Grace’s Christmas Playlist by Anstey Harris
An overture is a piece of music for the orchestra to play at the beginning of an opera, musical, or ballet. Overtures usually contain tunes which that give a taste of what’s to come (the one that plays over the opening credits of The Sound of Music is particularly magnificent). So here’s the overture to Grace’s Christmas playlist, played by the magnificent Hallé Orchestra.
Nigel Kennedy made Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ into a tune that everyone could hum, but the winter movement of The Four Seasons, particularly played at 11, will make the hairs on your neck go up.
You might recognise this from a hundred adverts and cartoon films – and Greg Lake’s I Believe in Father Christmas – but it’s actually Prokofiev and taken from his Lieutenant Kijé Suite.
Grace loves old folk tunes, and she loves France. This song gives her a good helping of both when she’s missing David at Christmas. And to balance that, here’s a very old English Christmas tune, first published in 1521.
This Christina Rossetti poem was put to music by both Gustav Holst and Harold Edwin Darke. This is the Holst version, simply because it’s the one Grace knew first and sang at school.
This tune is one of Grace’s favourites, and mentioned in the book. It’s very good for Christmas: light the candles and the tree lights, put all the other lights off, and sit by the fire.
This is a great tune to dance to as you put up your Christmas decorations. And you’ll recognise it…
Here’s another dancing tune, and general heart-warmer. Prokofiev’s second appearance on the list.
This carol is perfect for Grace’s list in so many ways. Firstly, it’s a traditional tune that’s been arranged by all the great composers, and secondly because – like the Libertango – it’s from the 20th century. John Gardner, who wrote this arrangement, was a British composer who died in 2011.
To finish, this is the ultimate Christmas piece. So very very beautiful. This version is taken from the Master and Commander sound track. Russell Crowe learnt to play violin for this film and still has lessons now.
The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton is out now in audio download, and will publish in hardback and eBook on 10th January 2019. You can listen to the opening chapter here.