The glorious body of music written specifically for the Christmas season is unparalleled in Western civilization; no other event or time of year is as inextricably linked with music, especially with music of such quiet strength and emotion. Some traditional Christmas melodies like The Coventry Carol from England or Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head from the American Appalachian mountains (both included on this release) are enjoyed throughout the year; but for most listeners, these pieces conjure up the intimate and powerful sentiments of Christmas--the falling snow, a warm home, family, and friends. One of the biggest challenges with Christmas recordings is deciding what to include and what to omit. Celestial Harmonies has found an elegant solution--adding a volume to the Celestial Christmas series each year. The fourth CD in the series builds on the popular collections of sacred Renaissance and Baroque works of the first three volumes and branches out to include some later works. Included are some of the world's most beloved Christmas melodies--Away In A Manger, Silent Night, Holy Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, and several other favorites--side by side with some of the greatest composers of Western music. Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and Gustav Holst all wrote heartfelt musical tributes to the Christmas season. Most Christmas traditions that we know come from three sources: Germany, England, and the United States. Appropriately, Celestial Christmas 4 focuses on the music of these three countries. The earliest works were collected and published in sixteenth century England, and probably date from medieval times. The most recent are the famous adaptations of Appalachian tunes by the pre-eminent American musicologist John Jacob Niles, published in the 1930s. In addition, traditional Christmas carols from France, Ireland, and Czechoslovakia are included. As with earlier Celestial Christmas recordings, this volume offers a carefully chosen progression of sounds and moods. Like so much music of the Christmas season, these works have an unusually broad appeal, naturally and gracefully bridging the gap between classical and popular music.