Bah humbug! This is a trying month for those of us with sensitive ears. Which is worse: the saccharine “holiday” drivel saturating the airwaves, or the ceaseless griping of those cheerless snobs who make a winter sport of proclaiming their distaste for the season’s musical offerings?
It hardly takes a musical genius to wince at the slickly packaged yuletide schlock churned out by aging crooners and fresh-faced pop starlets in time for the shopping season each year. Yet I’ve never quite understood what it means to “hate Christmas music,” as so many broadly claim to do. Must one loathe hymns? (Insensitive!) Or detest Handel? (Impossible!) Is it enough to find Mannheim Steamroller profoundly embarrassing? (Doesn’t everyone?)
It’s easy to poke fun, but, as a recent concert by the New York Festival of Song emphatically proved, there is a good bit to love about Christmas music — especially when you approach it from a firmly Jewish perspective. It’s a pity that there were only two performances (November 29 and December 1 at the Kaufman Center) of “A Goyishe Christmas to You!,” because I’d challenge any Grinch to sit through this festive soiree and not emerge to find his undersized heart bursting with good tidings.