And we continue with the the Fa La La's of the season of little known holiday songs or recordings. As I've mentioned in the past, one of my favorite recordings is the CD Christmas Goes Baroque, performed by the CSSR State Philharmonic Orchestra (from Czechoslovakia), conducted by Peter Breiner, a composer -- and even talk show host in Slovakia -- who did the magnificent, thoughtful arrangements.
The album takes popular Christmas songs and arranges them in the style of Baroque composers, most notably Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. Not only are the arrangements lush and vibrant, but the performances are utterly elegant. I've heard other albums try the same sort of thing, and they don't come close, sounding like pleasant novelty pastiches. ("Oh, isn't that clever..." sort of things) What sets Mr. Breiner's arrangements (and the performances) apart is that they give new life to songs you've heard many hundreds of time. Indeed, the thing that's most impressive is they give the sense that even if these songs weren't actually written during Baroque times...they should have been.
The album was so good (and smart, warm and rich) that it brought about a sequel, which is just as enjoyable. You can find both here and...well, here.
Yes, I really do love these a lot, if you haven't noticed.
To give you a sense of how good they are, here is one of the simplest Christmas tune, "Jingle Bells." Just listen to what such a basic song can sound like when does with such class and majesty. And you'd swear that it actually was written in 1749.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor