17 December 2009

Christmas Music 12-17-2009

More from the CD collection:

• "A Leroy Anderson Christmas," Leroy Anderson and His Orchestra (except for "Sleigh Ride," done by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops)
Great collection of Christmas music arranged by Leroy Anderson, who is most famous for his arrangement of "Sleigh Ride," which became a Boston Pops signature Christmas tune. Along with "Sleigh Ride" and another Pops perennial, the medley "Christmas Festival," there are medley arrangements for brass, strings, and woodwinds. Great background music for work or party.

• "Perry Como's Greatest Christmas Songs"
Ahhh, Mr. Relaxed himself. After Bing Crosby, Perry Como was my mom's favorite singer, so we heard a lot of Mr. C around our house. This is a nice collection of sacred and secular, all sung in Perry's mellow style, including the two songs that were standards at our house, "I Saw Mommy Kissin' Santa Claus" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Hubby says he grew up on Gene Autry's "Rudolph," but it was Perry's version which held sway in our home.

• "A Christmas Collection", Volumes 1 and 2, Greg Miner
These are two interesting CDs I bought at Daedelus Books in Maryland several years back: Christmas music played on rare or interesting instruments. Along with the usual guitars and lovely things like dulcimers and harps, there are bluegrass-with-banjo arrangements and even some sitar versions of secular and sacred Christmas music. Well worth seeking out if you like unusual Christmas music.

• "Christmas in an Irish Castle," The California Revels
The Revels folks invite you to imagine an old-fashioned Christmas in Ireland: waits, Wren boys, feasting and of course whisky flowing freely! Toe-tapping dance music mixed with more thoughtful sacred melodies and even Irish narrative to help you envision an Irish feast. Sláinte!

• "Christmas Live!", Mannheim Steamroller
Live Christmas concert, with all my favorites (check out a previous post), including "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" and the haunting "Silent Night." Oh, yes. Wish the newest album hadn't featured vocalists. All good vocalists, you understand, but I don't buy Mannheim Steamroller to hear vocals.

• "Christmas Favorites by the Hollyridge Strings"
60s favorites finally released on CD: Christmas instrumentals in a bright, bouncy lounge style. These pieces of music were used as background themes for ages; if you're old enough, you probably remember them on local ads and television commercials. Their version of "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag" is particularly recognizable. Time travel to another era with these smooth Christmas tunes.

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