Christmas CDs

I have searched the Amazon library for the best Christmas recordings, so you don't have to. Take a look at our selection of Classical Christmas Music and Popular Christmas Music, though you can also check out over 5,000 other Christmas related titles via the following Classical Christmas Music and/or Popular Christmas Music links. You can also select from Amazon's total portfolio of recorded music (More than a million titles currently in publication.) Alternatively, you can study the currently best selling popular music at Amazon Best Sellers.


Recommendations & Reviews

Classical Christmas Music

 

"Christmas Star"  John Rutter with the Cambridge Singers  

Once again, John Rutter works his choral magic with the Cambridge Singers and turns out another extraordinary collection of Christmas carols. All the popular ones are here, the only down side being that there are no carols composed by Rutter himself. There is one bonus, in effect, hearing the Rutter choral treatment applied to The Christmas Song by Mel Torme and Robert Wells. It's never sounded better. Reviewer: Daniel G Berk, Bloomfield, Michigan.


"The Holly and the Ivy" Clare College Choir with John Rutter  

Initially released in 1979, this album built on the success of the legendary "Carols for Choirs" volumes in establishing John Rutter's name with the wider public, and it gave a strong hint that he was more than just a talented composer-arranger. As the many subsequent releases on the Collegium label have also shown, Rutter is a deeply sensitive and musical conductor, alive to the color of words, always allowing phrases to breathe naturally. The accomplished Clare College Choir features male and female voices, the latter providing a more rounded alternative to those world-famous neighbors in Cambridge. Included are many of Rutter's own easy-listening carol arrangements ("King Jesus Hath a Garden" and "Wexford Carol," for example), plus others by the likes of Vaughan Williams and David Willcocks, while "Donkey Carol" and "Mary's Lullaby" are quintessential Rutter originals. Only a few numbers can be classed (statistically) as all-time Christmas faves--the likes of "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Ding Dong Merrily on High"--but this needn't deter anyone from snapping up what is the perfect album to accompany Christmas pud mixing (preferably by candlelight, imagining the twilight scene in Ely Cathedral's Lady Chapel, whose glorious acoustic graces the sound). 
Reviewer: Andrew Green

"Sing We Christmas"  Chanticleer  

I simply don't have the words to describe the sublimity of this CD. Breathtaking? Sublime? I'm not sure the right words have been invented for it. It was my first Chanticleer CD, recommended by a music club, and it certainly hasn't been my last, but it's still my favorite. I love it so much that I listen to it year-round--even in the heat of summer, when I put on this CD, it's Christmastime to me by the end of "Es ist ein Ros".

The voices are simply amazing. It sounds like angels singing. I think part of the haunting, resounding sound that sets this CD apart from other choral CDs (and even from other Chanticleer ones) is that it was recorded in a cathedral, so the acoustics are amazing . I don't know all that much about music theory, so I'm sure my words seem amateurish and maybe a little silly, but this is a truly glorious CD. Reviewer Amy Keene, Springfield MO.

 

"Bach: Christmas Oratorio" Stuttgart Bach Collegium  

Conducted by Helmuth Rilling and featuring soloists Arleen Auger, Julia Hamari, Peter Schreier and Wolfgang Shcone.





"Rutter: Music For Christmas"
 
Cambridge Singers  

The whole programme is a delight, a truly elevating experience. It is my idea of perfect Christmas music. How could it be otherwise with most of the musical arrangements by John Rutter, one of the great names of English choral music. Perfect! Give yourself a treat. Buy it immediately.



"Juhn Rutter Christmas Album" City of London Synphonium

More wonderful Christmas compositions and arrangements by John Rutter. You cannot find better cclassical Christmas music than this.


 

"Christmas at Trinity" - The Choir of Trinity Church  
Recorded at Trinity Church in Wall Street in the heart of New York and released about a month after the World Trade Center tragedy, this wonderful celebration of Christmas by this much praised choir contains many old favourites such as "The Holly and the Ivy", "Away in a Manger", "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Silent Night". Just the right music for those in pursuit of the true spirit of Christmas.

