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Music for the Holidays

Author John Cech
Air Date 12/23/1999

Music for the Holidays Transcript

There’s something about the sound of xylophones, that usually makes me want to head for the hills–unless it’s Pappageno’s glockenspiel in the Magic Flute, or Carl Orff’s kids with their magic rhythms. But I must confess that a group of recordings have won me over–the Classiks on Toys series from Robert laFond’s group in Canada that feature some surprising musical delights from an orchestra of real toy instruments — pianos and other keyboards, horns, drums, recorders, and, yes xylophones — that you can find in any well-stocked toystore– played with wonderful spirit and playful seriousness . For instance, how can you resist this:

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That’s the rollicking Russian Dance from “Snoopy’s Nutcracker and other Tchaikovsky Classics on Toys.” I should mention that the introducers of this music at the start of each album are Schroeder, Charlie Brown, and some of the other characters from the Peanuts comic strip.

“Snoopy’s Christmas” has a bunch of standard Christmas carols, including an elegant setting for “Jingle Bells”:

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And the treats aren’t limited to the classical repertoire. There’s a country collection and a Beatles anthology with a truly lovely version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and a jazz CD with a terrific version of Brubeck’s “Take Five” that really hums:

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But my personal favorite is “Snoopy’s Classical.” How about Ravel’s “Bolero,” some of Handel’s Water Music, a little Brahms, a touch of Vivaldi, and, an “Ode to Joy” like you’ve never heard before:

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Posted in Holidays, Music