Here Are the Best Christmas Albums of 2016 to Get for the Classical Music Lover In Your Life

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This holiday season has an especially rich and varied selection of new releases, from Baroque Christmas devotions to a new concert edition of Handel’s Messiah by Sir Andrew Davis. If you’re looking for gift ideas, here’s a list of my favorites from 2016. Then join WFMT every day at 10 am through Christmas Day, as Dennis Moore and I feature one of these new recordings. Happy Holidays!


The King’s Singers: Christmas Songbook

The King’s Singers latest addition to their output of beloved Christmas albums is certain to become an instant classic. On Christmas Songbook, traditional favorites sit alongside modern-day songs made famous by singers from the Golden Age of jazz and pop. Buy album

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

On December 18, 1892, at the Imperial Mariinsky Theater, The Nutcracker was first introduced to the world. Now, from the same hall and almost 125 years after that opening night, the Mariinsky’s current Artistic Director, Valery Gergiev, presents a new recording of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. Buy album

James Whitbourn: Carolae – Music for Christmas

James Whitbourn is a composer whose music is internationally admired for its direct connection with performers and audiences. Carolae is a fusion of American and English Christmas traditions, with Whitbourn’s love of medieval music shaping his arrangements of holiday favorites. Buy album

Alison Balsom: Jubilo

Inspired by seasonal Baroque repertoire, Alison Balsom plays the natural trumpet in concertos by Torelli, Corelli and Fasch with the Academy of Ancient Music. Bach chorales performed in arrangements for trumpet and organ act as a beautiful complement to the full orchestral sound of the concertos. Buy album

The Sixteen: Song of the Nativity

The Sixteen contrasts the dramatic intensity of music by some of today’s most admired composers with traditional and modern carols. Every work on this album captures the joy and sincerity of the season, providing an antidote to the hectic pre-Christmas rush. Buy album

Handel: Messiah

Experience the transcendent glory of Handel’s Messiah in Sir Andrew Davis’s new concert edition. This unique version makes use of all the colors available from the modern symphony orchestra to underline the mood and meaning of the individual movements. Buy album

The King’s Men: Twelve Days of Christmas

The King’s Men is the close-harmony vocal group formed by current choral scholars of King’s College, Cambridge. Here, they showcase the lighter side of their seasonal repertoire, performing a festive and wide-ranging mixture of popular Christmas songs. Buy album

Charpentier: Pastorale de Noël

Each year from 1684 to 1686, Marc-Antoine Charpentier wrote a Christmas pastorale for his patron, Marie de Lorraine. The works are at the intersection of the sacred and secular, evoking the mystery of birth with a moving blend of naïveté and gravity. Buy album

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: The Ultimate Christmas Collection

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings a wide variety of Christmas favorites, from Handel’s Hallelujah chorus and Schubert’s Ave Maria to popular yuletide carols. This collection is a retrospective that spans several decades of the choir’s recordings. Buy album

Christmas with Septura

The brass ensemble Septura has carefully crafted a program that explores virtuosity and festive celebration. Septura pushes its colors and combinations to the limit in re-imagining this varied selection of sublime Christmas music from the past 450 years. Buy album