Now that’s what I call a Christmas pudding!

Readers who were raised in the grand old tradition of English christmas puddings, stuffed with fruit and nuts, infused with brandy and port, and with sixpences (yes, I remember sixpences!) in each slice, ready to break the teeth of the unwary, will be glad to know that there’s a very acceptable modern version available to US shoppers. I ordered two of them late last week, having forgotten to do so earlier in the month.  As a result, I had to order the only brand guaranteed by Amazon to arrive by Christmas eve.  That was serendipity, because they turned out to be the tastiest Christmas puddings

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Sunday morning music

In England in particular, but also elsewhere in the world on occasion, the tradition of a “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” at Christmas is well known.  I haven’t encountered it very often in the USA, but I thought my more traditionally minded readers might enjoy it:  so here’s Kings College, Cambridge, with their service from 1992.  It’s followed by a BBC documentary on the choir of Kings College.  The whole thing is about two hours long, so I suggest playing it as background theme music for the season while you’re busy with other tasks. Peter

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WHY???

Who thought this up in the first place, and why? I still don’t understand it . . . but I suppose it’s marginally better than the Christmas muzak that’s been bombarding us for weeks.  It would certainly liven up the dairy aisle at Walmart! Peter

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Sunday morning music

Today, let’s listen to some very old Christmas carols, dating back to medieval times and even earlier in some cases.  I’ve tried to select some recordings where they’re sung as they would have been in olden times.  The Taverner Consort comes in for heavy listening – they’re one of the best sources for medieval and Renaissance Christmas music. Let’s start with the classic Coventry Carol, which refers to the Massacre of the Innocents after Christ’s birth. Here’s a fun and unusual carol, from Spain:  Ríu Ríu Chíu.  It’s about the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus.  The Spanish lyrics and an English translation may be found here.

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Sunday morning music

With Christmas drawing nearer, I’d like to cut through the horrible holiday muzak that’s inflicted upon us at every turn, and bring you a few selections that are far more musical, meditative and in the true spirit of the season. To begin with, here’s one of my favorite carols, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel“, the origins of which are lost in the mists of time.  Elements date back to the first millennium and the great so-called “O Antiphons“. Our first sample is an instrumental recording by The Piano Guys from their 2013 album, “A Family Christmas“. Here’s a magnificent solo performance by

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