 


"A Choral Christmas" - The Trinity Choir   by the superb Trinity Choir. The sound is blended, clear, and nuanced with the dynamics and phrasing for which the choir is justly known. Those who have attended the Candlelight Carols services at Trinity over the last years will recognise some of the selections, as will anyone who has ever sung in a church choir at Christmas. The pieces range from the light and fun "I Saw Three Ships" to the traditional to the unexpected "God is With Us".
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" is a staple of any Christmas recording, especially for Trinity, since the author was once rector there. One delight on this recording is the morphing from the traditional tune to one that is less familiar. It makes the words fresh and alive. Nicely done!
Any recording with "Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day" and "What Sweeter Music" deserves a permanent spot on the CD player during the Christmas season. You will find gems here to brighten your holiday season. Reviewed by Anne Myers from Brookline, MA USA.


"The No.1 Christmas Album"   Various Choirs & Orchestras 
This is an amazing double album featuring some of the best orchestras, choirs and artistes in the world, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the choirs of Kings College and St. Paul's Cathedral, Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland and Kiri Te Kanawa. The selection of Christmas music is outstanding, including both ancient and modern carols as well as many old favourites and works by contemporary composers such as John Rutter and David Willcocks.



" Christmas With Chanticleer"   Chanticleer   
No matter what your musical tastes are, you will enjoy this outstanding recording of Christmas music that contains an impressive array of traditional and contemporary material.
This Grammy winning all-male choir sings songs with great beauty and clarity and their vocal versatility enables them to achieve subtle variations in color and musicality. This is a magnificent CD that I would recommend to anyone.



"A Very Classical Christmas" Sonos Handbell Ensemble  
After a long wait, The Sonos Handbell Ensembles new album is finally out, and it was worth waiting for. "A Very Classical Christmas" is all I have come to expect from Sonos, and then some. One again recorded in 24 bit HD digital @ Skywalker Sounds' Scoring stage, their incredible sound is captured for our holiday pleasure. Timothy Day's flute blends harmoniously and effortlessly with the bells. What more could you ask for, for your Handbell &/or Christmas collections than Tchaikovsky, Bach, Vivaldi, Motzart & Handel on one CD. You start to feel as if the bells were the instrument they originally wrote for.
Don't miss this rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus! If you think Handbells aren't musical, you haven't heard this!!! Reviewed by Jim & Debbie McMillan from Pinole, CA USA.

 

Popular Christmas Music

 

"Elvis' Christmas Album"  by Elvis Presley  

It may seem weird to call a seasonal album "essential," but along with Phil Spector's 'Christmas Gift for You' this is arguably the finest rock & roll Christmas album of all time. Recorded in 1957 at the height of his artistry--when he truly could be called the King of Rock & Roll--this album demonstrates Presley having a lot of vocal fun with a variety of styles, whether it's a carol ("Silent Night") or pop standard (Gene Autry's "Here Comes Santa Claus"). He does one of the greatest versions of "White Christmas" ever recorded, basically using the Drifters' version as a blueprint--and then singing all the parts himself. His "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is definitive--but the best moments are the "new" tracks written specifically for this release, including the classic "Blue Christmas," Lieber & Stoller's "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" (one of the most sexually suggestive holiday tunes ever), and the wonderful, pop-based "Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me." All these tracks are available on the 'King of Rock and Roll' box set--but if you don't own that, this belongs under any Christmas tree--though Elvis fans have been known to listen to tracks from this in the middle of July! --Bill Holdship

"Motown Christmas"  Various Artists  

One of my favorite Christmas CDs. I got the two album set over 20 years ago. Now they've added a Marvin Gaye bonus track. Too bad they didn't include his up-tempo "Purple Snowflakes" as well.

