Winter Solstice – the longest night, hinge of the year…
Considered one of the finest carols by choirmasters and choral experts, this song is not so well-known by the general public, at least here in United States – but it’s one of my favorites, and the version from Windham Hill’s “Winter’s Solstice” series is particularly fine, one of the absolute gems on those collections …
While I like that very much and it is where I first recall hearing “In the Bleak Midwinter,” there are a huge number of other versions out there. Some of the artists who’ve covered this carol in versions that are available now include: James Taylor, Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin, Loreena McKennitt, King’s College Choir, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, The Moody Blues, John Fahey, Julie Andrews… and the list goes on.
Shawn Colvin had one big radio hit with “Sunny Came Home” from her 1996 album A Few Small Repairs, but she has a released a number of other fine albums (and both a live and a studio album last year) including Holiday Songs And Lullabies, which includes another fine version of this carol…
Loreena McKennitt included it on A Midwinter Night’s Dream, The Indigo Girls sing it on their just released album of holiday music, Holly Happy Days, it’s on Christmas with the Academy from The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (one of my favorite classical music recording artists), and Julie Andrews recorded a version for her 1982 album of Christmas songs (listen here – look for the play button).
“In the Bleak Midwinter” also appears on an EP of the same name by a Christian black/death metal band from Sweden, Sanctifica – but there is no way I am going to try listening to it [here] – I hate the Swedes. Just kidding – I’m not a fan of metal, actually, and somehow death metal doesn’t seem like what I look for in my holiday music.
I’ve assembled a small collection of some of the versions available on the interweb, good and bad, for your listening pleasure.
- Winter solstice – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- In the Bleak Midwinter – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- A Winter’s Solstice III – Amazon.com
- Shawn Colvin, Holiday Songs And Lullabies – Amazon.com
- Loreena McKennitt, Midwinter Night’s Dream – Amazon.com
- Christmas With the Academy – Amazon.com
- Christmas With Julie Andrews – Amazon.com
- King’s College Choir, Cambridge, Noel: Christmas at King’s – Amazon.com
- Indigo Girls, Holly Happy Days – Amazon.com
- Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs – Amazon.com
- Shawn Colvin – 9 Albums – 320k VBR (download torrent) – TPB
- Loreena McKennitt – A Midwinter’s Night Deam (download torrent) – TPB
- Loreena McKennitt – A Midwinter\’s Night Dream – FLAC (download torrent) – TPB
- Christmas with the Academy (download torrent) – TPB
- In the Bleak Midwinter Sheet Music – Download from megashares.com – Filestube.com