Jelani Eddington

Jelani Eddington: Christmas Wonderland

$19.66 $23.98

Artist: Jelani Eddington
Title: Christmas Wonderland
Product Type: COMPACT DISCS

Christmas means music. For centuries people all over the world have gathered to sing songs of hope, love, and peace on earth in this season of joy. Holiday music often falls into two distinct categories-secular and religious. Some collections showcase familiar popular Christmas tunes, while others feature the great carols and hymns so often heard during the holiday season. In selecting the music for this album, we have tried to draw from music in these very different genres-from popular holiday favorites, to the beloved hymns of the season, and even some of the great classical music associated with the holidays. It seemed an easy choice to begin a holiday album with one of the best known compositions of the season, Sleigh Ride. Although Leroy Anderson did not compose this tune exclusively for the Christmas season, this descriptive composition, so characteristic of Anderson's inimitable style, has become frequently associated with the holidays. Moreover, this tune serves as one of the rare occasions in which an organist can show off the sleigh bells in a concert arrangement. In 1946, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne composed the familiar melody, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!. The arrangement on this recording portrays this tune both in a traditional lilting feel, as well as in a jazzy improvisational mood in the second chorus. Few popular holiday tunes occupy such a special place in our hearts as the Irving Berlin standard, White Christmas. Composed in 1942, this ballad has appeared in a variety of shows such as Holiday Inn, Blue Skies, and (of course) White Christmas. The Van Der Molen Wonder Morton sings forth in a solo rendition of a great up-tempo waltz, The Christmas Waltz, a holiday favorite composed in 1954 by the Cahn-Styne duo and made popular by the late Frank Sinatra. It is difficult to imagine the holiday season without enjoying Peter Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker. Based on the story by E. T. A. Hoffman, "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" as revised by French author Alexandre Dumas, the ballet portrays the gift of a life-size nutcracker to a young girl, Clara, by her godfather. At the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, the nutcracker and the toys around the Christmas tree spring to life, and a fierce battle ensues between the nutcracker and a seven-headed Mouse King with his army of mice. Following the defeat of the Mouse King, the nutcracker is magically transformed into a Prince and escorts young Clara to the Land of Sweets, where Clara is entertained by a banquet and an array of characteristic dances. These dances form the basis of the Nutcracker Suite featured on this album. Toyland, composed in 1903 by Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough, is surely one of the most timeless of popular holiday favorites for both young and old. David expertly shows off the many moods of this beautiful melody in a delicate solo treatment of this work on the Steinway. A more recent, yet no less familiar popular holiday favorite is Winter Wonderland, written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith and popularized in the mid-1940s by the Andrews Sisters. Once again, the jazzy sounds of the Wonder Morton come to the forefront in this arrangement. Many, if not most of the traditional hymn carols associated with the Christmas season originated in Europe, so it seemed appropriate to take the listener on a musical journey through Europe with the European Carol Fantasy featured on this album. This fantasy begins with a treatment of the English Carol, Joy To The World, that is both powerful and subtle, and follows into one of the great German hymns, O Tannenbaum (Oh Christmas Tree). In contrast to these first two hymns, the less well-known Italian melody composed by Pietro Yon, Gesu Bambino, follows. This beautiful carol also draws from the 18th-century English carol composed by John Francis Wade, Adeste Fideles (Oh Come, All Ye Faithful). A very fiery Christmas carol from the Catalàn region of Spain, Fum Fum Fum, provides yet another contrast to Yon's lush melody. The fantasy returns to England for an arrangement of Good Christian Men Rejoice in a treatment that also borrows heavily from a French carol that makes an appearance as a counter-melody in the second chorus, Un Flambeau, Jeanette-Isabelle (Bring A Torch, Jeanette-Isabella). On the way to perhaps the most beloved Christmas carol of all time, Silent Night, the careful listener will hear strains of another familiar German carol, Oh, Du Fröliche. Returning back to France, the Carol Fantasy features the familiar hymn, Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes (Angels We Have Heard On High), which folds into a traditional Polish hymn, Infant Holy, Born So Lowly (W Zlobie Lezy). The powerful French melody, Minuit Chrétiens (O Holy Night), follows, which has always been a personal favorite. As a finale to the Carol Fantasy, we make a final stop back to England where the fantasy began, with an exciting treatment of Hark, The Herald Angels Sing! In an album of contrasting styles, few contrasts could be as stark as returning from a European Carol Fantasy to the strains of the 1934 Haven Gillespie tune, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Inspired by an arrangement of late theatre organ legend George Wright, this treatment captures the child-like joy and excitement of the holiday season. One can almost hear Santa and his helpers filling the sleigh with toys! Bringing this album to it's conclusion is an arrangement of We Wish You A Merry Christmas that is certain to capture your attention. Because there are so few venues in the world where musicians can have a beautiful theatre pipe organ, and, not one, but two concert grand pianos at their disposal, we would be remiss in not putting them all to good use for this final selection on the album. Through the use of the Z-tronics MIDI interface, Jelani was able to record the organ portion of this arrangement, and then take a seat at the 9' "Model CC" Mason & Hamlin on the right side of the stage to accompany David and the Wonder Morton during playback of the organ. The result is a truly unique 6-hand, 2-feet arrangement of this holiday classic that you are certain to enjoy. We do wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that the joys and spirit of the holiday season will be yours! The Wheaton-Fox Studio Paul Van Der Molen has been an avid music lover most of his life, so it is certainly no surprise that the Van Der Molen home has always had a room dedicated to music. Many world-renowned pianists and organists, as well as accomplished musicians of all varieties, have performed in concert in the Van Der Molen home. Well over a decade has passed since a recording was released from the Wheaton-Fox Studio. Since that time, many changes have taken place, both in the studio itself and with the instruments it houses. In 1981, Paul Van Der Molen acquired and installed his first theatre pipe organ in his home-a 3-manual, 20-rank Robert Morton originally from the Lowe's Fairmont Theatre in The Bronx, New York. As one of the very first pipe organ residence installations in the Midwest, the instrument quickly got much use, both in a concert setting and as a recording instrument. During the construction of this first music room, Paul's good friend and organ technician Dave Krall jokingly offered the suggestion that the studio should be called "The Wheaton-Fox". The term "Fox" was drawn from the chain of movie palaces of the same name and "Wheaton" was the name of the town in Illinois the Van Der Molen family called home. Not long after, the name found common usage among friends and family, and today Paul and his wife Linda affectionately refer to their music studio - and indeed their home - as The Wheaton-Fox. In the Spring of 1999, Paul and Linda embarked on a major renovation of their home and studio, and the 20 ranks of organ pipes, traps, and percussions went into storage. In anticipation of enlarging the console, Paul donated the 3-manual Robert Morton console to the beautiful

Tracks:
1.1 Sleigh Ride
1.2 Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
1.3 White Christmas
1.4 The Christmas Waltz - Jelani Eddington
1.5 Miniature Overture from the Nutcracker Suit
1.6 March
1.7 Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairies
1.8 Russian Dance (Trepak)
1.9 Arab Dance
1.10 Chinese Dance
1.11 Dance of the Reed Flutes
1.12 Waltz of the Flowers
1.13 Toyland - David Harris
1.14 Winter Wonderland
1.15 European Christmas Carol Fantasy
1.16 Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
1.17 We Wish You a Merry Christmas

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