What I like best about this CD is its variety of musical styles. Stevie Wonder shines on a couple of originals that are now Christmas standards: the thought provoking Someday At Christmas and the festive What Christmas Means To Me. Everyone's favorite Jehovah's Witnesses, The Jackson 5, (who didn't celebrate Christmas but apparently recorded whatever Motown asked them to) add youthful exhuberance with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Frosty The Snowman, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. The Temptations show off their versatility, their tracks among the strongest cuts, be they fun (Rudolph) or poignant (My Christmas Tree, Silent Night). The Supremes' stuff is okay. Their best Christmas tune, the haunting Born Of Mary, isn't on this set. Their take on The Children's Song though will have you ding-donging for days. BY the way: all the kids mentioned in this song belong to Diana's main squeeze at the time, Berry Gordy. Reviewer: James E. Bagley, PA.

 

"The Christmas Song"  By Nat King Cole  

Christmas was not Christmas in my home without the Nat King Cole vinyl playing on our old record player. When that stopped working, we bought the CD version because we missed the sound of his smooth voice singing warm, heartfelt traditional Christmas tunes. His version of "The Christmas Song" is THE classic while remakes have yet to come close. The rest of the album is up to par with "The Christmas Song" and some songs even better depending on your taste. It is not flashy, overdone with loud choirs or unnecessary production. It is just right and you will not regret adding it to your annual rotation. On the other hand, who says you have to wait until Christmas? Reviewer: Kandy from Home of the Lost World!

 

"A Smooth Jazz Christmas"  By Dave Koz  

Dave Koz's blend of jazz and new age easily finds a home in holiday music. His holiday album " A Smooth Jazz Christmas" is an interesting mix of Koz's musical gifts and flair. Koz includes many Christmas standards, as well as some lesser known pieces and some original works. The opening "Smooth Jazz Christmas Overture" is a medley of Christmas favorites that gets a person in the holiday spirit. Brenda Russell joins Koz for an updated version of the Patti Page classic "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus." Kenny Loggins adds his vocal talents in the beautiful and refelctive "December Makes Me Feel This Way," a song which celebrates the magic of this time of year. "Eight Candles" is an upbeat musical piece paying tribute to Hanukah. This is a worthy addition to any Christmas collection. Reviewer: Timothy Kearney, Roslindale, MA.

"A Christmas Gift To You From Phil Spector" - Various Motown Artistes  

This lavish holiday set has been called the greatest rock & roll Christmas album of all time. That's an opinion that's tough to argue with when you find yourself immersed in the massive sounds painstakingly crafted by legendary producer Phil Spector. His "wall-of-sound" technique is perfectly suited to the music of the season, as he proves with layer upon layer of piano, sleigh bells, buoyant percussion and, of course, those legendary Spector sound harmonies. The Crystals turn their sassy interplay into sheer magic on "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town", The Ronettes stroll sweetly through numbers like "Sleigh Ride" and Darlene Love delivers a real knockout punch with her yearning version of "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)". Sure to become the soundtrack for your holidays. David Sprague

 

"Now That's What I Call Christmas!" - Various Artistes  

The title doesn't lie, even if it asounds like a hyperbolic pitch from some old late-night cable TV ad'. With 36 tracks of various genres spread over two disks, "Now That's What I Call Christmas" might be the best, most eclectic 'value plus' holiday record ever released, assuming your tastes embrace crooners such as Cole, Crosby and Como, plus contemporary boy bands such as Boyz II Men, as well as the ubiquitous Britney Spears.

In between there are the sumptuous classics by Bobby Helms, Brenda Lee, the Beachboys and Burl Ives on disk one, balanced on disc two by more recent standards, including Bruce Springsteen's live version of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" and John and Yoko's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)." You're not obligated to like everything here, but that's why Santa invented the forward button on your CD player. --Martin Keller

