Christmas 2021 (17): VA – American Christmas Volume 1 (1998)

FrontCover1Wavemusic is the music and design label and international brand of the German/US music company California Sunset Records, based in Hamburg and Los Angeles.

The label was founded in 1997 by Michael van Droffelaar (aka Michael van Droff) in Hollywood – from the idea of releasing CD compilations to bring the US smooth jazz scene into the public consciousness in Europe. In cooperation with jazz festivals such as Montreux or the German Rheingau Festival, California Sunset Records organised concerts and implemented the first Wavemusic radio broadcasts, especially in Germany and Luxembourg. The company also released productions by newcomers in the fields of sophisticated pop, jazz, soul and electro-lounge.

Since 2011, wavemusic has been the organiser of the open-air event series Public Chill. Events with free admission have already taken place throughout Germany in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Heiligenhafen, St. Peter Ording, Cologne and Frankfurt. The first Public Chill was held at Buhne 16 on the island of Sylt. (wikipedia)

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So, if you like Lounge/Chill Out Jazz … then this album is just the right thing. The booklet is completely in German.

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Tracklist:
01. Resolution: What Child Is This 5.00
02. Leslie Paula: Let It Snow 3.07
03. Tim Kobza feat. Sean Holt: The Christmas Song 4.52
04. Tim Kobza feat Sean Holt: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 4.23
05. Slim Man: All I Want For Christmas 3.41
06. Leslie Paula: Blue Year Resolution 4.10
07. Bradley Kapture: Questions Of The Heart 4.14
08. Clair Marlo: All I Want ( The Christmas Gift) 4.41
09. Ulla van Daelen: Greensleeves 4.41
10. Tim Kobza feat. Alison Wedding: Silent Night 4.21

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Christmas 2021 (16): The London Sound 70 Orchestra And Chorus – The Sounds Of Christmas (1970)

FrontCover1The London Sound 70 was a pure studio project with a lot of unknown studio musicians … under this name some LP’s were released at that time.

And here is their Christmas album … and it is one of the best easy listening albums with Christmas music I have ever heard.

And so I dedicate this post to all those unknown studio musicians who gave us this music …

This album is not only a rarity, but also a damn good album….listen for example to ” Twelve Days Of Christmas “!

Listen to the album to convince yourself !

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Personnel:
The London Sound 70 Orchestra And Chorus

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Tracklist:
01. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 3.47
02. I Saw Three Ships 2.45
03. Happy Holiday 3.07
04. Silent Night 3.19
05. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 2.26
06. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) 3.34
07. Little Donkey 3.35
08. The Little Drummer Boy 3.18
09. Mary’s Little Boy Child 2.48
10. Jingle Bells 2.00
11. All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) 2.49
12. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer 2.22
13. Sleigh Ride 2.45
14. Twelve Days Of Christmas 2.56
15. O, Tannenbaum 2.15
16. Christmas Alphabet 2.09
17. Deck The Hall 2.49
18. White Christmas 2.07
19. The First Noel 3:08
20. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 3:07
21. Silver Bells 3.14
22. The Holly And The Ivy 3.31
23. I’ll Be Home For Christmas 2.47
24. Frosty The Snowman 2.16
25.I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day 2.32
26. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen 2:.35
27. Oh, Little Town Of Bethlehem 2.51
28. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town 2.39
29. Adeste Fideles (Oh Come, All Ye Faithful) 3.55
30. Winter Wonderland 2.17

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Christmas 2021 (15): Andrej Hermlin & His Swing Dance Orchestra – Christmas In Swing (2002)

FrontCover1Andrej Hermlin (* 21 September 1965 in Berlin) is a German pianist and bandleader.
Hermlin was born the son of the writer Stephan Hermlin. Hermlin grew up bilingual through his Russian-born mother Irina Belokoneva-Hermlin.

