Another installment in Collectables' The Ultimate Christmas Album series, volume 3 gathers a mix of well-known and offbeat holiday tunes, including Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song", The Singing Dogs' "Jingle Bells", The Supremes' "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me", The Ventures' "Sleigh Ride", Johnny Mathis' "Winter Wonderland", Perry Como's "Home For The Holidays", Burt Bacharach' "The Bell That Couldn't Jingle", Paul Anka's "It's Christmas Everywhere", Percy Faith's "We Need A Little Christmas", Andy Williams' "Happy Holidays", Ray Charles' "Christmas Time", Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby".
Anthology gathers the best (at least most of the best) singles the band did for Capitol, among them classics like "Southern Girl," "Before I Let Go," the complete "Joy and Pain," and "Happy Feelin's."
First there was rhythm - pulsing, driving, primal rhythm. And a new word in musical terminology: Barbaro. As with sticks on skins, so with hammers on strings. The piano as one of the percussion family, the piano among the percussion family. The first and second concertos were written to be performed that way. But the rhythm had shape and direction, myriad accents, myriad subtleties. An informed primitivism. A Baroque primitivism. Then came the folkloric inflections chipped from the music of time: the crude and misshapen suddenly finding a singing voice. Like the simple melody - perhaps a childhood recollection - that emerges from the dogged rhythm of the First Concerto's second movement. András Schiff plays it like a defining moment - the piano reinvented as a singing instrument. His "parlando" (conversational) style is very much in Bartók's own image. But it's the balance here between the honed and unhoned, the brawn and beauty, the elegance and wit of this astonishing music that make these readings special.