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A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert

Filmed live at Carnegie Hall on December 8, 1991, and featured on Public Television, this Christmas extravaganza is conducted by André Previn and features opera divas Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Stade with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis.
Featured composers include Engelbert Humperdinck, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Mel Torme, and Franz Xaver Gruber.

A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert

Album Info

Ensemble Multiple Ensembles
Release Date October 6th, 1992
Recording Date December 8, 1991
Record Label Sony Classical
Catalogue Number SK 48235
Formats CD, DVD, Digital Download, VHS
Genre Classical Recordings

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Track Listing

Track Length Preview
Traditional: The Twelve Days of Christmas – Ensemble 5:28 Play
Jester Harrison: Mary’s Little Boy Chile – Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Wynton Marsalis, Boychoir, Chorus, Orchestra Crusher Bennett and Victor See Yuen, Calypso Percussion 4:09 Play
Pietro A. Yon: Gesu Bambino – Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Boychoir, Orchestra 3:50 Play
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Alleluja” – Miss Battle, Orchestra 2.33 Play
Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein: My Favorite Things – Miss von Stade, Orchestra 2:26 Play
Felix Bernard/Dick Smith: Winter Wonderland – The Wynton Marsalis Septet 2:45 Play
John H. Hopkins, Jr.: We Three Kings Of Orient Are – The Wynton Marsalis Septet 5:03 Play
American Songs:
John Jacob Niles: I Wonder As I Wander
Traditional: Mary Had a Baby
Traditional: Oh Mary, What You Gonna Name That Pretty Little Baby?
Traditional: Who Was Mary? Mary Was Queen of Galilee
Traditional: Sister Mary Had-A But One Child
Traditional: Go Tell It On The Mountain – Ensemble
16:14 Play
Mel Torme/Robert Wells: The Christmas Song – Miss Battle, Mr. Previn Tony Falanga, Bass; James Saporito, Drums Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Miss von Stade, Mr. Previn 4:44 Play
Franz Gruber/Joseph Mohr: Silent Night – Miss Battle, The Wynton Marsalis Septet 4:58 Play
George Frideric Handel/Israel Watts: Joy To The World! – The Wynton Marsalis Septet 2:38 Play
Engelbert Humperdinck: Abendsegen (Evening Prayer) – Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Orchestra 3:39 Play
Engelbert Humperdinck: Abendsegen (Evening Prayer) – Miss von Stade, Boychoir, Chorus 4:01 Play
Max Reger: Maria Wiegenlied, Op. 76, No. 52 – Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Orchestra 2:02 Play
Christmas Songs:
Traditional English (XV Century): I Saw Three Ships
Traditional: The First Nöel
Traditional American: Away in a Manger
Traditional English: Away In A Manger
Traditional Welsh: Deck The Halls
Traditional English: The Holly And The Ivy
Adolphe Adam: O Holy Night (Cantique de Nöel)
Traditional French: Angels We Have Heard On High – Ensemble
10:56 Play

Liner Notes

Joy abounds in a glorious showcase of diverse seasonal offerings in “A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert.” Featuring four of the music world’s brightest and most versatile stars, the event had roots in several worlds and reflected the profusion of musical genres that have echoed for over a century in the inviting warmth of this great hall.
Merrily decked out in Christmas finery, Carnegie greeted some of America’s most brilliant artists, who in themselves demonstrate a wealth of diverse talents: soprano Kathleen Battle and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, two of opera’s most gifted stars, who have also found success in the non-operatic repertoire; the Wynton Marsalis Septet, led by the world’s pre-eminent jazz and classical trumpeter; the multi-talented maestro Andre Previn, at home in so many areas of music as a conductor, composer and pianist, and here directing The Orchestra Of St. Luke’s; harpist Nancy Allen; the youthful members of the American Boychoir, and the Christmas Concert Chorus of celebrated choral master Robert De Cormier. Adding to the festivities were Miss Battle and Miss von Stade’s gowns, brightly shining in complimentary Christmas red and green, and the three huge murals, framed by the moldings of the stage’s rear panels and inspired by Russian lacquer boxes; two rural snow-scenes flanking a tableau of reindeer in harness.

While the concert’s program came from many lands, the gala also celebrated the vast ethnic variety of Christmas traditions in the United States, as exhibited in two full ensemble medleys – one international, the other distinctly American, reflecting both African and European traditions.
The musical genres and styles were as varied as the nationalities. Miss Battle easily encompassed the earthy fervor of African-American spirituals, the pristine coloratura virtuosity of Mozart’s “Alleluja” from Exsultate jubilate and the cabaret intimacy of Marsalis’ “Silent Night” arrangement; Miss von Stade proceeded with equal aplomb from the Renaissance solemnity of Praetorius’ “Lo, How a Rose” (an arrangement with the unaccompanied choruses), to the delightful “My Favorite Things” and the rustic simplicity of “I Wonder As I Wander.” Both ladies brought persuasive verve to the calypso lilt of “Mary’s Little Boy Chile,” while throughout, Wynton Marsalis interpolated poignant trumpet commentaries.

The Mozart “Alleluja,” the naively angelic “Evening Prayer” from Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, and Reger;s folk-based “Maria Wiegenlied” (“Lullaby of Mary”) represented the classical world with which Misses Battle and von Stade are most closely associated. Mr. Marsalis’ brought a progressive jazz perspective to old favorites such as “Joy To The World” and “Winter Wonderland” and an ingenious inventiveness to “We Three Kings,” in which Marsalis’ trumpet riffs shared the limelight with Herbert Harris’ soprano saxophone improvisations. The more traditional accompaniments to the two singers in “The Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: allowed Mr. Previn to display his considerable talent as a jazz pianist.