Hermlin received his first piano lessons at the age of seven. After graduating from the Carl-von-Ossietzky-Oberschule in Berlin-Pankow, he studied piano at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin from 1986 to 1990. He learned the style of swing he plays autodidactically. In 1986 he founded the Swing Dance Band, from which the Swing Dance Orchestra emerged in 1995, and with which he has since acted as bandleader. Hermlin has released more than ten CDs with this formation to date (as of 2014) and has performed with it regularly, both nationally and internationally. The Swing Dance Orchestra plays swing in the style of the 1930s, partly with original equipment, such as desks from that time, and mostly unamplified – only the vocals are amplified and picked up with microphones with a historical look (but modern inner workings).

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Andrej Hermlin became known beyond music when he was imprisoned there on terror charges after the 2008 presidential election in Kenya. Hermlin had previously supported the democracy movement and the candidate Raila Odinga, with whom he is friends. In the village of Thumaita, 130 kilometres from Nairobi, he has built an Art Deco-style house with his wife Joyce. He is involved in the community and has had the village wired, streetlights erected and rubbish collection organised.

Hermlin joined the PDS in February 1990 because of the reforms in the party and as a supporter of Gorbachev “when everyone else had left.” For a time he was a member of the Berlin state executive of the PDS and a candidate for the House of Representatives. Since the formation of the party Die Linke, he has been a member there and regularly appears at its events. Due to his interest in historical aviation, Hermlin supported a petition for a referendum by the Berlin CDU in 2007 to keep Tempelhof Airport open.
With Bei mir bist du scheen, Hermlin specially designed a programme of swing pieces by Jewish musicians to protest against anti-Semitism.

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Hermlin and his wife Joyce had two children. His son David Hermlin and his daughter Rachel Hermlin perform as singers and dancers with their father’s orchestra. Andrej Hermlin lives in Berlin-Niederschönhausen in the house where his father had lived and where he had grown up. The furnishings of the house are the same as in 1927, but modernised. The furniture dates from 1930-1960. The Biermann affair had begun in the living room of the house; Hermlin’s father Stephan had written a petition against expatriation, which was signed by twelve people in the living room. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a wonderful Christmas Swong album … with all these American classic Christmas tunes …

… played by a German Big Band …  Music knows no borders !

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Personnel:
Hendrik Bruch (vocals)
Robert Göber (bass)
Bettina Hermlin (vocals)
Andrej Hermlin (piano)
Dirk Schelenz (guitar)
Michael Wirth (drums)
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saxophone, clarinet:
Frank Bach – Raymond Merkel – Grégoire Peters – Finn Wiesner

trumpet:
Achim Rothe – Jörg Von Nolting – Jürgen Hahn

trombone:
Frank Hultzsch – Jan Diller – Stefan Katzenbeier
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Maxi Hübner (vocals on 10.)
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The Nightingales (background vocals on 03.)

Alternate frontcover:
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Tracklist:
01. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) 3.56
02. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Kent/Ram/Gannon) 3.37
03. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 3.57
04. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Cahn/Styne) 3.36
05. Mistletoe And Holly (Stanford/Sanicola/Sinatra) 3.37
06. Sleigh Ride (Anderson) 2.42
07. White Christmas (Berlin) 4.32
08. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 3.31
09. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 3.24
10. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connor) 3.45
11. The Christmas Song (Wells/Tormé) 4.50
12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.47
13. The Christmas Time I Miss (Carey/Afanasieff) 3.35

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The official website:
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Christmas 2021 (14): Greg Joy & Mark Bracken – A Magical Christmas (1991)

FrontCover1What a beautiful Christms album:

Canadian guitar player/producer Greg Joy was born in Victoria.

His love for the folk music of the British Isles led him to the Victoria Music Conservatory in the late ’70s to study classical guitar.

He has performed with a myriad of both Celtic and worldbeat groups, and has released numerous collections of Christmas and Celtic music of his own. (by James Christopher Monger)

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Together with multi-instrumentalist Mark Bracken and some friends he recorded this wonderful Christmas album.

