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A New Century Christmas - New Century Saxophone Quartet


Release Date: 11/14/2000 
Label:  Channel Crossings Catalog #: 14698   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  TraditionalKatherine K. DavisGustav HolstRichard Rodgers,   ... 
Performer:  James BoatmanMichael StephensonBrad HubbardStephen Pollock
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Jared Sacks, the founder and head of Channel Classics, is a fun guy. So it's not surprising that he would record this ostensibly playful celebration of original arrangements of familiar Christmas tunes--performed by, of all things, a saxophone quartet. Except for the warm, mellow (and occasionally biting) sound of the saxophones, not much on this disc is predictable. Skewed rhythms, altered melodies, weird and wild harmonies, a multitude of stylistic settings--and even a few fairly serious, straight-ahead moments--characterize the 19 songs, all of which were commissioned for this occasion by the quartet who asked their composer friends to "write an arrangement of a Christmas tune in your own compositional style, using the tune as much Read more or as little as you desire." The goal was to end with a "re-composition" of the original. Well, if you take the leap and get this CD, you'll have to judge how much re-composing is happening, and whether you can stand this kind of treatment applied to some of your favorite seasonal songs. The quality of the writing and playing is not in question--everyone involved knows what to do and how to do it, and there is much to appreciate and enjoy here--especially if you like a substantial mix of cleverness, inventiveness, craziness, and a bit of tongue-in-cheek attitude in your holiday music

A few of the arrangements, like Little Drummer Boy, go on entirely too long for their inherent interest and originality, and the funked-up rhythm of "Funkin' with the Bells" (known to most of us as "Ring Silver Bells") can unsettle a perfectly happy stomach (depending on how sensitive you are to these things). Some of the titles themselves are a little scary--"The Last Noel", "We Four Kings", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Mensch"--and not everything works in the moment as well as it might have on paper--the end of "My Favorite Things" just dissolves into a bizarre, pointless, chaotic jam. Whatever you bring to this party, you'll nevertheless have to be impressed with the ideas and with their fine execution by these obviously fun-loving players. As usual with Channel Classics, the sound is ideal for music and ensemble, and there are helpful notes in which each composer explains his approach to the songs.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. The first nowell by Traditional
Performer:  James Boatman (Alto Saxophone), Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone), Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone),
Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Lawrence Dillon
This arrangement is titled "The Last Noel." 
2. The Little Drummer Boy "Carol of the Drum" by Katherine K. Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 
Notes: Arranged: David Ott 
3. We wish you a merry Christmas by Traditional
Performer:  Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone), James Boatman (Alto Saxophone),
Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Benjamin Boone 
4. In the bleak mid-winter by Gustav Holst
Performer:  Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone), James Boatman (Alto Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone),
Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1906; England 
Notes: Arranged: Glenn Haynes 
5. The Sound of Music: My favorite things by Richard Rodgers
Performer:  Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone), James Boatman (Alto Saxophone),
Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
Notes: Arranged: Benjamin Boone 
6. Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam
Performer:  Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone), Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone),
James Boatman (Alto Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Notes: Arranged: Lawrence Dillon 
7. God rest ye merry, gentlemen by Traditional
Performer:  Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone), James Boatman (Alto Saxophone),
Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Lenny Picket
This arrangement is titled "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Mensch." 
8. What child is this? by Traditional
Performer:  Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone), Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone),
James Boatman (Alto Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Notes: Arranged: Brad Hubbard 
9. Chorale Preludes (11) for Organ, Op. 122: no 8, Es ist ein Ros entsprungen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  James Boatman (Alto Saxophone), Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone),
Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 
Notes: Arranged: Arthur Frackenpohl 
10. O little town of Bethlehem by Lewis H. Redner
Performer:  James Boatman (Alto Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone), Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone),
Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; USA 
Notes: Arranged: David Ott 
11. Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Performer:  James Boatman (Alto Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone), Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone),
Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Notes: Arranged: Gordon Goodwin 
12. Carol of the Bells by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Written: Ukraine 
Notes: This selection is arranged by Lenny Picket and re-titled "Funkin' with
the Bells." 
13. We three kings by John Henry Hopkins Jr.
Performer:  Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone), Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone), James Boatman (Alto Saxophone),
Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Benjamin Boone
This arrangement is titled "We Four Kings." 
14. In dulci jubilo, BWV 368 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Boatman (Alto Saxophone), Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone),
Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Notes: Arranged: Arthur Frackenpohl 
15. Santa Claus is comin' to town by John Frederic Coots
Performer:  Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone), Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone), James Boatman (Alto Saxophone),
Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Notes: This selection was written in collaboration with Fred Coots.
Arranged: Ken Valitsky 
16. Musae Sioniae: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen by Michael Praetorius
Performer:  James Boatman (Alto Saxophone), Michael Stephenson (Soprano Saxophone), Brad Hubbard (Baritone Saxophone),
Stephen Pollock (Tenor Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Saxophone Quartet
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1609; Germany 
Notes: Arranged: Glenn Haynes 

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