December 3, 2013

From Gaudete to Maccabeats

My Skewed View
This week's Twisted Mix Tape is Christmas music.

Yes, I'm Jewish. But I was also a choir nerd, and then an opera student, and so on and so on...

It's impossible to avoid Christmas music. PERIOD. Fortunately, some of it is great.


As I said, I used to sing opera. And there are no Christmas songs more beautiful or moving than those from the Latin mass. So. Beautiful.

This song is pretty controversial these days. Yes, if you put it into a modern context, this song is SUPER rapey. So creepy. But, if you take it at face value- that this is actually a two-way flirtation and not an insidious attempt to drug, trap, and violate somebody... it's a lot of fun.

One of the all-time great ladies of rock n' roll.  I love that she just went ahead and put a Christmas song on a regular album. Because why the hell not?

My second opera teacher was fairly obsessed with Leontyne Price, and he passed his love affair on to me. In fact, it was getting to know Leontyne Price that took me away from opera. She also sang jazz, and listening to those records in the vocal performance studio changed my mind about what I wanted to sing. From opera to jazz and blues I went. But my love of opera, and of course of Ms. Price, is as strong as ever.

Back to the modern classics... I love this song. It's so sweet, so pretty... and I adore Tori Amos. Definitely my favorite version of this lovely little song.

Still, I can't let a Chistmas mix tape go by without throwing in my Channukah two cents. This is not an age-old classic. But it's my favorite. I LOVE this song. I sing it on a loop, starting the first time each year I think about latkes. "I flip my latkes in the air sometimes..." NOTE: DO NOT FLIP YOUR LATKES IN THE AIR. You will send hot oil flying through the kitchen, wounding everyone present. It's not to be done.

And now a classic Channukah song, in the Moroccan style. This is pretty much *the* Channukah song, and I love how it explores the different aspects of Jewish heritage. It's beautiful.

Last but not least, back to Christmas music. I know, just about everybody's favorite version of Carol of the Bells is the trans-Siberian orchestra. But you will win me over every time with a musical arrangement for twelve cellos. Even if they're all played by the same guy.


  1. Really nice choices...Ava Maria is a song that means A LOT to me. My grandmother died in my arms at the very last note...I still have the cassette and have never played it is still stopped at that moment.

  2. Beautiful! Thanks for playing Lea, your choices are always so amazingly enlightening, I had never heard Ray Charles version of Baby it's Cold Outside, loved it!

  3. Really inspirational choices! Thanks for sharing!



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