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This album introduced me to the duo of Greg Joy and Mark Bracken, and what a blessing it is! “A Magical Celtic Christmas” is a beautiful instrumental album in the Celtic tradition. Among the tracks are favorites such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “The First Noel,” “Silent Night,” and “Away in a Manger” as well as some not-so-familiar tunes like “Hey Ho, Nobody’s Home,” “St. Basil’s Hymn” and “Gaudete.” It is very relaxing and, despite the title, a great album for anytime of the year. Of course, there is something “magical” about it that makes it the perfect background music for a traditional Christmas gathering, or just for a cold winter’s night in front of the fire with a mug of hot cider watching the snow fall. (Kevin Maze)

“A Magical Celtic Christmas” from Greg Joy and Mark Bracken is yet another addition in the seemingly endless array of Celtic holiday albums on the already crowded shelf. Thankfully, Joy and Bracken are masterful folk musicians and always welcome. Offering a traditional sound and balancing popular tunes with lesser-known ones, they excel here. This is easily one of the better Celtic Christmas albums on the market, especially if you are trying to avoid “Celtic” takes on pop songs about Santa. Highly recommended. (Kevin M. Derby)

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Personnel:
Mark Bracken (guitar, dulcimer, psyaltery, keyboards, harp)
Greg Joy (guitar, dulcimer)
Jeehoon Kim (cello)
Lori Pappajoh (flute)
Norman Stanfield (recorder)

Alternate frontcover:
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Tracklist:
01. O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Traditional) 5.45
02. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Traditional) 4.10
03. Entre Le Boeuf Et L’ane Gris (Close By The Ox And The Ass So Grey) (Traditional) 2.59
04. The First Noel (Traditional) 3.38
05. I Wonder As I Wander (Niles) 4.26
06. St. Basil’s Hymn (Traditional) 3.43
07. Hey Ho, Nobody’s Home (Traditional) 3.13
08. Deck The Halls (Traditional) 2.33
09. Away In A Manger (Traditional) 3.56
10. We Three Kings Of Orient Are (Traditional) 4.24
11. Silent Night (Gruber) 4.49
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12. Coventry Carol (Traditional) 3.27
13. Gaudete (Traditional) 2.46

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Christmas 2021 (13): New York Jazz Lounge – Merry Christmas (2016)

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And here´s another fine Christmas Jazz Lounge album, recorded ny unknown studio musicians … but it´s a real nice album:

Man….this was a great find! I’ve listened to this every day while out shopping or sitting at my desk working from home….i draw the curtains back and watch the snow fall , sip hot coffee, and listen to this album. Really great performance (Beatnik Records)

My mum always puts this music on in the kitchen while cooking. I could honestly repeat it of by heart by now (by vonne sas

This entry is dedicated to all these unknown studio musicians who give us so much joy !

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Personnel:
a bunch of unknown studio musicians

Christmas Jazz Lounge01Tracklist:
01. Frosty The Snow Man 4.19
02. A Holly Jolly Christmas 5.23
03. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer 4.03
04. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 4.42
05. Here Comes Santa Claus 3.25
06. Home For The Holidays 5.12
07. I Saw Mom Kissing Santa Claus 4.22
08. I’ll Be Home For Christmas 5.35
09. White Christmas 4.22
10. Jingle Bells 3.17
11. Last Christmas 5.16
12. Deck The Halls 3.15
13. Let It Snow 4.24
14. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 4.00
15. Silent Night 3.45

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Christmas 2021 (12): Mary Mayo – The Magic of Christmas (1956)

FrontCover1Mary Mayo first got started as a radio singer in North Carolina just after the end of World War II. Gifted with a four-octave range, she was spotted by Tex Beneke, who was leading the post-war version of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. While singing with Beneke, she married Al Ham, an arranger and bass player in the band.

With the birth of their daughter Lois-Marie (the little girl on the cover), the couple settled in New York. Ham joined Columbia Records and became a producer while Mayo recorded dozens of albums as a faceless singer on “original cast” albums of numerous Broadway musicals.

