There’s no two ways about it, the year is winding down and we’re heading into the holiday season. While everyone knows that means Christmas songs will be on the radio imminently, I recently found myself wondering what kind of music the attendees of the first Thanksgiving might have enjoyed.
To my disappointment, and admittedly, the small amount of research available, I find that the Puritans probably weren’t listening to or performing much music in 1621 Plymouth. Puritan beliefs eschewed music for entertainment; they most likely sang musical arrangements of the Psalms exclusively. Most often, a church leader would sing a line of a Psalm, which was then sung repeated back to him by the congregation in a style of singing called “lining out” or “hymn lining.”
In light of the lack of festive Pilgrim Music to be found, I started thinking about music that seems appropriate for the time of year and the point of the holiday and compiled a list of songs that instill a sense of gratitude for the many blessings I experience in life. Maybe a few of them will provide an introspective atmosphere at your Thanksgiving meal this year!
Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, “L’autunno” by Antonio Vivaldi
Thanksgiving by George Winston
The Promise of Living from The Tenderland by Aaron Copland
Variation IX – Nimrod – from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations
For the Beauty of the Earth by Conrad Kocher
Silent Noon by Ralph Vaughan Williams