Concert Notes - Holidays 2017

A Christmas Festival

Leroy Anderson 

Christmastime officially starts when you hear the familiar sounds of A Christmas Festival (1950) in stores and on the radio! Leroy Anderson combines several of the most cherished holiday songs and carols into this piece, making it a well-known favorite of many. 

 

Carol of the Drum

Katherine K. Davis, arr. Floyd E. Werle

Also known under the title "The Little Drummer Boy," Carol of the Drum (1941) is the most recognized and beloved of composer Katherine Davis' works, which include more than 600 total compositions. Davis originally published Carol of the Drum under the pseudonym C. R. W. Robertson.

 

Fum, Fum, Fum

Traditional, arr. Chip Davis and Robert Longfield

Fum, Fum, Fum (2001) is based on a traditional Christmas carol from Catalonia, which is located in the northeastern region of modern-day Spain.  Mannheim Steamroller's Chip Davis and Robert Longfield provide this enchanting arrangement of the carol, which dates back to the 16th & 17th centuries. 

 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Albert Hague and Eugene Poddany, arr. Larry Clark

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966; arr. 1996) compilation of all the famous melodies from the perennial cartoon special by Dr. Seuss! Included in this arrangement is the song You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, with its menacing melody starting in the low woodwinds, then carried over to the brass section.

 

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Edward Pola and George Wyle, arr. Chris Sharp

Chris Sharp's arrangement of the song It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (1963. arr. 2009) is another standard that signals the start of the holiday season. George Wyle, one of the song's original composers, is also the writer of the theme song to Gilligan's Island.

 

Minor Alterations No. 2 "Carols From The Dark Side"

David Lovrien

Minor Alterations No. 2 "Carols From The Dark Side"  (2010) is Lovrien's second work containing a series of familiar holiday-themed songs transposed from major to minor keys. Be sure to listen for the numerous allusions to other well-known classical works in this intriguing piece!

 

Sleigh Ride

Leroy Anderson

Sleigh Ride (1948) is yet another of composer Leroy Anderson's timeless Christmas classics. The ASCAP has designated Sleigh Ride as the most popular piece of Christmas music in the United States 5 times since the year 2009!

 

Stars and Stripes for Christmas

John Philip Sousa, arr. Robert E. Foster

Christmas meets the Fourth of July with Foster's charming arrangement Stars and Stripes for Christmas (2003) that takes the Christmas melodies Jingle Bells, Hallelujah Chorus, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Angels We Have Heard on High, and weaves in Sousa's patriotic favorite Stars and Stripes Forever.

 

The Eighth Candle - Prayer and Dance for Hanukkah

Steve Reisteter

The Eighth Candle - Prayer and Dance for Hanukkah (1997) is an inspiring and powerful arrangement of musical themes that celebrate the story of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, during which a candle is lit for each night of the eight-day celebration.

 

Up on a Housetop

Benjamin Hanby, arr. Jeff Simmons

Up on the Housetop (1864; arr. 1998) is an amusing, whimsical take on the traditional Christmas favorite, featuring all the toys in the percussion cabinet! Originally written in 1864, Up on the Housetop is considered to be the second-oldest secular Christmas song, the first being Jingle Bells.

 

Variations on a French Carol

Matthew C. Saunders

Saunders found his inspiration for Variations on a French Carol (2009) during organist Jozef Sluys' performance of Variations sur un Noel (1922) by Marcel Dupre while on a visit to Germany. In this unique work, Saunders uses the concert band setting to emulate the characteristic stylings of an organ.

 

Variations on a Shaker Melody from Appalachian Spring

Aaron Copland

Variations on a Shaker Melody (1958) is Copland's arrangement of his earlier work, Appalachian Spring, which was originally commissioned in 1944 as a ballet for a thirteen-member chamber orchestra. Copland was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for in 1945 for this work, which contains the beloved melody widely known to many as Simple Gifts