She released a couple of singles for Columbia in the 1950s, but none even came close to the charts. LeRoy Holmes was the house arranger and conductor for MGM Records in the 1950s and decided to give Mayo her big break with this album in 1956.

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With twelve original songs written by Fay Tishman (words) and Marjorie Goetschius (music), Mayo does a fine job singing these reverent haunting melodies on this album. LeRoy Holmes does another typical brilliant job with the orchestra.

I’ve listened to this several times now and it gets better with repeated listens. (christmasyuleblog.blogspot.com)

Very brave to release a Christmas album without all the classics of Christmas music.

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Personnel:
Mary Mayo (vocals)
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unknown orchestra & chorus conducted by LeRoy Holmes

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Tracklist:
01. A King Without A Crown 2.30
02. No Room At The Inn 2.31
03. The Lonely Shepherd 2:.30
04. Mary’s Lullaby 2.54
05. I Bow My Head 4.04
06. Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men 2.24
07. The Christmas Bells Are Ringing 3.10
08. The Star In The East 2.17
09. The Magic Of Christmas 3.17
10. Each Christmas Remember 2.44
11. God Bless You, Little Children 2.37
12. The Angel Lit The Candles 1.43

Music: Marjorie Goetschius
Lyrics: Fay Tishman

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Miss Mayo is seen holding her own daughter, Lois-Marie Marsters Ham, Who was four months old when the picture was taken. The other little girl is three year old Maro Avakian, the daughter of Miss Mayo’s fellow M-G-M recording artist: Violinist Anahid Ajemain.

More from Mary Mayo:
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Christmas (11): Saxtribution – Merry Christmas (2010)

FrontCover1Every year in December I present Christmas music that is most sublime.

And today a kind of Christmas lounge music, played by unknown studio musicians.

I think this album never existed on CD but was produced for various streaming services.

And of course we hear a lot of smooth saxophone sounds.

Not my kind of music … but sometime I an hear this while I bake delicious biscuits in the kitchen.

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Personnel:
a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Driving Home For Christmas 3.51
02. Winter Wonderland 3.04
03. Last Christmas 4.02
04. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town 3.28
05. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 3.56
06. Jingle Bells 3.21
07. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Le It Snow 3.20
08. Silent Night 4.29
09. Happy New Year 4.23
10. We Wish You A Merry Christmas 1.43
11. White Christmas 3.42
12. The Christmas Song 3.13

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Christmas 2021 (10): Kurt Elling – The Beautiful Day; Kurt Elling Sings Christmas (2016)

FrontCover1And here is a very special Christmas album:

Kurt Elling (born November 2, 1967) is an American jazz singer and songwriter.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Rockford, Elling became interested in music through his father, who was Kapellmeister at a Lutheran church. He sang in choirs and played musical instruments. He encountered jazz while a student at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. After college, he enrolled in the University of Chicago Divinity School, but he left one credit short of a degree to pursue a career as a jazz vocalist.

Elling began to perform around Chicago, scat singing and improvising his lyrics. He recorded a demo in the early 1990s and was signed by Blue Note. He has been nominated for ten Grammy Awards, winning Best Vocal Jazz Album for Dedicated to You (2009) and Secrets Are the Best Stories (2021). Elling often leads the Down Beat magazine Critics’ Poll. He had a longtime collaboration with pianist Laurence Hobgood, leading a quartet that toured throughout the world. (wikipedia)

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A poetic and lyrical holiday-themed album, vocalist Kurt Elling’s The Beautiful Day is much more than a seasonal production. The album follows up his eclectic 2015 album, Passion World, and arrives on the heels of his collaboration with saxophonist Branford Marsalis, 2016’s Upward Spiral. Here, Elling applies his urbane sensibilities and warm baritone to a set of thoughtfully curated traditional songs reworked in his own sophisticated, harmonically rich fashion. However, as his first ever holiday-themed effort, Elling chose to sidestep the usual cull of Christmas songs and instead picked pieces that are lesser known, or more subtle in tone. The result is a production that is as literate and full of new discoveries as his previous studio albums. Helping Elling achieve this is an adept ensemble of longtime and more recent associates including guitarist John McLean, pianist Stuart Mindeman, bassist Clark Sommers, and drummer Kendrick Scott, as well as saxophonist Jim Gailloreto, trumpeter Tito Carrillo, cellist Jill Kaeding, and percussionist Kalyan Pathak. Working as statement of purpose, Elling kicks things off with a soaring version of Leslie Bricusse’s “Sing a Christmas Carol,” from the 1970 musical film Scrooge.

