Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas gift to you

Sometimes it's hard to declare absolute favorites. Favorite movie, favorite book, favorite food - I'd really have to give you several different answers within separate sub-genres.

Until a week or two ago, I would also have given you three or four different songs as my favorite Christmas song. But now I have a hands-down winner, my absolute favorite Christmas song, ever, with no distinction of category: O Holy Night, by a small, little-known group you might have heard of called The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

This particular rendition of O Holy Night was arranged by Mack Wilberg, my personal musical arrangement hero. Forget everything you ever thought about MoTab being bland and overly grandiose with an obtuse sound. With the direction they've had in recent years, their music is surprisingly subtle and nuanced.

I wish I could embed this video for you, but I can only give you the link. Please click on it and give it a few listens. It takes more than one to see the genius, but all the best songs need multiple exposures to be fully appreciated. The really good part starts at about 3:47. My second-favorite moment is at 5:08ish and my absolute favorite is at 5:28ish.

Here is the video. Buy it on iTunes if you like it enough so you can listen to a better-quality version.

Merry Christmas!


JackJen said...

When I heard that the Kings Singer were going to do the Christmas concert with the MoTab, it was all I could do not to spontaneously burst into flames with giddy excitement. (We went the year that Walter Cronkite performed with them....this is the first year I've discovered how dirty it feels to be disloyal to Walt)..... We watched the whole program last night, and I LOVED this song....and I thought their version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" was CHARMING.

This was a GORGEOUS arrangement. Mack Wilberg is a genius, no argument here. His arrangement of "Jesus One of Humble Birth" was stunning....and my personal favorite of his arrangement of "The Iron Rod" using the music from Holst's "Jupiter," (from "The Planets" Suite)....

JackJen said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand.....I can't type today. This is what I get when I rush through a comment on the dictionary editor's blog.


Bridget said...

I had never heard of the King's Singers before, but they were awesome. Such enunciation, such clarity of voice! So stirring.

I'm glad to find another Mack Wilberg junkie. The guy is amazing.

JackJen said... MUST see what iTunes has to offer of the King's Singers. They're AMAZING. You won't regret it.

And I'm surprised that the MoTab didn't steal Mack Wilberg away from BYU sooner than they did.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

One could say, "this isn't your mother's MoTab choir" because it is much more. Thanks to Mack Wilberg there is a quality of music coming from MTC not heard before that may not be matched anywhere. He crafts a tapestry in music: sturdy support fibers create a framework and into that is woven colorful threads of varying colors and materials, with subtle strands of lace and gold filament intertwined, and then a few glistening jewels are scattered throughout giving an occasional gleam, sparkle, and luster. You can't look away.

Aren't you glad I gave Dad this music for his birthday??

Susanne said...

Very lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Merry Christmas!

EmmySue said...

You know it is good when your Jewish friend calls you on Christmas Eve to tell you to turn on PBS to watch it...
Merry Christmas!

Kristen said...

My dad had us all watch this on the big screen TV today, and then here it is again on your blog! I like the MTC best when it is all male vocals, and then add these glorious King's Singers and it is pure magic. Can you believe those two male sopranos? Ah. The whole thing is stunning. This was my favorite Christmas song before, and this performance of Wilberg's arrangement just ups the ante. I'll be forwarding this post to my dad, because he told us to go to youTube and see all the great comments (I think my dad is kind of new to the whole youTube experience). Thanks for the lovely gift, B. Merry Christmas!

Bridget said...

The funny thing is, I had no idea it was going to be on PBS today. Good timing, I guess!


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