CD Ultimate Relaxation Christmas Album (CD 96738),
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Ultimate Relaxation Christmas Album

  • 1. Christmas Bells - Mantovani
    2. Cantique de Nol for voice & orchestra "O Holy Night" - Mantovani
    3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (for the film Meet Me in St. Louis) - London Festival Orchestra/Ronnie Aldrich
    4. White Christmas, song (from "Holiday Inn") - Mantovani
    5. Christmas Waltz, The - London Festival Orchestra/Ronnie Aldrich
    6. Winter Wonderland - London Festival Orchestra/Ronnie Aldrich
    7. Mary's Little Boy Child, song - Mantovani Orchestra/Mantovani/The Sammes Chorus & Singers
    8. Christmas Song, The (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) - London Festival Orchestra/Ronnie Aldrich
    9. O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste fidelis) - Mantovani
    10. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves) - Frank Chacksfield Orchestra
    11. Coventry Carol (2): "Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child" - King's College Choir of Cambridge
    12. Away in a manger (Tune: Cradle Song) (New English Hymnal 22) - Frank Chacksfield Orchestra
    13. In dulci jubilo (Pi Cantiones) - Bach Choir
    14. Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174): Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
    15. Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming), for chorus - Regensburger Domspatzen
    16. Ellens Gesang III ("Ave Maria"), song for voice & piano, D. 839 (Op. 52/6) - Istvn Hajdu
    17. O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) (German) - Vienna Boys' Choir
    18. Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in F minor ("L'inverno," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 4), Op. 8/4, RV 297: Largo - Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Alan Loveday/Neville Marriner
    19. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (adapted by W. H. Cummings from Mendelssohn's Festgesang for the Gutenberg Festival) - Mantovani
    20. I Saw Three Ships - Mantovani
    21. Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7): Sinfonia - Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (from "Christmas Oratorio")
    22. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night) - Mantovani Orchestra
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 472568

  • Credits
    ProducerJoseph S. Szurly (Compilation)

    Includes liner notes by Joseph S. Szurly.
    Personnel: Arthur Grumiaux (violin).
    Liner Note Author: Joseph S. Szurly.
    Directors: Georg Ratzinger; Uwe Christian Harrer; David Willcocks .
    Though it may not intend to, with its title The Ultimate Relaxation Christmas Album addresses one of the biggest paradoxes of the holiday season: ideally, it should be one of the most joyous and relaxing times of the year, but thanks to shopping for gifts, social obligations, and heightened expectations, too often the holidays become stressful instead of pleasant. This collection of soothing instrumental and choral holiday favorites aims to restore some serenity to the season, and on at least one level, it succeeds; the gentle renditions of "O Holy Night," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "The Christmas Waltz" have soft, lush arrangements that are definitely relaxing. However, the arrangements skirt dangerously close to the sappy, string-laden territory of Mantovani, 101 Strings, and countless other easy listening instrumentalists, and the cutesy harp, piano, and xylophone flourishes on many of the tracks threaten to push the album into kitsch. Of course, the Christmas albums by Mantovani, 101 Strings, and the like were hugely popular, and this album's nod to those sweetly bland holiday releases of the past could be intentional, adding to the built-in nostalgia that the season evokes. In some ways, the retro feeling of The Ultimate Relaxation Christmas Album is more refreshing -- and yes, relaxing -- than the new age-tinged holiday albums that may very likely sound nostalgic a few decades down the road. The purely choral selections are simpler and more dignified than most of the intstrumentals on the album, though a few of the orchestral tracks later in the album lose some of the more obvious easy listening tendencies. An ultra-traditional collection, The Ultimate Relaxation Christmas Album could be either stuffy or comforting, depending on your taste in holiday music and, quite possibly, how much eggnog you've had. ~ Heather Phares

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