Friday, December 23, 2011

Favorite Holiday Music No. 17 - 12 Days (the David Chase remix)

I laughed until my eyes were tearing almost constantly the first time I heard David Chase's arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as performed by the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus under the direction of the fabulously brilliant Keith Lockhart.  The maestro has this to say about the piece:

"I knew we had a winning new arrangement of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' when we premiered it in 2007, but the audience's enthusiastic response night after night was unlike anything I've ever seen at the Pops," said Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart.  "Then a flood of letters and phone calls came in requesting a recording of the new arrangement-an incredibly creative twist on one of the greatest Christmas-time classics. We knew then and there that we would make a recording of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and that it would become a staple of our Holiday season programming." 
The piece is available for sale in various audio download formats at the BSO website.   There's a commercial for it on the BSO's YouTube channel and as a free podcast on iTunes that lets you hear little snippets, but the music is mostly covered up by the voiceover, unfortunately.

added on the afternoon of 12/23:
You might just be able to catch a live performance of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" via Classical New England online live streaming on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m., EST.  Check out this link to see what else Classical New England has to offer this holiday season.

And I didn't mention it earlier, but this arrangement of the familiar carol has snippets of music from Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Offenbach, Souza, Saint-Saens & Tchaikovsky to Rogers & Hammerstein and even an unexpected appearance by a popular seventies British rock band whose name I will not mention for fear of spoiling the surprise.  It is truly an inventive re-imagining of the original song, and David Chase gets my highest respect for coming up with it!

As an aside, the one new Christmas picture book I bought this year (I can't believe it was only one!) was Laurel Long's Twelve Days of Christmas, which is absolutely gorgeous.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Even Cleverbot knows the Truth.

Jazz's first conversation with Cleverbot went as follows:


Friday, December 09, 2011

More "Family Trees"

I mentioned a little while ago that I'd post more pictures from our museum visit to see these wonderful trees that are decorated in the theme of children's books.  I already can't wait for next year's crop!

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (sorry, no flash permitted in the museum)

Hitty--Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field

Orange Peel's Pocket by Rose Lewis with illustrations by Grace Zong

Little Women (I'm wondering if there is an Alcott tree each year.  It would seem a sin not to have one in this town.)

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram (a family favorite of ours)

An activity to go along with the above tree

"I love you as much as Christmas morning." Quite the statement, I thought.

How Full Is Your Bucket for Kids (new to me, but sweet and not *too* in your face with the message for us, at least the first time through it.)

This was probably my favorite tree: A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead with illustratations by Erin Stead

I'm a sucker for a cute owl.  The penguin doesn't hurt, either.

Another family favorite: If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by the fabulous Felicia Bond

So cute!

Alice through the Looking Glass

According to one of the docents, this one figurine took the woman who created the "Alice" tree forty hours to complete!
Happy Holidays, all!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Favorite Holiday Music No. 16 - Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)

Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier wrote a Christmas mass based on four French carols, each of which is sung preceding the movement it inspired.  The fourth and last carol is the one in the YouTube video above, and is performed by the Aradia Ensemble under the direction of Kevin Mallon.  Find the cd or mp3 download of the entire Messe de Minuit pour Nöel here.