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The Music of Christmas / Dragon, Hollywood Bowl


Release Date: 11/09/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 66087   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  TraditionalWilliam James KirkpatrickFelix MendelssohnHenry Walford Davies,   ... 
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 39 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Another nostalgic treasure for the holidays is Carmen Dragon's classic recording of his own arrangements, The Music of Christmas, performed by the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra and recorded at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios in 1957. First released on LP in 1958, it was issued on CD (briefly) 40 years later but has since been out of print. It's a Hollywood Bowl Christmas, and ArkivMusic is thrilled to finally reissue this holiday classic.

The breathless, sweet expectancy of Silent Night, the reverent organ chords of O, Little Town of Bethlehem, the triumphant horns and bells of The First Noel, and the progression of O Tannenbaum from toy-shop quaintness to a magnificent finale, exemplify the vibrant symphonic setting in
Read more which this beloved music is presented. All of the carols respond warmly to Mr. Dragon's expert and sympathetic treatment, and the program which results is an unusually fresh and ardent testament to one of the world's most cherished traditions.

While most of the carols resemble one another in their mood of glad rejoicing, they differ greatly as to their origin and inspiration. Some, such as Deck the Halls, seem to be of pagan derivation. And Mendelssohn originally wrote the music of what is now Hark! the Herald Angels Sing in honor of Johann Gutenberg and the invention of printing. But whatever its lineage, from the most ancient Celtic shepherd's song to the more recent Christmas hymns of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, each carol has contributed to the total significance and splendor of Christendom's great day.

"I have often thought," Joseph Addison wrote in the Spectator, back in the seventeenth century, "it happens very well that Christmas should fallout in the middle of Winter." And a century later, Sir Walter Scott added, "A Christmas gambol oft could cheer/The poor man's heart through half the year." In the days when bitter weather and widespread hunger were real problems, Christmas cheer and Christmas carols sparked a glow in the hearts of men that warmed them through the long grey winter months. We of the twentieth century have our own, though different, problems and we need the comfort and the hope, the faith and the promise of the Christmas carols as urgently as our long-ago forebears did. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
O Tannenbaum by Traditional
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Written: Westphalia, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
2.
Away in a manger by William James Kirkpatrick
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
3.
Festgesang "Hark! The herald angels sing" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
4.
Carol of the Bells by Traditional
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Written: Ukraine 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
5.
O little town of Bethlehem by Henry Walford Davies
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
6.
It came upon the midnight clear by Richard Storrs Willis
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
7.
Joy to the World by Lowell Mason
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
8.
God rest ye merry, gentlemen by Traditional
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
9.
Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
10.
The first nowell by Traditional
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
11.
Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 6/1957 
12.
Deck the Halls by Traditional
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Written: Wales, UK 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 
13.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1957 
Notes: Arranged: Carmen Dragon 

Featured Sound Samples

O Tannenbaum (Traditional)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Mendelssohn)
Joy to the World (Mason)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  7 Customer Reviews )
 The Music of Christmas January 7, 2015 By Linda H. Goddard (Reno, NV) See All My Reviews "A wonderful symphonic poem of cherished Christmas melodies masterfully executed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the expressive guidance of Director Carmen Dragon. A real gem. Glad I bought it." Report Abuse
 Wonderful Orchestral Christmas December 31, 2014 By Martin H. (Gilbert, AZ) See All My Reviews "Carmen Dragon was one heck of a great arranger. Every arrangement on this disk shows off his skill and the great virtuosity of the orchestra. I don't know if anyone today would make arrangements of this type, and maybe they can't, but the influence of Hollywood scoring is clear. Dragon can be very sensitive and moving; try Silent Night. Or quite humorous - try the ending of the Carol of the Bells as he passes the tune down the orchestra which is ended with the contrabassoon. A product of it's time, they don't make recordings like this anymore. Hopefully, this disk would ignite some orchestras to play these marvelous arrangements (they are available for rent)." Report Abuse
 Full, rich, Majestic... December 19, 2014 By D. Rogers (Burlington,, ON) See All My Reviews "This reissue of a 1950's vinyl album is magnificent. The carols are beautifully interpreted by Mr.Dragon; and the iconic Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra is at it's very best. Brilliant clarity, and a very rich, lush sound. If you only had one Christmas album, this would be your best choice." Report Abuse
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