Erich Kunzel, Billboard's top classical crossover artist, celebrates the season with Christmas with the Pops. Rosemary Clooney, Sherrill Milnes, Doc Severinsen, Toni Tennille, and others join the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in a holiday celebration that has something for everyone. It includes both old favorites and festive instrumental versions. Recorded in the Telarc tradition, the disc features the sound quality of a live concert performance.
Kunzel and the Pops present twenty favorite Christmas songs and carols, both traditional and modern, in a wide variety of styles and genres. Many different time periods and countries are represented on this recording.
Many of the carols we sing today including “Deck the Halls,” “The First Noel,” and “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” all probably date from 16th century England, whose rich folk tradition produced many carols. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” are also of English origin. France is represented by “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “O Holy Night,” while “O Tannenbaum” and “Silent Night” originated in 17th century Germany and Austria, respectively.
Across the Atlantic, American popular music greatly enriched the Christmas repertoire, with songs like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Frosty the Snowman.” The stage and screen have also popularized holiday songs. Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” was originally heard in the 1942 film “Holiday Inn” (it is sung by Rosemary Clooney on this recording), and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” comes from “Meet Me in St. Louis.”