The Corner

Culture

Harking

Freight trucks on the road in Detroit, Mich. (Rebecca Cook / Reuters)

I have a Jaywalking that ends with “O Holy Night,” but it is not really a feel-good, Christmassy Jaywalking, I’m afraid: It includes Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other horrors. But there are streaks of light, including this great Christmas carol.

Why the picture, above? The carol is sung by Carl Tanner, an American tenor. The other night, he replaced the scheduled tenor at the Metropolitan Opera in Otello (my review here). Tanner has a smile-making background: Before making it in music, he worked as a trucker, driving big rigs. He also moonlighted as a bounty-hunter. This is a Heldentenor, not a tenore di grazia. (Trust me, opera folk would find this a funny line.) The title of my Jaywalking is “Keep on Truckin’ (and Singing).”

If I don’t see you before Christmas, I wanted to offer you probably my three favorite Christmas tracks, as I have before. There are others that are tied, I’m sure — but these are a Big Three, for me. Another “O Holy Night,” recorded by Leontyne Price with the Vienna Philharmonic and Karajan many years ago. John Rutter’s “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol,” recorded by Heidi Grant Murphy and her husband Kevin. And “Jerusalem in the Morning,” from Chanticleer.

Bonus track, maybe: “The First Nowell,” from Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Another: “Oh, What a Pretty Little Baby,” from James Cleveland, the Cleveland Singers, and the Angelic Choir. One more: “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” grooved on by George Shearing & Co.

Oh, hell, here’s a podcast I did once on Christmas music. It was called “Hark, Y’All.” Anyway, Merry Christmas!

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