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The Golden Age Of Light Music: Christmas Celebration


Release Date: 11/08/2011 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 5185   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  James PierpontJohn Henry Hopkins Jr.Felix MendelssohnTraditional,   ... 
Conductor:  Billy VaughnPercy FaithGeorge MelachrinoAngela Morley,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A Christmas Bentley adorns the front cover of this seasonal offering. It’s in British Racing Green, the finest colour in the world, and is bedecked with the choicest boxes of presents. It’s not unlike this CD in fact, which offers an Anglo-American Christmas in recordings culled from a tightly focused two years; 1958-59.

That said, the lion’s share is taken by Stateside bands. Percy Faith and Billy Vaughn score highly, and the Boston Pops come a strong third behind them. Britain throws up stalwart offerings from Melachrino and Mantovani
Read more and Wally Stott. Once again the compilers have gone very coy by calling the last named Angela Morley with the rider ‘Wally Stott on LP label’. Surely we all know by now that he had a sex change operation in 1972, but was previously known exclusively as Wally Stott. Wouldn’t it be more accurate and appropriate to write ‘Wally Stott (subsequently Angela Morley)’ or something like that?

Most of the recordings here are very popular indeed. Most of the tunes too, obviously. Listening to them again, a few things struck me. There’s a very Grand Guignol start to Percy Faith’s We Three Kings but it manages to turn nobly stirring too. His work on Angels from the Realms of Glory, a traditional nineteenth century English carol threatens at any minute to turn into a Ron Goodwin flypast march. A celestial choir appropriately enlivens Hark The Herald Angels Sing, albeit a portentous organ and cascading strings rather takes it away from its carol origins under a welter of business. It’s a recurring conundrum; how to clothe these well loved pieces? Melachrino’s answer is to submerge Good King Wenceslas under a blancmange of bells, brassy climaxes, stirring string/bell exchanges and then to lay on a Stokowskian blitzkrieg at the lines ‘gathering winter fuel’, before deciding to swing the thing to a conclusion.

In the face of this Stott’s (or Morley’s) arrangement of Snowfall is ingeniously subtle, whilst Percy Faith’s for The First Noel goes more for fulsome brassiness—itself attractive. Vaughn’s Adeste Fideles is reverential, devoid of kitsch, and his It Came Upon The Midnight Clear gets a chest swelling orchestration. Melachrino redeems himself via Philadelphia Orchestra-rich string tone in God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, complete with chattering winds and harp. Mantovani unleashes his shimmering strings in Waldteufel’s Waltz and we end with Faith’s arrangement of the Hallelujah Chorus.

This early Festive offering offers plenty of good cheer and as is well known, it’s never too early to slip something nice into your stocking.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Jingle Bells by James Pierpont
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
2.
We three kings by John Henry Hopkins Jr.
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
3.
Festgesang "Hark! The herald angels sing" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
4.
Good King Wenceslas by Traditional
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
5.
Snowfall by Claude Thornhill
Conductor:  Angela Morley
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
6.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Johnny Marks
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
7.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Thomas ("Tommie") P. Conn
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Period: Modern 
Written: 1952; United States of Ame 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
8.
Holiday Inn: White Christmas by Irving Berlin
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
9.
The first nowell by Traditional
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
10.
Joy to the World by Lowell Mason
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
11.
Nazareth by Traditional
Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
12.
Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
13.
Deck the Halls by Traditional
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Written: Wales, UK 
Length: 1 Minutes 37 Secs. 
14.
Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
15.
Fairy on the Christmas Tree by Harry Parr-Davies
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Period: Modern 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
16.
Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
17.
Christmas Sleigh Bells, for orchestra (after the Romance and Troika from Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kij by Angela Morley
Conductor:  Angela Morley
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
18.
Santa Claus is comin' to town by John Frederic Coots
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
19.
Christmas Alphabet, song by Buddy Kaye
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
20.
God rest ye merry, gentlemen by Traditional
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
21.
Carol of the Bells by Mykola Dmytrovich Leontov
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: Modern 
Written: 1910; Ukraine 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
22.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
23.
I Saw Three Ships, carol by Traditional
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1666; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
24.
O little town of Bethlehem by Lewis H. Redner
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
25.
Angels from the realms of glory by Traditional
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
26.
Christians awake! salute the happy morn by John Wainwright
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: Classical 
Written: England 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
27.
O Tannenbaum by Traditional
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Written: Westphalia, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
28.
Les patineurs, Op. 183 by Emil Waldteufel
Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
29.
Messiah, HWV 56: Hallelujah! by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
30.
It came upon the midnight clear by Richard Storrs Willis
Conductor:  Billy Vaughn
Period: Romantic 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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