More good Christmas music (12/16/20): 564

Santa’s Workshop

Every day between now and Christmas I’m selecting tunes or carols you won’t hear on FM Radio but they are certainly deserving of airplay.

Today’s musical selection is exquisite, phenomenal, tremendous, prolific.

Even so you can forget about your local radio station ever giving it the time of day. Why? I can give you 564 reasons.

564 reasons, as in seconds. Nine minutes and 24 seconds. It’s considered too long for broadcast. And that’s too bad.

This marvelous collection (not a medley) was composed by the legendary LeRoy Anderson in 1950 for the Boston Pops Orchestra.  In a 1960’s interview Anderson explained what he was trying to achieve in “The Christmas Festival.”

“Well, I was trying to write a Christmas festival. You see, there are all types of things that have been written for various occasions and in this particular case I was working at the time for the Boston Pops, I was the arranger and orchestrator for them for years, and they wanted to record a special concert number, using Christmas songs, carols and other Christmas music, for records, so they asked, Arthur Fiedler asked me to do a concert overture, and this is how it came about. I selected the ones that were the most popular and best known, and then I took them and tried to give instrumental treatment to them; in other words, it’s not a medley, that isn’t what we wanted to do here, certainly what I didn’t want to do. I rather took the themes and built you might say a concert overture, around the Christmas songs. They’re not just carols because in this we end with “Jingle Bells”, that is, of course, a secular song, it’s not a carol, but it’s associated so much with the gaiety and spirit of Christmas that you certainly couldn’t leave it out.”

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