In a Slow TV Christmas special, BBC Four rigs a traditional reindeer sleigh with a fixed camera for a magical journey across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Following the path of an ancient postal route, the ride captures the traditional world of the Sami people who are indigenous to northern Scandinavia and for whom reindeer herding remains a way of life. Filmed in Karasjok, Norway - 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle - this journey takes us through breathtaking scenery not normally glimpsed by anyone other than the Sami. Deliberately unhurried, the rhythmic pace of the reindeer guides us along an epic two-hour trip that takes us over undulating snowy hills, through birch forests, across a frozen lake and past traditional Sami settlements. Facts about the reindeer, natural history, Sami culture and the Arctic climate are delivered by graphics and archive stills embedded into the passing landscape. With no commentary, music or presenter - just the crunching of snow and the soft tinkle of a reindeer bell - this hypnotic sleigh ride is an enchanting experience to put everyone in the Christmas spirit.
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".
A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas is nuts all the way through. There is at least one other Three Suns Christmas record, but nothing approaches this one. Santa's sleigh is hauling fast with this all-uptempo platter of holiday mayhem. And for a stocking present, there is an extra track on each side.
Most of this disc is taken up with Liszt's Christmas Tree, an unusually modest suite based on Christmas carols. It also offers charming pieces by Reger, Tchaikovsky, Rebikov, and Lyapunov based on Christmas themes, and a couple of Bach transcriptions. Eteri Andjaparidze, whose first CD was a sensational Prokofiev collection, plays this music truly superb musicianship and the kind of pianistic color that has become a rarity. Her Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is the most beautiful I've heard since Dinu Lipatti's. And wait until you hear her delightful playing of Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride! It's deliciously witty and charming.
Sir Andrew Davis and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra perform in this release which celebrates the relationship of Delius with his spiritual home, Norway. It features works inspired by the country’s landscape and culture, many bearing the influence of Delius’s great friend and mentor Edvard Grieg. Delius first performed Sleigh Ride on the piano to a close group of friends, including Grieg. Orchestrated later under the title Winter Night, it went on to become Delius’s most popular miniature. The Norwegian Suite was commissioned as incidental music to the satirical play Folkeraadet. Delius’s clever use of the Norwegian national anthem throughout the score, however skilful, was seen as an insult to national sensibilities and uproar ensued, eventually forcing Delius to withdraw the music. Eventyr, translated as ‘Tales of Adventure’, evokes the spirit of Norwegian folk-tales. Delius applies some of his most imaginative orchestral strokes as he portrays a supernatural world of trolls, giants, demons, and pixies. Despite its brevity, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring is one of Delius’s sublime achievements, a perfect translation of nature and mood into music. Norwegian soprano Ann-Helen Moen joins the orchestral forces in Two Songs from the Norwegian.