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Elling transforms the classical-leaning choral number into a flowing, contemporary jazz anthem, coyly amending the intro with a quick medley of well-known holiday themes. He then shifts gears, offering the first of three recurring interludes based on the classic “Good King Wenceslas” carol. Atmospheric and centered on Elling’s wordless vocalizations, the “Wenceslaus” interludes ground the album in a palette of winter-toned calm. Elsewhere, Elling offers a haunting, crystalline reading of the traditional “We Three Kings,” smiles his way through a New Orleans second-line take of “Little Drummer Boy,” and applies his longstanding knack for setting spoken word to music with “The Michigan Farm,” which features his evocative lyrics framed by composer Edvard Grieg’s “Cradle Song, Op. 41/1.” While artful complexity is one of Elling’s distinctive traits, he is also an adroit crooner, as evidenced here by his soulfully buoyant take on Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and his heartfelt performance of Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne.” Also adding to the tender emotion of the album is Elling’s daughter, Luiza Elling, who duets with her father on the title track. Ultimately, with The Beautiful Day, Elling has crafted an album that evokes the holiday spirit in all of its wondrous complexity. (by Matt Collar)

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Personnel:
Tito Carrillo (trumpet)
Kurt Elling (vocals, percussion)
Jill Kaeding (cello)
John McLean (guitar)
Kalyan Pathak (percussion)
Stuart Mindeman (keyboards)
Kendrick Scott (drums)
Clark Sommers (bass)
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Luiza Elling (vocals on 14.)

Booklet03ATracklist:
01. Sing A Christmas Carol (Bricusse) 4.34
02. Wenceslaus (Image I) (Traditional) 1.28
03. Star Of Wonder (Roche) 2.04
04. We Three Kings (Hopkins/Amos) 6.34
05. Christmas Children (Bricusse) 4.32
06. Wenceslaus (Image II) (Traditional) 0.53
07. Some Children See Him (Burt/Hutson) 7.13
08. Little Drummer Boy (Simeone/Onorati/Davis) 2.47
09. Wenceslaus (Image III) (Traditional) 1.29
10. The Michigan Farm (Cradle Song, Op. 41/1) (Grieg) 3.03
11. The Snow Is Deep On The Ground / Snowfall (Ammons/Thornhill/Hollenbeck/Patchen) 6.36
12. Same Old Lang Syne (Fogelberg) 6.19
13. This Christmas (Hathaway/McKinnor) 4.33
14. The Beautiful Day (Bricusse) 2.28

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Christmas 2021 (09): The Madrid Concert Orchestra And Chorus – Christmas In Spain (1959)

FrontCover1I guess it´s a good in this blog tradition to present Christmas from all over the wordl.

And now we can hear Christmas music from Spain, performed by and conducted by Victorino Echevarría:

Victorino Echevarría López, Spanish composer and conductor. He was a pupil of C. del Campo in Madrid and of P. Hindemith in Berlin. He wrote music in the neoclassical style (symphonic, chamber and stage works).

He was born Becerril de Campos in Palencia, Spain in 1898. He began his musical studies in León with Eugenio Lobo. In Madrid, he studied under A. Fernández Bordas, Francisco Victorino Echevarría01Calés, Bartolomé Pérez Casas, Rogelio del Villar and Conrado del Campo. Later, thanks to a scholarship from the Junta de Ampliación de Estudios, he moved to France and Germany (where he was taught by Paul Hindemith).

