With the Big Day In looming and many still pondering gift lists, why not make Christmas 2005 a celebration of the fine music being made in this country?

Pavarotti and Jacqueline Du Pre will find happy homes without any vouchsafing from me and, predictably, Hayley Westenra's odious Odyssey has been re-packaged with six extra tracks to ensnare the hardcore Haleyites.

And if you want traditional carols, look no further than the Choir of King's College Cambridge with 38 of the best on its new Decca double CD.

For Kiwi choral, try The Graduate Choir's My Spirit Sang All Day (Atoll 105) and be rewarded with inspired Debussy and inspirational Bruckner, not to mention rousing gospel.

If you have not heard Terence Maskell's terrific choir, they are in the Town Hall Concert Chamber this Sunday afternoon with a Christmas concert.

Then there's the genial Jonathan Lemalu in Love Blows as the Wind Blows (EMI 58076), with pianist Malcolm Martineau and the Belcea Quartet. Anyone who can slip from Barber's poignant Dover Beach to ever so subtly barbed lullabies by Richard Rodney Bennett is indeed a mastersinger.

There are two CDs for the organ brigade. Kemp English's Stormin Norma 2 (Ode MANU 5009) is four-manual fun as English struts "Norma", the mighty Dunedin Town Hall Organ, through everything from Maple Leaf Rag to Largo al factotum - and Norma proves herself the gamest of old girls.

Martin Setchell is at the Christchurch Town Hall instrument for his Pink and White (Atoll 605). There are barnstormers in this collection of New Zealand music, but some tracks are as delicate as the Hoyte watercolour on its cover.

A Lilburn's Prelude and Fugue is all cool, moss-banked serenity, while Jack Body's Tui, Korimako and Kokako, pitting actual birdsong against chiming harmonies, is a fragile wonder.

Sharon Joy Vogan playing Anthony Ritchie's Piano Preludes (Atoll 504) has the piano field to herself.

One is struck by Ritchie's authority in such a range of styles, and the artistry and expertise that Vogan and producer Wayne Laird have put into catching them.

Those looking for homegrown chamber music won't want to miss the New Zealand Trio's Spark (Trust MMT 2066).

Its Gretchen Albrecht cover should prick your interest. Sample the music of Gareth Farr, John Psathas and the four other composers, and you will be hooked.

Adventurous listeners may also want to catch up with Ashley Brown, the trio's cellist, on Mahinarangi Tocker's The Mongrel in Me (Jayrem CDJAY 396).

Tocker's musical whanau also includes singer Shona Laing and composers Ross Harris and David Downes, and the double-disc set is a winner.

On the orchestral side, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's partnership with Naxos has produced three first-rate outings this year.

First up was a collection of works from Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe featuring William Barton on didgeridoo, a powerful, primal album, the spirit of which is summed up by its title, Earth Cry (Naxos 8.557382)

And, hot off the press, are two Piano Concertos by Ferdinand Ries (Naxos 8.557638). Austrian Christopher Hinterhuber is a stylish soloist and Auckland's own Uwe Grodd draws idiomatic, sparkling performances from the orchestra.

The music itself is halfway house between Beethoven and Chopin, with a few ripples from Weber on the side, heard at its very best in the two slow movements.

Finally, Wayne Laird wins the prize for the most adventurous disc of the year in Len Lye: Composing Motion (Atoll 305).

Laird has taken his mikes to New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and caught the jingle, jangle, chug and swish of Lye's kinetic sculptures.

The rewards of Laird's sonic TLC are many and various. The whiplashes of Sea Serpent might chill the soul, but the gentle whirr and tinkle of Roundhead had the tui in my walnut tree chorusing in summery duet.