However, I am still such a sucker for Christmas music that I like to purchase a new album every year. Last year, it was Sarah McLachlan's, Wintersong, a beautiful album. This year, I couldn't make up my mind when I was browsing in the record shop (yes, I still call them records). Two that caught my eye, Bocelli and Enya were very expensive: almost $23 each.
I decided to give iTunes a try (where you can purchase the albums for $11.91 or individual songs for $1.29) and was able to listen to clips from both albums and several others. I picked only two Bocelli songs because many were traditional tunes that I already have versions of. I simply don't desire any more renditions of White Christmas, Silent Night or Adeste Fideles, for example. But I did download two that sounded good from the brief clips that iTunes enables.
One of his songs, God Bless Us Everyone, is new to me, and I like it. (Although it is the same title as the song that I presented the other day, it is a totally different piece.) The piece de resistance is What Child is This with Mary J Blige. I really like this wonderful tune (to Greensleeves — see info below) no matter who does it, but this performance is incredible in my tiny and humble estimation, and to me, it's Blige's efforts that make it so special. I say this, not generally being a fan of Blige or even of Bocelli for that matter.
Oddly enough, they also sang this for the first time on Oprah the other day. You see, Bocelli had recorded his part and sent it to Blige to make of it whatever she would. The duet was, therefore, created without them ever singing together — until the Oprah show. I find it amazing and have embedded a clip below. I figure if iTunes can offer little clips, so can I. From comments the other day, I assume that some of you don't have Flash enabled, so I'll offer two ways to listen and hope that one works for you.
Note: music now archived until next Christmas.
"Greensleeves" is a traditional English folk song and tune ...
A broadside ballad by this name was registered at the London Stationer's Company in 1580 as "A New Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves"...
The tune is found in several late 16th century and early 17th century sources ...
There is a persistent belief that Greensleeves was composed by Henry VIII for his lover and future queen consort Anne Boleyn. Anne rejected Henry's attempts to seduce her and this rejection is apparently referred to in the song, when the writer's love "cast me off discourteously." However, Henry did not compose "Greensleeves", which is probably Elizabethan in origin and is based on an Italian style of composition that did not reach England until after his death.
The hymn What Child Is This? by William Chatterton Dix, set to the "Greensleeves" tune, is used across the Western Christian Church.
In Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, written around 1602, the character Mistress Ford refers twice without any explanation to the tune of "Greensleeves," and Falstaff later exclaims:
Let the sky rain potatoes! Let it thunder to the tune of 'Greensleeves'!
These allusions suggest that the song was already well known at that time.