In 1940 he won the chair of harmony at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid, at the same time as he developed an intense work as a band conductor, first the Carabanchel band and then the Banda Municipal de Madrid, where he held the post of assistant conductor with Arámbarri until the latter’s death, when he took up the post of principal conductor. In 1952 he received the National Music Prize for his work Quinteto de viento.
Death

He died in 1965 in Madrid, Spain. (ecured.cu)

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This Christmas music from Spain sounds quite different from the Christmas music we know otherwise … very lively and cheerful …

The French edition:
FrenchCovers

An interesting addition to all the other Christmas songs from all over the world.

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Personnel:
The Madrid Concert Orchestra And Chorus conducted by Victorino Echevarría

Billboard Review 2. Nov. 1959:
Billboard Review

Tracklist:
01. Zumba Zum 1.37
02. Long Live St. Joseph And The Child (Viva San Jose Y El Niño) 1.55
03. Sleep Little Jesus (Dorm Jesuset) 2.34
04. Where Are You Going Little Shepherds? (Adonde Vas, Pastorcito?) 2.22
05. Tan-Tan 2.14
06. Sing Little One (Chicetes, Cantem) 1.38
07. And There Is A Star (Y Es Una Estrella) 4.17
08. To Bethlehem (A Betlem, Si Us Plau) 1.40
09. Between The Straw And The Ice (Entre La Paja Y El Heilo) 3.34
10. From Egypt To Bethlehem (De Egipto Para Belene) 2.10
11. The Child Came Down From Heaven (El Niño Bajo Del Cielo) 1.10
12. Lotan-Dago 2.46
13. The Tambourings Are Playing (Suenen Las Panderetas) 1.39
B7 Bolo, Bolo, Bolo 1.59

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Christmas 2021 (08): Tarja – From Spirits and Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas) (2017)

FrontCover1Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen-Cabuli (born 17 August 1977), known professionally as Tarja Turunen or simply Tarja, is a Finnish heavy metal singer-songwriter. She is a soprano with a three and a half octave range.

Turunen studied singing at Sibelius Academy and Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. She is a professional classical lied singer, and the former lead vocalist of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, which she founded with Tuomas Holopainen and Emppu Vuorinen in 1996. Their combination of hard and fast guitar riffs with Turunen’s dramatic, “operatic” lead vocals quickly achieved critical and commercial popularity. Their symphonic metal style, soon dubbed “opera metal”, inspired many other metal bands and performers.

Turunen was dismissed from the band on 21 October 2005 (just after the performance of the band’s End of an Era concert) for personal reasons. She started her solo career in 2006 with the release of a Christmas album called Henkäys ikuisuudesta. In 2007, Turunen released My Winter Storm, an album featuring various styles including symphonic metal, and started the Storm World Tour. She performed several concerts in Europe, playing in metal festivals including the Graspop Metal Meeting and the Wacken Open Air, before releasing her third album, What Lies Beneath, supported by a tour, which lasted until April 2012.

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Her first live DVD Act I was filmed during this tour on 30 and 31 March 2012 in Rosario, Argentina. Act I was released in August 2012. Turunen started the Colours in the Dark World Tour in October 2013 to promote her new album Colours in the Dark. Her second live DVD was filmed during the events of Beauty and the Beat and was released in May.

In September 2015, Tarja Turunen released her first classical studio album, Ave Maria – En Plein Air. In August 2016 she released The Shadow Self with a prequel EP The Brightest Void released on 3 June. Her latest album In the Raw, was released on 30 August 2019.

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From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas) is the second classical and Christmas album, and the seventh studio album released by the Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen.

On the 22 September 2017, earMUSIC released a video announcing the existence of the album. A music video was released on the 6th of October, with Tarja singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.

With the album release comes also Tarja Turunen’s first graphic novel, From Spirits and Ghosts (Novel for a Dark Christmas). The 40-page novel is about the world of dark Christmas scripted by Peter Rogers with accompanying art by Conor Boyle. The “novel for a dark Christmas” revolves around Tarja’s two characters, the dark and light one, bringing together lonely souls during the festive season.

