December 19, 2014 |
Just how many "Do You Hear What I Hears" do you want to hear? One more, at least. The Christmas music invasion has been going on for weeks, if not months, by now. The playlist below highlights reindeer season songs of note by both flashy pop stars and less exposed indie acts, with a mix of traditional and freshly minted holiday songs. Some of these songs date back hundreds of years, but all have been recorded and released in 2014, starting with the gospel-blues "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
December 8, 2014 |
Conductor David Charles Abell is far too urbane to be a musical Santa Claus at the Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular, now running at the Kimmel Center. But pops, classical, and theater music are all of a piece in the life of this 56-year-old conductor who grew up in Mount Airy, graduated from Germantown Friends School ('76), studied with Leonard Bernstein, and is based in London, where he conducts an array of concerts and West End shows. Q: Christmas concerts can be so many things to so many people.
November 9, 2014 |
Mary Kate Vinkler scored the winning goal. Emily Munchak scored the craziest goal. Mariah Carey had the assist. Vinkler headed in a shot with 33 seconds left in regulation Saturday afternoon to give Central Bucks West a 2-1 victory over Pennsbury in a PIAA Class AAA girls' soccer quarterfinal at Council Rock North. Moments later, the sideline CD player flipped on, and the Bucks began singing along with Carey's holiday classic, "All I Want for Christmas Is You. " "The seniors just love Christmas music, so we have to represent that," Munchak said.
October 28, 2014 |
First Christmas, now Halloween. People keep stealing Josephine's decorations. "It's a disgrace," said the 66-year-old South Philadelphia grandmother. "I'm chaining everything down this Christmas. " Twice in less than a year, Josephine's home on the 1100 block of Fitzgerald Street has been pillaged by holiday thieves. For that reason, she asked that her last name not be printed. "I'm already being targeted," she said. At Christmas, it was her Santas holding big lollipops.
December 14, 2012 |
'It's kind of like Laugh-In with the Polyphonic Spree as the soundtrack. " That's how Tim DeLaughter describes the Polyphonic Spree's Holiday Extravaganza, which comes to the Trocadero Friday night. But while Laugh-In of '60s TV possessed a skewed adult sensibility, the Polyphonic Spree aims for all ages, with animals, science demonstrations, cartoons, and other diversions. "It's a family environment, for ages 1 to 92," DeLaughter says from a truck stop in Nevada, where the band is en route to a gig in Chicago.
December 13, 2012 |
Sufjan Stevens is this year's undisputed Christmas music champion. The indie polymath is represented in the annotated playlist below with "Christmas in the Room," one of 58 seasonal songs on his five-CD box set, Silver & Gold , out on his Asthmatic Kitty label. The baroque-folk songwriter's hand is also evident on the following CD-length playlist with a song from Chopped and Scrooged , a hip-hop mixtape Stevens assembled. And the Christmas-obsessed auteur is also responsible for "Sister Winter," a song on Tracey Thorn's excellent holiday album Tinsel and Lights . Along with Michael Bublé's Christmas , which came out in 2011, there are three new Christmas albums currently in the Billboard Top Ten. Those - by Rod Stewart, Blake Shelton, and Lady Antebellum - are all represented on this year's list, which includes tunes either released or reissued in 2012.
November 27, 2012 |
Sufjan Stevens had a confession to make. "Ten years ago, when I started recording these Christmas EPs, I hated Christmas music," said the 37-year-old singer, whose five-EP, 58-song holiday music box set, Silver & Gold , came out last week. "It was like an exercise in loving your enemy. " The baroque-folk indie-electronic songwriter spoke his mind at Union Transfer on Friday, the opening night of his "Surfjohn Stevens Xmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice" tour.
May 3, 2012 |
Most Renaissance-era choral recordings are sold with ancient saints on the cover. Instead, New York Polyphony presents itself on its new disc, endBeginning, with a photo of a demolished church interior. The aftermath of an earthquake? One of New York Polyphony's concerts? This urban, four-voice, all-male group isn't out to wreck anything. But its concert Monday night at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood isn't likely to be ethereal by the usual early-music standards, either, even with a program of 16th-century Renaissance masters such as Antoine Brumel and Francisco Guerrero.
December 15, 2011 |
Humbug, I say, to those who don't like Christmas music. But no, I don't want to hear "Do You Hear What I Hear?" again, either. The 25-song playlist below avoids the same old retreads. Or it aims to find satisfying new spins on them, with songs that are not merely quirky and are often, though not always, merry. All of the noteworthy Christmas music this year can't be mentioned - there's too much of it. There are pop singles by Kelly Clarkson, Bon Jovi, and Grace Potter that didn't make the cut (Potter's B-side "Naughty Naughty Children (Better Start Acting Nice)"
December 11, 2011
Sunday Enemy of the state As Shelley had it, "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world," and when their subtle influence is noticed by those wielding more overt power, it can get dicey for the artist. In John Hodges' play Collaborators , set in the Soviet Union in 1938, the great satirist Mikhail Bulgakov, his works banned and his life threatened, is around only because Stalin likes him. When the dictator chooses Bulgakov to write a celebratory play about him, it begins a cat-and- mouse game that, though we know the ending, is at once comic and macabre.