The Christmas Waltz is not the most well known of Christmas classics. But it is a showcase for the marvelous blend of Marc Martel and Amy Grant, who have teamed up again after doing a little Christmas together in 2019. Take a listen:
I’ll be the first to tell you this is not my favorite song of Christmas. But when you have pros like Amy Grant and Marc Martel putting their polish on it this song grows in favor. I quite enjoyed it because of them.
The Christmas Waltz is a Christmas song written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra, who recorded it in 1954 as the B-side of a new recording of “White Christmas”. Maybe that is why I’ve never cared for this song. Sinatra was notorious for his dislike of Christmas music and this was likely a song that got under his skin. It was not his best.
Perhaps this rendition sticks because the tenor of Mark Martel soars so nicely. He’s joyous and a delight to hear. His sharp highs contrast nicely with Amy Grant’s smoky lows and the result is Christmas ambiance that does not get pushed too far by the orchestration. This is a song that is easy to turn into a stage show and whoever mixed it showed great restraint. The result is a dang good Christmasy feel to a tired old song.
As is the case with a lot of Christmas music this one has been covered by a variety of artists, most of the failures marked by the lack of year after year radio play. Nancy Wilson famously made a hit of it and it came out well in renditions by Harry Connick Jr and Kristin Chenoweth.
But Marc Martel and Amy Grant get is just right as a duet. This one could be played year after year.