Back in the days when CBC radio was listenable - a subject I could but won't go into a rant on - there was an afternoon programme called Off the Record with Bob Kerr. Kerr was a record collector - he reputedly had 20,000 records in his collection - and the programme was made up of things which he brought into the studio every day. For 40 years every weekday afternoon from one until three he played records that reflected his varied taste from the ancient to the moderns. He could be a trifle schoolmarmish at times as he went into tirades against bad liner notes or poorly produced recordings but just when you want to slap him he'd play something wonderful.
The few weeks before Christmas were always a treasure trove and he introduced me to many of the recordings I now have in my Christmas collection. He tended to favour the slightly off-beat when it came to seasonal music and back in 1978 he played a new recording by the Boston Camerata of Christmas Music from England and Early America . Sing We Noel became a holiday standard on my turntable and then my CD player.
I always loved this particular piece, though it has no real connection with Christmas it seems appropriate when thinking of the many works created during the Renaissance showing the Madonna, Child and Holy Family. I've coupled it with a few remarkable pieces from the Bode Museum in Berlin.
The rest of the recording is just as lovely and I highly recommend it as a Christmas addition to anyone's library.
17 decembre - San Giovanni de Matha