I like sappy Christmas music as much as anybody else (check that . . . no I don't), but please find a way to hear Handel's Messiah this Christmas, on CD if you must. And if you listen on CD, resist the urge to skip over the long solos (recitatives, if memory of high school music apprec serves correctly) to the "good part." It's far too easy to forget the richness of Handel's text (or should I say libretto? [I'm on a roll now.]) in those solos. If the Messiah doesn't stir your religious affections, please let me know what does.
I was listening yesterday with Chris Anderson's discussion of congregational vs. special music in mind. Along those lines, I don't particularly appreciate the performance aspects of the recording I have (trilling the r's, heavy vibrato, etc.), so I'd be grateful for someone to suggest a more straightforward recording. Thanks in advance.