Christmas Playlist

Sounds of Social Distancing |

Here we go again. Can we? Should we? Well, if you click onto what’s below, you can, whether you’re with friends or family, or forced to be more solitary. And what you can do is sing along and dance along to the infectious music which our Festival team have chosen this year. You might find a few of the tracks a bit tricky to sing or dance to. Just sit and listen to these, and catch your breath!

Song and Dance will fill the theatre at The Grange next summer, and many of you have already signed up. Thank you. But there’s still room to see all our shows (Opera, Ballet, Dance, Jazz) – a veritable confection of performing arts which I know will move you to tears, take your breath away, make you jump for joy, and much more.

Have a lovely Christmas. Be full of hope and joy for the New Year. And see you at The Grange in the summer.

With best wishes from us all


Track 1 - Someone to light up my life | Joanna Strand
Chosen by Becka Cooper – Festival Food Wizard

So this is what I’m listening to at the moment. Not at all Christmassy but I love it…it’s my great friend Joanna Strand and her fab band. Jo painted the amazing pictures of the Grange and Grange audience that were exhibited during the 2019 Festival (she paints as Joanna Cohn). She’s a classically trained singer (who happened to sing at the Grange in early GPO days) and who now specialises in cabaret and she and her band perform at all the major venues in London and New York. I’ve had the privilege of joining them on stage at Crazy Coq’s and The Pheasantry and I credit her with giving me back my singing mojo. She is unbelievably talented both as an artist and singer, a wonderfully supportive and generous friend, and I love her version of this song …

Track 2 - I believe in Father Christmas | Greg Lake

Chosen by Michael Moody – Chief Operations Officer
Because we need to believe in something!

Track 3 - Zadok The Priest | Handel

Chosen by Annabel Ross - Finance Manager
For me this is a wonderful stirring choral piece with a great orchestral introduction.

Track 4 - Rototango | Erwin Schrott

Chosen by Scott Cooper – Director of Artistic Administration
About 11 years ago, I was visiting an old friend in Barcelona. One day, we went to Sitges for lunch and happened to run into Erwin Schrott, the great Uruguayan bass-baritone, who was staying there while singing Escamillo in Carmen at the Liceu in Barcelona. Erwin had literally just received the first edit of his new album Rojotango, so we went back to his house to listen to it. I absolutely loved it. This is the title track, Rojotango. If, like me, you like the tango music of composers like Astor Piazzolla, you’ll love this whole album.

Track 5 - O Holy Night | Ella Fitzgerald

Chosen by Leela Bennett – Social Media Manager
She is the soundtrack to my life and this song always floats through our house whilst we are preparing for Christmas.

Track 6 - Last Christmas | Wham!

Caroline Sheahan - Box Office Manager
When I hear this song it reminds me of evenings with my friends, singing along and just being together!

Track 7 - Acante et Cérise | Jean-Philippe Rameau

Chosen by Michael Chance – Artistic Director
My friend Christopher Tennant recently recommended this very new recording of an opera previously unknown to me, Acante et Cérise by Jean-Philippe Rameau, first performed in the Paris Opera on 19th November, 1751. I was blown away, actually almost literally, since some of the music in this overture portrays a firework display. Hear the cracks and bangs and squibs and wheels all in psychedelic combustion. Happy Christmas!

Track 8 - The Nutcracker | Tchaikovsky

Chosen by Susan Hamilton – Head of Learning
Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score spells the beginning of Christmas for us. With the opening descending cello scales and the trombone climax, this technically demanding pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince Coqueluche is pure joy. Ideally with the dream cast of Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in Peter Wright’s 1984 production with Julia Trevelyan Oman’s magical designs.

Track 9 - Do they know it's Christmas? | Band Aid (1984)

Chosen by Richard Loader - Curator
I love the hand bells in the tune, the lyrics say it all, especially as I have been in the farming community lifelong, and it tends to be forgotten that farms are “To Feed The World” also how much some of the world desperately needs it, especially at this time of year.

Track 10 - The Lamb | John Tavener

Chosen by Alice Blincoe - Marketing Officer
The ethereal sound of the unaccompanied voices of the Kings College Choir is beautiful and haunting in equal measure. I adore the contrast between the two sections, first dissonance and then beautiful rich, satisfying harmony.

Track 11 - Ue o Muite Arukō | Kyu Sakamoto

Chosen by Becky Reynolds – Production Assistant
Translated, ‘I Look Up as I Walk’ has rather melancholy lyrics. I was introduced to this song by ‘Up on Poppy Hill’ a Studio Ghibli movie, but I gather from Wikipedia this track has had quite the life; topping charts in several countries and becoming one of the world’s best-selling singles of all time. It could be the warm carefree nature of the melody or the crooning of Kyu Sakamoto, but I think this is a perfect Christmassy tune to chop your vegetables to. I’m a big fan.

Track 12 - Scheherazade | Rimsky-Korsakov

Chosen by Harriet Taylor - Development and Events
No particular reason why I would suggest the first movement from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade apart from the obvious… that you would then continue to listen to the complete work! I certainly will, and I strongly suggest you do the same.

Track 13 - Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas | Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Chosen by Rachel Pearson – Director of Development
A little bit of Ella and Satchmo. What’s not to like? Somehow the words seem all too fitting for our second pandemic Christmas. Merry Christmas all!

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