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.
|Traditional: The Twelve Days of Christmas – (arr.: Arthur Harris) Ensemble||5:28||Play|
|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||4:09||Play|
|Pietro A. Yon: Gesu Bambino – (arr.: Arthur Harris) Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Boychoir, Orchestra||3:50||Play|
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Alleluja” – From Exsultate, jubilate, K. 158a Miss Battle, Orchestra||2.33||Play|
|Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein: My Favorite Things – From The Sound Of Music (arr.: Arthur Harris) Miss von Stade, Orchestra||2:26||Play|
|Felix Bernard/Dick Smith: Winter Wonderland – (arr.: Wynton Marsalis) The Wynton Marsalis Septet||2:45||Play|
|John H. Hopkins, Jr.: We Three Kings Of Orient Are – (arr.: Wynton Marsalis) The Wynton Marsalis Septet||5:03||Play|
|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||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 – (arr.: Wynton Marsalis) Miss Battle, The Wynton Marsalis Septet||4:58||Play|
|George Frideric Handel/Israel Watts: Joy To The World! – (arr.: Wynton Marsalis) The Wynton Marsalis Septet||2:38||Play|
|Engelbert Humperdinck: Abendsegen (Evening Prayer) – From Hansel and Gretel Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Orchestra||3:39||Play|
|Engelbert Humperdinck: Abendsegen (Evening Prayer) – (arr.: Arthur Harris) Miss von Stade, Boychoir, Chorus||4:01||Play|
|Max Reger: Maria Wiegenlied, Op. 76, No. 52 – (arr.: Robert Sadin) Miss Battle, Miss von Stade, Orchestra||2:02||Play|
|Christmas Songs – Traditional English (XV Century): I Saw Three Ships Traditional: The First Noel 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 Noel) Traditional French: Angels We Have Heard On High (All selections arr.: Alexander Courage) Ensemble||10:56||Play|
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.
Clip from DVD
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.”
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