Robert Wendel | Christmas - Old & New

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Christmas - Old & New

by Robert Wendel

This is an album of Christmas music for Symphonic Pops of music from the 15th Century to 2010.
Genre: Holiday: Classical
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Brassy Holidays
2:41 $0.99
2. Caribbean Sleigh Ride
3:57 $0.99
3. The Bells of Christmas
3:45 $0.99
4. Overture To A Merry Christmas
2:53 $0.99
5. We Three Kings
3:46 $0.99
6. Jingle Fourth
3:24 $0.99
7. Hodie
5:32 $0.99
8. In the Manger
4:02 $0.99
9. An Evergreen Christmas
4:28 $0.99
10. Coventry Carol
3:48 $0.99
11. Christmas Fantasia
4:46 $0.99
12. Christmas Through Children's Eyes
4:06 $0.99
13. Carol of the Bells
3:48 $0.99
14. Christmas a la Valse
5:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This album is a compilation of arrangements of traditional Christmas Carols in new settings along side new works for chorus and orchestra spanning over 6 centuries!

We open with a medley, "Brassy Holidays" arranged by Scott Hale for brass ensemble with percussion and organ which includes "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," "Wassail, Wassail," "Sing We Now Of Christmas," "The Boar's Head," "Angels We Have Heard On High," and a bit of "Joy To The World."

Next we have 2 new works for Christmas: "Caribbean Sleigh Ride" takes the concept of a horse drawn sleigh dashing through the snow and moves it south to a setting of palm trees and sandy beaches seasoned with Caribbean percussion and rhythms, followed by "The Bells Of Christmas" with lyrics by Vince Trani which point out all the various types of bells we hear during the Christmas season:

"The bells of Christmas re-mind you and me that Santa's checking his list to see
Which children on his "good" list will be and have lots of presents under the tree.
And every day the doorbell rings and every day the postman brings
Boxes full of wonderful things, and colorful holiday greetings.
The bells of Christmas ring out sweet and clear, filling the air with holiday cheer,
Thrilling the hearts of all who hear as Christmas day draws near.
Up in the steeple the church bells sound calling to us below on the ground,
While shoppers hurry and scurry a-round, hoping the perfect gift will be found.
The bells of Christmas ring out loud and strong, filling the air with their holiday song,
Reminding us all it won't be long ‘til Christmas time is here.
On every street corner a bell rings a-way, but in it's clamor it's trying to say:
"Give something to charity on your way, so all will have a great Christmas day."
The bells of Christmas ring out high and low as their Christmas blessings they be-stow,
The jing'ling of sleigh-bells in the snow says Christmas time is here.
Ding Dong Ding Dong, Ding Dong Ding Dong, Ding ---- Dong----
And when your children all have grown and you are feeling all alone.
A Christmas bell rings in your phone to tell you they're all coming home!
The bells of Christmas may stop, but then they start their ringing out once again.
They seem to sing a sort of amen to peace on earth, good will to men.
They seem to sing a sort of amen. A-men. A-men. Peace on earth, Good will to Men!"
(©2002 Robert Wendel & Vince Trani. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

What if some of your favorite carols had been written by the great classical composers? Well, the "Classical Christmas Suite" is one answer: Mozart's "Overture To The Marriage Of Figaro" becomes "Joy To The World" and "O Little Town Of Bethlehem." Schubert's Unfinished Symphony turns into "We Three Kings..." and Mahler's Fourth Symphony transforms into a setting of "Jingle Bells."

"Hodie" (This Day) by Michael Gilbertson is an exciting new setting of a centuries-old text employing very modern harmonies with shifting and driving meters propelling this work to a truly joyous and exciting conclusion:

"Hodie... Hodie... Hodie... Hodie, today Christ is born!
Hodie the Saviour has appeared.
Hodie the archangels sing... Glory to God!
Alleluia... etc
Glory to God... Glory to God... Glory to God in the highest.
Hodie... Alleluia...etc "
(©2003 by Michael Gilbertson. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

"In The Manger" is a very pastoral picture of the Nativity scene using "Away In A Manger" and Pietro Yon's "Gesu Bambino" to create a mood of serenity and peace.

"An Evergreen Christmas" is a medley of three traditional carols paying homage to the ever-green plants of the winter: "Oh Christmas Tree," "The Holly and The Ivy," and "Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly."

For "Coventry Carol" we return to a more classical scoring for string orchestra, harp, and chime almost evoking the Vaughn Williams' "Tallis" Fantasia.

Next, arranger David Culross gives us a wonderful "Christmas Fantasia" based on the French Carols "Il est né le divin enfant," and "Patapan," and the English Renaissance carol "Masters In This Hall."

"Christmas Through Childrens Eyes" is another new work that expresses a yearning for the innocence of childhood and simpler times:

"Little faces wide with wonder at the Christmas tree
Makes me think of Christmas as a child.
Throwing snowballs, writing Santa, wishing for a pony.
Takes me back to Christmas as a child.
Simple joys. lots of toys. Easy to surprise.
Let me see Christmas time through a child’s eyes.
Let me remember how it felt before I grew old and wise.
Let me see Christmas time through a child’s eyes.
Watching chestnuts slowly roasting in the fireplace.
Makes me think of Christmas as a child.
Singing carols, telling stories, smelling cookies baking.
Takes me back to Christmas as a child.
Helping out mom and dad trim the Christmas tree.
Hang a wreath upon the door for everyone to see.
Let me remember how it felt before I grew old and wise.
Let me see Christmas time through a child’s eyes.
[Interlude with toy piano]
Opening presents on Christmas morning, placing the Baby in the stable,
Relatives visit for Christmas dinner. Sitting at the “little table.”
Take me back to a time when toy trains still can mesmerize.
Snowmen dance, and reindeer fly… and I see Christmas through a child’s eyes."
(©2001 Robert Wendel & Vince Trani. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

"Carol Of The Bells" is a new and all-out setting of the famous Ukranian Carol scored for full orchestra with additional chimes, bell trees, orchestra bells, hand bells and even 3 pitched "Turandot" Chinese gongs! A sort of holiday "Bells gone wild!"

This album concludes with "Christmas a la Valse!" This medley of carols which all happen to be in 3/4 time includes " Bring A Touch Jeanette, Isabella," "We Three Kings," "The Skater's Waltz," "What Child Is This," "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Wassail, Wassail" (complete with strumming strings and high winds simulating period recorders, crumhorns, dulcimer and lutes) and concluding with "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" which opened this album in "Brassy Holidays."

Thus, coming full circle, we close this album with the song that opened it because we do "Wish you a Merry Christmas!"

Robert Wendel, Scott Hale, Vince Trani, Michael Gilbertson, and David Culross



to write a review

Rev Anthony Borka

Make a joyful noise
The old may be the songs, but the new are the joyfilled arrangements done with verve and gusto.
I highly recommend!

Mike Charlton

A Great Christmas Album!
This is a really great album, which fills the place with Christmassy music old and new. I love the settings of the traditional Christmas carols and songs, and the new ones are fine additions to the festive music canon on my iPod. I can't help but smile when I listen to the clever Schubert, Mahler and Mozart twists to three well-known Christmas tunes. Highly recommended listening for the run-up to and during Christmastide.