 2 years...not just months...crazy nut. He was born in 1931 and, sadly, died in 2008 while only in his 70s. He could play the violin and piano/organ, became a citizen of Greece and lived on one of the islands and was known for his robust personality and 6' 5" build. I played one of his songs, last year, here...a favourite song of mine but I am going more traditional with the German music so here we go.


This famous carol was composed by Frank Gruber in 1818 after the Napoleonic wars, in Oberndorf, Austria with lyrics by Joseph Mohr who was a school master and organist. Due to flooding the organ was damaged so this is why it was first heard with the guitar.


This is a famous song, again, Austrian in origin composed near Salzburg. It actually is a German folk tune but Georg Gotsch created the lyrics back in 1865.


This comes from a Latin hymn called O Sanctissima, which you may have heard Bing sing in the film, “The Bells Of St. Mary's" with Ingrid Bergman. Johannes Daniel Falk set this to a German text after he lost 4 of his children to Typhoid fever. He founded a rescue house for abandoned children in Weimar area and dedicated this song to the children. 


Hope you listened and enjoyed.


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    When it comes to sounds of the season, dear friend, your taste matches mine. I do not like sexy secular holiday songs about love and romance. I prefer traditional carols that evoke higher love.

    I remember you mentioning that Bonanza Christmas album in recent years, and thank you for posting it this morning. My dad and I watched "Banana," as he called it, every week. We admired the brothers and their dad. My father would have loved listening to them all sing on that Christmas album. I'm surprised he didn't buy it.

    I also remember Ivan Rebroff from your post last year and thank you for sharing more of his Christmas classics this year. As I listen to his deep, rich, robust voice singing "Silent Night," I say to myself "Now that's Christmas!" Listening to 'Still Still Still" and "O Du Frohliche" gave me goosebumps. They are beautiful pieces that cut through the commercial clutter and get to the real meaning of the season.

    Have a wonderful day, dear friend BB. Please smooch Harley silly and give him a skunk-flavored treat from Shady. I'll be back here waiting for you tomorrow, sitting in the balcony-- "At The Movies!"

  2. Yes, even my friend from.BC who is a real Grinch says that he feels the Christmas spirit when he comes to my home. That was a great compliment because I leave the commercial crap outside. My dad bought the Banana album when I came out back in1963 and I still have that album. In fact many albums I have come from that Era and I'm glad I have it.
    I've is a real character but what a talent! He can truly sing the way one should not like Mariah Carey. She yells it and it's piercing in a bad way. Thanks for dropping by and I shall give a smooth to my Harley.

  3. Bonanza Christmas album... Oh my.

  4. I want to hear Bonanza Christmas when I have more time. I always played a John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album for my children. As they grew older, they screeched, DON'T PLAY THAT! When they were young adults, they wanted to hear it again. Music is an important part of Christmas for me. I love to sing the traditional carols.


  5. Thanks for that trip down memory lane, Birgit. I remember Ivan Rebroff very well! My best memories of Christmas are from living in Germany, spending the holidays with Oma and Opa. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season. Fröhliche Weihnachten! 🎄