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12 Top Classical Music Cds For Holiday Presents

The holiday season shouldn’t be about maxing out your credit cards or freaking out with stress. It’s intended to be a wonderful time to show friends and family that you care. The presents you give don’t necessarily have to be elaborate. The thought really does count, right? So for the classical music lover on your list, giving holiday music CDs is a splendid gesture. It’s a gift you know they’ll love getting and be able to enjoy for years to come.

The following list of 12 classical music CDs make great holiday gifts. Some of them feature the most popular holiday music CDs, while others simply rank among the greatest classical recordings of all time (according to a panel of BBC music critics). So, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for all the music aficionados on your list, and at affordable prices. Plus, with online ordering and fast delivery, you won’t have to deal with the hordes of last-minute shoppers, making for a stress-free holiday.

  1. A Christmas Festival - Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops. This album is an excellent performance of all your favorite Christmas carols, delivered with tremendous perfection. Its wonderful collection of songs has the power to lift your spirit and create a sense of solemnity, appropriate for the season. You can purchase this incredible CD at Amazon for around $7.
  2. Beethoven's Symphonies Nos 5 & 7, conducted by Carlos Kleiber, and performed by the Vienna Philharmonic ($10). Truly, this recording remains one of the most prominent renditions of all time. Passionate, beautiful, and an incredibly rousing recording, this is a must have for any classical music lover. Kleiber has made very few recordings in his distinguished career, and this is a quintessential example of his talent.
  3. The Glorious Sound of Christmas - Eugene Ormandy & the Philadelphia Orchestra. Another one of the great holiday music CDs, this 1991 recording includes songs from Mendelssohn and Handel that everyone knows and loves, exquisitely performed for less than $6.
  4. A Pentatonix Christmas. For $8, this acapella group recording is a leading best seller of Christmas albums this year. With traditional favorites and a masterful performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” this holiday music CD will brighten anyone’s day.
  5. Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos 4-6, performed by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, with legendary conductor Evgeny Mravinsky. While touring Britain in 1960, these sensational concerts in Edinburgh and London were amazingly received by audiences and reporters. It remains one of the best classical recordings of all time. Give this masterpiece for only $20.
  6. A Festival of Carols in Brass - the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble. This classical recording is entirely performed by brass instruments. For under $6, give this holiday music CD that has a regal and lyrical sound.
  7. JS Bach: Christmas Oratorio, live performance from the Boston Bach Ensemble, conducted by Julian Wachner. Featuring distinguished soloists and a number of experts in period instrument performance, this holiday music will delight everyone who hears it with its majesty. Bach’s Baroque masterpiece comes to life in this 2-disk recording that starts with the miraculous birth and culminates with the Magi’s visit. You can purchase this exceptional CD for under $15.
  8. Wagner: Tristan und Isolde. An exquisite performance created in London in 1952, this recording features Ramon Vinay, Ludwig Weber, Martha Modl, and Hans Hotter, and was the first complete performance of this classic. It contains "passages from the love duet in Act II and Tristan’s delirium in Act III" that were previously unknown. Although this box set is rather pricey ($95), it makes an exceptional holiday gift CD for someone very special.
  9. Bach: Cello Suites; original recording by Pablo Casals. This remastered release costs less than $33, and makes a great addition to any classical music collection. Casals was the first cellist to perform all of Bach's Cello Suites, bringing this classical music to the forefront before anyone had heard them, and his interpretations are considered to be the benchmark today. It’s a must have for classical music enthusiasts.
  10. The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestral accompaniment to Elvis’s unique vocals make this a gift CD that everyone will enjoy. For $8, this recording explores a number of musical genres including pop and country ballads.
  11. The Christmas Album by the Berliner Philharmoniker. For $14, this best seller is a great holiday music collection and features a number of classical compositions that will delight listeners.
  12. The Baroque Christmas Album, Eliot Gardiner. This $10 compilation features various well-known classical composers, performed by outstanding period artists and vocalists, tuned to authentic pitches. The arrangement of these re-issued recordings is stunning and beautiful.

This holiday season, give classical music CDs that will delight your recipients and provide many years of listening enjoyment.

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