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The Gift of Music | CDs | Music for Christmas | Winter Wonderland
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Winter WonderlandChristmas favourites from the 20s to the 40sA heady mix of superb recordings, lovingly restored from the early days of the Christmas hit before the commercial world really took hold of the music business! Innocence and a just a hint of sentimentality were the musical flavours of the day in these lovely arrangements of some of our favourite carols and Christmas songs.1 The Santa Claus express BBC Dance Orchestra2 Here comes Santa Bing Crosby 3 Savoy Christmas medley New Mayfair Orchestra4 Swingin' them jingle bells Fats Waller and his Rhythm5 Twas the night before Christmas Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians6 Winter Wonderland Lew Stone and his Band 7 Say it with carols Billy Mayerl8 Have yourself a merry little Christmas Judy Garland 9 I'm sending a letter to Santa Claus Cyril Grantham 10 Christmas Love Gracie Fields 11 The First Noel St Bernard's C.D.S. Choir 12 God rest ye, merry gentlemen Royal Choral Society 13 Jingle bells Bing Crosby 14 Mistletoe kiss Primo Scala 15 Good King Wenceslas St Bernard's C.D.S. Choir 16 Away in a manger Anne Shelton 17 O come, all ye faithful Deanna Durbin 18 Joy to the world Dick Haymes 19 Hark, the herald angels sing Celebrity Quartet 20 Twelve days of Christmas Bing Crosby CDG1223Cover image: Cover of 'Vogue' Magazine December 1929 Georges Lepape (1887-1971) Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France/Archives Charmet/The Bridgeman Art LibraryThis compilation P & C 2009 Classical Communications LtdMade in Great BritainWinter WonderlandChristmas favourites from the 20s to the 40sChristmas comes at a time when the weather is, generally, at its coldest and most uninviting, yet for millions of us around the world it is a season full of warmth. The traditional images of Christmas play their part - the welcoming open fire with the Yule log crackling away and the plum pudding ablaze with brandy - but its true essence lies in the feelings of togetherness that we share with our family, friends and fellow human beings. So we invite you to enter the world of Christmases past and to reacquaint yourselves with the stars of yesteryear and their unforgettable recordings of seasonal favourites that brightened our lives in a time that was much more innocent and far less hurried.For many of us, Christmas would not be Christmas without Bing Crosby. He, after all, gave us one of the greatest and timeless of all Christmas favourites 'White Christmas' (see CCL CDG1156). Crosby collaborated with many musicians and film stars during his long career, including Gene Autry, a familiar name from 'Westerns', who co-wrote 'Here Comes Santa' in 1947. An American schoolteacher, James S. Pierpoint wrote 'Jingle Bells' in 1857 for a Sunday school entertainment. For youngsters then, one of their happiest activities was 'riding in a one horse sleigh' (the tune's original title) Bing gives the song his usual, rich treatment in similar (slightly sentimental?) vein to his version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' which is the final track of this selection.Other famous names represented here include Fats Waller, Fred Waring and Lew Stone, all leading superb dance bands in swinging Christmas songs. Primo Scala sings 'Mistletoe Kiss'. The New Mayfair Orchestra's recording, 'Savoy Christmas medley' is one of the oldest recordings here, with a true 20s sound.One of the most tender moments in the 1944 film 'Meet Me in St.Louis' was Judy Garland singing 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas', written by those veterans Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. It has become one of the most enduringly popular of all Christmas songs. From 1939, the inimitable Geraldo and his vocalist Cyril Grantham bring us a beautiful ballad 'I'm writing a Letter to Santa Claus', composed by Spencer Williams and "Our Gracie" Gracie Fields sings a delightful Walter Ridley composition 'Christmas Love'. 'The First Nowell', a traditional carol, is perfectly captured by The St .Bernard's Choir.The Royal Choral Society, in another famous vintage recording, remind us just what a superb ensemble they are with 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen', the roots of which can be traced back to the 16th century. The St. Bernard's Choir celebrates the benevolence of a medieval Bohemian monarch in the very traditional-sounding 'Good King Wenceslas'. Three favourite singing stars bring their contributions to these tidings of joy. First published anonymously in 1885, 'Away in a Manger', sung most appealingly by Anne Shelton, had its melody added some ten years later. And the dignity of Deanna Durbin, everyone's film sweetheart, is in typically superb form, with 'O Come , All Ye Faithful', a 17th century carol that had English words added by Frederick Oakeley in 1782.Dick Haymes sings 'Joy to the World', with a noble tune probably written by Handel.
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