Program notes by Kaysea Calvert
HRP Presents: Winter Classics and Holiday Favorites
Sunday December 10, 2023 2:30pm at The American Theatre
A Christmas Festival Overture, Leroy Anderson-
In 1950, Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, asked Leroy Anderson to write a special piece for a Christmas recording. Anderson selected popular Christmas melodies including “Joy to the World”, “Deck the Halls”, “God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Good King Wenceslas”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Silent Night”, “Jingle Bells”, and “O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)”. The original performance contained “The First Noel” however Anderson eliminated it for publication in 1952.
In the Bleak Midwinter, Holst/Darke arr. Charles E. Peery
This work is beautifully arranged for full orchestra, with opt. Organ, by Charles E. Peery. This setting begins in a quiet, almost other-worldly fashion, and alternates between the well-known Holst and Darke tunes as it builds to a stately climax and then recedes again.
Taiga, Ilari Hylkila-
This work was composed for symphony orchestra in 2016 by Ilari Hylkila. It is inspired by the Taiga biome also known as snow forests or boreal forests. It takes the listener through beautiful landscapes and stormy weather to experience the miracles of wild northern nature.
Sleigh Ride, Leroy Anderson-
This holiday classic was completed and first performed in 1948. Anderson started writing this work during a heat wave the year before and it was not written as a Christmas piece, but rather to describe an event that took place in the winter. A quote from Anderson on this piece: “‘Sleigh Ride’ was one of the first things I wrote when I got out of the Army and moved up here to Woodbury, Connecticut. Actually, I first came here in 1946; you may remember there was a housing shortage then, and my mother-in-law was living up here, had a cottage that was vacant, so since we had no other place to go, we packed our 14-month old daughter, plus the upright piano, and came on up here to Woodbury, and during that first summer that we were here, I started ‘Fiddle-Faddle’, I didn't finish that until the following winter, and ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Serenata’. And ‘Sleigh Ride’, I remember, was just an idea because, it was just a pictorial thing, it wasn't necessarily Christmas music, and it was written during the heat wave."
Christmas at the Movies, arr. Bob Krogstad-
This work was arranged by Bob Krogstad and published in 2006. This impressive concert medley for orchestra includes music from six classic holiday films, recalling some of the most memorable songs and themes. Included are: Somewhere in My Memory (from "Home Alone").