Holiday Classics/Seattle Symphony

December 10, 2010

silent night seattle

Holiday CD’s are more than plentiful in the marketplace so why would one choose this release? The Seattle Symphony is a first rate orchestra with a first class conductor in Gerard Schwarz, Naxos is always a good value in the market place, and some of the arrangements are unique and well worth having in your collection. Yes you’ll hear five selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, including Overture Miniature, March, selections from Handel’s Water Music which includes the Allegro, Bouree, Air, and Hornpipe. These are all popular selections for a holiday release along with Pachelbel “Canon in D,” “Silent Night,” “Greensleeves,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are/We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”  One of the advantages of this CD lies in the arrangement Schwarz did of “Silent Night” featuring four French horns and Tuba, making this a truly tranquil unique orchestration. The digital recording brings out the individual horns can and the Tuba part enhances the material. The Ben Hausmann arrangement of “Coventry Carol” is so peaceful I found myself closing my eyes and losing my concentration on the first listen, the oboe and solo violin building to an orchestral crescendo before fading into nothing with the tuba quietly ending the piece. “Gesu Bambino,” an Italian version of O Come All Ye Faithful, also is an arrangement from the Principal Oboe Ben Hausmann and does have an Italian flavor without being loud in anyway. Both arrangements by Ben can be put into the plus category. “We Three Kings of Orient Are/We Wish You A Merry Christmas” ends the CD with another good arrangement from Schwarz featuring French Horns and a Bassoon, a nice way to end this CD.

I found this recording an excellent one to have on in the background while preparing for this festive time of the year. Nicely arranged it is a welcome addition to your collection. Recommended. Please note the film clip of Silent Night in the upper left hand corner.

Naxos CD# 8.572673

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il’yich

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: I. Miniature Overture

1.                 The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: I. Miniature Overture 00:03:12

Gruber, Franz Xaver

Schwarz, Gerard, arranger(s)

Stille Nacht (Silent Night) (arr. G. Schwarz)

2.                 Stille Nacht (Silent Night) (arr. G. Schwarz) 00:06:21

Handel, George Frideric

Schwarz, Gerard, arranger(s)

Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: III. Allegro (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra)

3.                  Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: III. Allegro (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra) 00:02:36

Schwarz, Gerard

Variations on Greensleeves

4.                 Variations on Greensleeves 00:04:33

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il’yich

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: II. March

5.                 The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: II. March 00:02:35

Pachelbel, Johann

Canon and Gigue in D major: Canon

6.                 Canon and Gigue in D major: Canon 00:05:11

Redner, Lewis H.

Jones, Samuel, arranger(s)

O Little Town of Bethlehem (arr. S. Jones for orchestra)

7.                 O Little Town of Bethlehem (arr. S. Jones for orchestra) 00:03:42

Handel, George Frideric

Schwarz, Gerard, arranger(s)

Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: VIII. Bourree (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra)

8.                 Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: VIII. Bourree (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra) 00:02:12

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il’yich

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a (excerpts)

9.                 III. Dance of the Sugar – plum Fairy 00:01:45

10.                IV. Russian Dance, “Trepak” 00:01:07

Handel, George Frideric

Schwarz, Gerard, arranger(s)

Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: VI. Air (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra)

11.                Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: VI. Air (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra) 00:03:39

Yon, Pietro

Hausmann, Ben, arranger(s)

Gesu bambino (arr. B. Hausmann for orchestra)

12.                Gesu bambino (arr. B. Hausmann for orchestra) 00:05:21

Handel, George Frideric

Schwarz, Gerard, arranger(s)

Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: IX. Hornpipe (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra)

13.                Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: IX. Hornpipe (edited G. Schwarz for orchestra) 00:02:32

Traditional

Hausmann, Ben, arranger(s)

Coventry Carol (arr. B. Hausmann for orchestra)

14.                Coventry Carol (arr. B. Hausmann for orchestra) 00:04:28

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il’yich

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: VIII. Waltz of the Flowers

15.                The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: VIII. Waltz of the Flowers 00:07:21

Traditional / Hopkins, John Henry Jr.

Schwarz, Gerard, arranger(s)

We Three Kings of Orient Are – We Wish You a Merry Christmas (arr. G. Schwarz for orchestra)

16.                We Three Kings of Orient Are – We Wish You a Merry Christmas (arr. G. Schwarz for orchestra) 00:04:52

Total Playing Time: 01:01:27

 

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