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A Family Christmas / Bell, Royal Scottish National Orchestra & Junior Chorus


Release Date: 09/14/2010 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 202   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leroy AndersonRobert KayeTraditionalKatherine K. Davis
Conductor:  Christopher Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National OrchestraRoyal Scottish National Junior Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a full-fat orchestral celebration recorded in tirelessly rapturous sound – engineering team take a bow. It starts with a lavish Leroy Anderson confection that, with a smile, tracks skilfully from tin pan alley to traditional favourite carols. Even Adeste Fideles is made to square up to Sousa. Christmas Alphabet introduces us to the choir who sing with just the right infusion of caramel, vigour and soft-shoe smooch. More of the same in the nicely rapped out The Little Drummer Boy with delightful woodwind curlicues. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star has a rather tasty collision with Star Trek and the choir play their part alongside a breathy treble solo. Back to Leroy Anderson for his Sleigh Ride performed here with no-holds barred and Read more with accelerator foot planted right down. One of the joys of this sort of anthology is the chance of discovery. I already knew Bob Chilcott’s work or some of it. His Hey! Now is irresistible in its play with Medievalism and frosty Mathias-influenced writing – reminds me of This Worlde’s Joie and a little of RVW. Personent Hodie is another traditionally-flavoured charmer in which the harp buoys up the choir who are recorded with full lissom tone. Victor Herbert’s March of the Toys from the musical Babes in Toyland is from the same region as the dance music of Waldteufel and Tchaikovsky. The Twelve Days of Christmas by John Rutter rushes through the days up to the rapturously golden rings. Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is a Christmas perennial and the two extracts - Sandman’s Song and Evening Prayer – make for an operatic touch to the experience of this disc. John Williams’ Somewhere in My Memory shows this master tune-smith’s skills and his abilities to make any orchestra billow and swell. Waldteufel’s Skaters’ Waltz is romantic stately. Stable Carol by Vaughan Meakins recalls an Austrian bucolic scene and the little ‘wow’ the choir adds is enchanting. Philip Lane’s cherishable Sleighbell Serenade makes a nice companion to Jingle Bells and various other snowy sleigh-rides. Panis Angelicus is soupy and is sung with aristocratic wonder. It makes for contrast. Blood moves through the veins again with the swift-pulsed This Little Babe. Daniel Harrison has the bells ring out in Christmas Hope – a wonderful new carol. A touch of Hollywood here but nothing at all amiss or miscalculated. The Penguin Song by Stannard/Lucy W Rhu is a light-hearted quick-march offering for the children and the booklet offers arm and dance movements. Jingle Bells is sung with romping zest and a shout. Schneewalzer by Thomas Koschat sways and waltzes amid a glistening vision of Vienna.

– Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

Tracklist:
1 A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson [6.02]
2. Christmas Alphabet by Buddy Kaye/Jules Loman [3.05]
3. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star - Traditional [4.54] (Roshni Mansfield (verse 1); Charlotte McKechnie (verse 2); Julie Aitken (verse 3))
4. The Little Drummer Boy by Simeone/Davis/Onorati [2.39]
5. Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson [2.41]
6. Hey! Now by Bob Chilcott [1.48]
7. Personent Hodie - Traditional [2.11]
8. March of the Toys from Babes in Toyland by Victor Herbert/Glen MacDonough [3.46]
9. The Twelve Days of Christmas by John Rutter [3.47]
10. Sandman’s Song and Evening Prayer from Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck [5.11]
11. Somewhere in My Memory by John Williams [3.02]
12. Skaters’ Waltz by Emile Waldteufel [6.47]
13. Stable Carol by Vaughan Meakins [4.40]
14. Sleighbell Serenade from Three Christmas Pictures by Philip Lane [3.01]
15. Panis Angelicus by César Franck [3.27] (soloist: Niall Docherty)
16. This Little Babe from A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten [1.28]
17. Christmas Hope by Daniel Harrison [2.54]
18. The Penguin Song by Stannard/Lucy W Rhu [2.24]
19. Jingle Bells by James Lord Pierpont [1.56] (soloist: Charlotte McKechnie)
20. Schneewalzer by Thomas Koschat [3.04]

RSNO Junior Chorus
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Christopher Bell
rec. 14-15 September 2009, RSNO Centre, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow
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Works on This Recording

1.
A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson
Conductor:  Christopher Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Junior Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
2.
Christmas Alphabet by Robert Kaye
Conductor:  Christopher Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Junior Chorus
3.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Traditional
Conductor:  Christopher Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Junior Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: Europe 
4.
The Little Drummer Boy "Carol of the Drum" by Katherine K. Davis
Conductor:  Christopher Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Junior Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 
5.
Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson
Conductor:  Christopher Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Junior Chorus

Featured Sound Samples

A Christmas Festival (Anderson)
Jingle Bells (Pierpont)

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