Poster

The album has been critically acclaimed by critics and fans alike, who have noted the dark twist Turunen achieved on the album and the combination of different languages; however, critics have commented that the album will be largely forgotten after the Christmas holidays.

The album was re-released in November 6, 2020, the reissue includes 3 versions in alternative languages plus the collaboration with Tarja´s friends Cristina Scabbia, Doro Pesch, Elize Ryd, Floor Jansen, Hansi Kürsch, Joe Lynn Turner, Marco Saaresto, Michael Monroe, Sharon Den Adel, Simone Simons, Timo Kotipelto and Tony Kakko for the beloved “Feliz Navidad”. Further to the additional studio recordings, the reissue comes with the previously unreleased live album “Christmas Together: Live at Olomouc and Hradec Králové 2019”

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The album includes 11 Christmas classics combined with darker gothic influences. Utilizing the sound of a grand orchestra, traditional songs such as “O Tannenbaum”, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad” are included. Besides covering classic carols, “From Spirits and Ghosts” also features a 12th track, the original track “Together”. This song continues the dark sound of the album and embodies the theme of ghosts and mysticism throughout.

On December 8, Tarja released a second, “charity” version of “Feliz Navidad” as a way to help raise funds for Barbuda, an island that was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma.[4] The track features guest vocals by Doro Pesch, Michael Monroe, Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Marko Saaresto (Poets of the Fall), Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), Simone Simons (Epica), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) and Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation).(wikipedia)

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While Finnish vocalist and songwriter Tarja Turunen is well known for wedding the operatic to symphonic metal, she forgoes the latter entirely on From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas). Recorded during the summer of 2017 in the Caribbean, mixed in Texas, and mastered in New York, the set includes 11 classic carols and other songs associated with the season as well as a new track recorded in the same manner. Turunen produced the collection with the American, Emmy Award-winning film score composer Jim Dooley — who also handled arrangements — and British producer Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam, David Bowie, U2, the Cure, et. al).

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Though Turunen’s voice is characteristically crystalline, the gothic orchestral treatments of the traditional holiday material, beginning with downright spooky album-opener “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” are sometimes akin to the gloomy and monumental atmospheres created by Dead Can Dance. This feel saturates other tunes here such as the heartbreakingly lovely “Pie Jesu,” the wildly dramatic “O Tannenbaum,” and amazingly enough, the album’s greatest surprise “Feliz Navidad.” The melancholy in the relatively sparse charts on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” creates an even greater sense of intimacy, while closer “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is drenched in echo and electronics aside a celeste and chamber instruments, creating an eerie feel to send the album off. “Together,” the lone new track, is a bittersweet seasonal song with Turunen fronting a full chorus, as triangles, swelling strings, and tympanis fill up the space behind and around her — it’s as lovely as it is sad. The outlier is the hymn “Amazing Grace,” stitched together with pulsing synths, low-end brass, and reverb before the entire orchestra floods the foreground. Somehow Turunen’s aesthetic principles shoehorns the tune to fit seamlessly into the mix. Given the absence of metal on Spirits and Ghosts, it will be interesting to see how it sits with her legions of fans. For the rest of us, however, this is a gorgeous left-field addition to the Christmas canon. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Jim Dooley (James) (keyboards)
Peter Gregson (cello)
Tarja Turunen (vocals, keyboards)
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unknown orchestra
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Naomi Eerika Alexia Cabuli Turunen (vocals on 04.)

LPBooklet

Tracklist:
01. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Neale) 4.57
02. Together (T.Turunen) 3.21
03. We Three Kings (Hopkins) 3.54
04. Deck The Halls (Oliphant/Thomas/Talhaiarn) 2.45
05. Pie Jesu (Webber) 3.28
06. Amazing Grace (Newton) 4.43
07. O Tannenbaum (Anschütz/Franck) 3.38
08. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 3.40
09. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditional) 4.14
10. Feliz Navidad (Feliciano) 5.49
11. What Child Is This (Dix) 4.56
12. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Traditional) 4.07

CD1

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