Monday, 12 December 2011

Music Monday: Sufjan Stevens

One Christmas a few years ago I decided that what my Sufjan Stevens-loving (but Christmas-hating) brother needed to give him some festive cheer was the five CD box set Songs For Christmas.  The fact that I could listen to this gift in the run-up to Christmas, before wrapping it and putting it under the tree, was entirely a lucky coincidence.

So Christmas Day dawned and we gathered around the tree to open our gifts.  A few presents in, I came to one which was a very familiar size and shape, but addressed to me from Richard.  Having a hunch what it might be, I handed him his gift and, at pretty much the same time, we opened our identical copies of Songs For Christmas.  Mine had also been 'previewed' by the giver.

There is so much to love on those five EPs, from original compositions such as Sister Winter (which to my mind is as good a song as Stevens has ever written) to new arrangements of classic carols like Oh Holy Night and Amazing Grace.  I've chosen Joy To The World to share today because it takes a carol that is somewhat rambunctious and over the top and turns it into a gentle and reflective hymn.  Plus it has sleigh bells, as all good Christmas tunes should.

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