"A Tweenies Christmas"  by The Tweenies  

"A Tweenies Christmas" comes hot on the heels of their sell-out stadium tours, the success of their debut album "Friends Forever" and the continued success of their TV show. Filled equally with new compositions and cover versions of favourite festive tunes (there's seven of each on the album), this is the ideal collection for getting children (and parents) into the Christmas party mood. Opener "I Believe in Christmas" is a swinging, pop number in the style of S Club 7s "Reach" but with added sleigh bells. If it wasn't for the baby-speak Tweenie vocals, it would be difficult to differentiate between this track and Rachel and Co "doing their thing". Another new tune "Light Up the World" is a warm, feel-good song set on Christmas Eve, while "Fab-A-Rooney Christmas" is the Tweenies jovial Christmas anthem. At times though the toddler-talk (or singing) does complement the song, for instance Milo's nasal rendition of "Merry Xmas Everybody" almost resembles Noddy Holder's blaring vocals on the Slade original. --John Galilee

Young children love the Tweenies with their  high activity, music filled TV shows. They are so colorful and lively and the characters so personable that I never complain when I'm asked to watch the show with the kids. They make great videos too, which are available through the Christmas Videos section, which you can access via this link.  Al'

 

"Christmas Treasures"  - Mehdi  

It is rare that I give an album as high of a recommendation as this one, but this Gem will become on of your favourites and that's a promise. Michael Barbieri.

Produced in Mehdi's unique style, these instrumental holiday favorites are cheery and groove oriented. Christmas is a very special time of year and this album takes the listener to that very special feeling of joy and happiness. MTS.

"Christmas In Concert" - John Denver Price 

My first John Denver concert was Christmas 1996, just a few days before this concert. I am thrilled to have it on CD. John's voice is wonderfully rich and clear, one of the most beautiful I've ever heard. "Oh, Holy Night" is breathtaking! "Falling Leaves" is the perfect closing to this excellent performance. The only reason I can't give the album five stars has nothing to do with the quality of the CD or with John's singing; it's with some of the selections. Why, oh, why did he include "Please, Daddy"? With a voice as beautiful as John Denver's, it's sad he wasted it on such pieces as "Rudolph" and "Jingle Bells." How I long to hear him sing true Christmas carols. The few that he did in this concerts are beautiful, though, and the children's choir is excellent. It is difficult to hear some of John's remarks. When all is said and done, everyone who likes John Denver even a wee bit needs this album. Reviewed by Patricia from Lancaster, PA United States

 

"Christmas Extraordinaire" - Mannheim Steamroller  

Chip Davis's Mannheim Steamroller hasn't lost any ground in the six years since their last Yuletide offering. Christmas Extraordinare is another innovative and heartfelt collection of seasonal treasures played on a combination of 18th-century instruments and modern-day synthesizers, drums, and electric guitars. While not the first to marry different ages of musical instruments, Davis and his cohorts use them with imagination and an intensity that gives new life and drama to this rather inert genre. For material, Mannheim Steamroller asked their fans to choose their favorite holiday selections and vote on their Web site. The results of the poll are a fine mix of old and new--with slightly more emphasis on the modern--ranging from the bracing "Fum, Fum, Fum," a traditional Catalan carol, to Tchaikovsky's "Faeries" from The Nutcracker. Mannheim Steamroller imbues this beloved song with an almost militaristic edge, grounding it with an ominous tuba that gives the usually fey "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" an edgy tension. "Winter Wonderland" is a spectacular work, bordering on prog rock, as if Emerson, Lake & Palmer had re-formed to whip up a winter blizzard gone amok. While most of the Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas albums are largely instrumental, Davis has employed the considerable talents of University of Michigan's Glee Club to sing on "O Tannenbaum," respectfully fading their elegant, full vocals around the pristine voice of Johnny Mathis, elevating this German carol to a cinematic peak. Don't miss out on the clever liner notes, which give the reader a whimsical, anecdotal history of the 12 songs. Reviewed by Jaan Uhelszki
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"Christmas Memories" - Barbra Streisand  