What perhaps will linger longest in the memory are the rousing performance of “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and the last chorus of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in which Misses Battle and von Stade offered a special Christmas present: a brief interpolation of the love duet between Sophie and Octavian from Richard Strauss’ Rosenkavalier.
The evening’s artistry and splendour captured the season’s joyous message with enthusiasm and grace, making the night truly, as The New York Times hailed it, “A Christmas Feast from Carnegie Hall.”

Credits

1. Traditional: The Twelve Days of Christmas
– (arr.: Arthur Harris)
Ensemble

2. Jester Harrison: Mary’s Little Boy Chile*
– (orch.: Hale Smith)
Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Wynton Marsalis, Boychoir, Chorus, Orchestra Crusher Bennett and Victor See Yuen, Calypso Percussion

3. Pietro A. Yon: Gesu Bambino*
– (arr.: Arthur Harris)
Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Boychoir, Orchestra

4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Alleluja”
– From Exsultate, jubilate, K. 158a
Miss Battle, Orchestra

5. Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein: My Favorite Things
– From The Sound Of Music (arr.: Arthur Harris)
Miss von Stade, Orchestra

6. Felix Bernard/Dick Smith: Winter Wonderland
– (arr.: Wynton Marsalis)
The Wynton Marsalis Septet

7. John H. Hopkins, Jr.: We Three Kings Of Orient Are
– (arr.: Wynton Marsalis)
The Wynton Marsalis Septet

8. American Songs*
– John Jacob Niles: I Wonder As I Wander
(arr.: Robert Sadin)
Traditional: Mary Had a Baby
(arr.: Robert Sadin)
Traditional: Oh Mary, What You Gonna Name That Pretty Little Baby?
(arr.: Sylvia Olden Lee; adptd./orch.: Robert Sadin)
Traditional: Who Was Mary? Mary Was Queen of Galilee
(arr.: Wendell Whalum; adptd./orch.: Robert Sadin)
Traditional: Sister Mary Had-A But One Child
(arr.: Roland Hayes; adptd.: Nancy Allen)
Traditional: Go Tell It On The Mountain
(arr.: Don Marsh; orch.: Arthur Harris)
Ensemble

9. Mel Torme/Robert Wells: The Christmas Song
– Miss Battle, Mr. Previn
Tony Falanga, Bass; James Saporito, Drums
Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Miss von Stade, Mr. Previn

10. Franz Gruber/Joseph Mohr: Silent Night
– (arr.: Wynton Marsalis)
Miss Battle, The Wynton Marsalis Septet

11. George Frideric Handel/Israel Watts: Joy To The World!*
– (arr.: Wynton Marsalis) The Wynton Marsalis Septet

12. Engelbert Humperdinck: Abendsegen (Evening Prayer)
– From Hansel and Gretel
Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Orchestra

13. Engelbert Humperdinck: Abendsegen (Evening Prayer)
– (arr.: Arthur Harris)
Miss von Stade, Boychoir, Chorus

14. Max Reger: Maria Wiegenlied, Op. 76, No. 52
– (arr.: Robert Sadin)
Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Orchestra

15. Christmas Songs*
– Traditional English (XV Century): I Saw Three Ships
Traditional: The First Nöel
Traditional American: Away in a Manger
Traditional English: Away In A Manger
Traditional Welsh: Deck The Halls
Traditional English: The Holly And The Ivy
Adolphe Adam: O Holy Night (Cantique de Nöel)
Traditional French: Angels We Have Heard On High
(All selections arr.: Alexander Courage)
Ensemble

*Indicates arrangement and/or orchestration commissioned for “A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert”

Kathleen Battle, soprano
Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano
Wynton Marsalis, trumpet
André Previn, conductor/piano
Nancy Hallen, harp

The American Boychoir
James Litton, Music Director

The Christmas Concert Chorus
Robert DeCormier, Director

The Wynton Marsalis Septet
The Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Recorded live at Carnegie Hall, New York City, December 8, 1991

A co-production with PBS, Sony Classical and Thirteen/WNET
This program received special funding from the Häagen Dazs Company Inc.

Executive producer: Peter Gelb
Director: Brian Large
Producers: Daniel Anker & Laura Mitgang
Audio producer/Music coordinator: Thomas Frost
Stage Director: David Kneuss
Scenery design: John Michael & Sarah G. Conly

Digital editing: Sony Classical Productions Inc.
Music consultants: Sylvia Olden Lee, Larry Woodard
Location digital recording: Effanel Music
Audio consultant to Mr. Marsalis: Steven Epstein
Engineer: Tom Lazarus
Miss Battle’s gown: Rouben Ter-Arutunian
Cover design: Jim de Barros
Cover photos: ©1991 Steve J. Sherman
Inside photos: Christian Steiner

Sidemen

Kathleen Battle, Soprano; Frederica von Stade, Mezzo-soprano; Wynton Marsalis, Trumpet; Andre Previn, Conductor/Piano; Nancy Allen, Harp; The American Boychoir (James Litton, Music Director); The Christmas Concert Chorus (Robert De Cormier, Director); The Wynton Marsalis Septet: Wes Anderson, Alto Saxophone; Wycliffe Gordon, Trombone; Herlin Riley, Drums; Reginald Veal, Bass; Stephen Scott, Piano; Herbert Harris, Tenor and Soprano Saxophone; The Orchestra of St. Luke’s