I have a handful of favorite Christmas music albums, and this is from one of them. It's Christmas Goes Baroque, which has traditional, popular Christmas songs arranged in the style of Baroque composers. The arrangements are absolutely impeccable, done by the hugely talented Peter Breiner, who also conducts the CSSR State Philharmonic Orchestra.
I posted a selection from this last year, and one good turn deserves another. What I love so much about the album is that the arrangements make these songs sound not only spot-on like they were written during the Baroque period -- but more than that, like they should have been. Even such songs as this one here, "Jingle Bells." And there is nothing cloying in the performances. The orchestra plays them with the richness, intelligence and vibrancy that is intended. This is full craft on every level. When you can turn a piece of simple, enjoyable fluff like "Jingle Bells" into an exuberant, substantive piece of art, you're doing something right.
The whole album is worth checking out, and if this is to your taste, you can get it here. It stays wonderful at each listening. In fact, the CD garnered enough of a reputation that Mr. Breiner put out a sequel, that is near as terrific. I'll try to post something from that later. (He has many other wonderful albums, including a Christmas Choral Spectacular, as well as another Baroque-style CD, Beatles Go Baroque.)
But for now, here's a bit of Christmas. Oh, what fun it is...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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