What's a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn cum internationally renowned pop diva doing releasing a(nother) Christmas album? Well, maintaining a long-lived American tradition, for one thing. But then, this companion piece to Barbra Streisand 1967 A Christmas Album has a mature, jazzy charm and sometimes smoky atmosphere that don't exactly conjure chestnuts roasting by an open fire. Just as Streisand has always used music as a stepping stone to something more ambitiously dramatic, she's used the holiday season here as an excuse to explore rich emotional sentiments, if not necessarily sentimentalism itself. As on its 1960s forebear, her choice of material here is mostly as fresh as it is surprising. Among the contemporary More Usual Suspects (David Foster's "Grown-up Christmas List," "A Christmas Love Song," and "Christmas Mem'ries" by Alan and Marilyn Bergman) are gems familiar ("I'll Be Home For Christmas," "What Are You Doing Christmas Eve?") and rare (Sondheim's updated "I Remember," "It Must Have Been the Mistletoe"). While not pathos-exempt (see "Closer"), Streisand's rich, ever-expressive voice masterfully drives a collection that stretches from "Ave Maria" (Schubert's, this time) to the ecumenical timeliness of "One God." Reviewed by Jerry McCulley

 

"A Very Special Christmas" - Love, Bon Jovi, Crow, Powder, plus 

Five volumes in 14 years would probably qualify these all-star benefit albums (Special Olympics) as a holiday tradition by now, even if all five have been hit-and-miss affairs. Still, the 2001 edition has a few more highlights than a quick glance at its offerings might indicate. Jon Bon Jovi tries to imitate Elvis on "Blue Christmas," and Darlene Love--surely as important a voice in the genre as Bing Crosby--falls short in her attempt to recreate her superior 1963 Phil Spector version of "White Christmas." Genuinely cool, though, are Macy Gray's jazzy "This Christmas," Eve 6's pop-metallic "Noel! Noel!," City High's hip-hop Christmas hybrid, and SR71's goofy take on Billy Squier's already goofy "Time to Say I Love You." Things get downright steamy--and Santa-sized--when John Popper meets up with B.B. King for the bluesy "Back Door Santa." Reviewed by Bill Holdship

"The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas" - Various Artistes 

This double CD album is stacked to the brim with classic popular music performed by many of the big names of yesteryear. You know what I'm talking about: Andy Williams, Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Harry Belafonte and Johnny Mathis. Even Luciano Pavarotti makes an appearance. You couldn't have a better album than this, especially if you are thinking about buying a little token for mum and dad.

"What a Wonderful Christmas" - Anne Murray 

This new album collects almost all of Anne's Christmas recordings from today and yesterday and refashions them into a truly sparkling holiday package. All the music on this album is splendidly presented with sparkling vocals and highly varied accompaniment. Anne mixes just what you'd expect from a Christmas album with a lot you might not. She's great at taking the traditional, the surprising and the eye-winking and blending it all into a great big musical plum pudding. This album will fly off the shelves as fast as Santa's sled and become one of the biggest Christmas sellers in history. You will LOVE it. Reviewed by a music fan from Chicago

"In the Spirit-Christmas Album" - Michael McDonald  

This CD has been a welcome diversion from America's recent troubles. The beautiful and soothing "Peace" (co-written with Beth Nielsen Chapman) gives me goosebumps. There are only two or three standards here, which are covered very nicely; the rest are Michael's originals (with the help of some very talented collaborators). Michael has always been a talented singer and songwriter, but he's never been more heartfelt and soulful than here, where he's singing to and about the Lord. Just a little piece of heaven here on earth. Reviewed by Tracy VanEnkevort from California, USA.

"A Nancy Wilson Christmas" - Nancy Wilson  

Has Nancy Wilson ever made a public move in her 40-plus-year career that wasn't tasteful? Aside from a couple of small-print notices, purchasers would never know that Wilson intends to donate her royalties from her first full- length Christmas disc to the Pittsburgh-based Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, an arts and education center for lower-income residents. Christmas finds Wilson moving between quietly felt moods with astute shifts in arrangement size; her trio, the Dizzy Gillespie alumni orchestra, and a chamber group are among the varied settings. As a choice for a houseful of family on Christmas Eve, this could hardly be better. A seemingly unpromising match between Wilson and the supremely fussy quartet New York Voices on "Carol of the Bells" ends up as one of the album's most sustained performances. Reviewed by Rickey Wright
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