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Aled's Christmas Gift / boy soprano

Audio Samples

>Greene, Buddy : Mary, Did You Know?, song
>Kirkpatrick, William J. : Away in a manger
>     Cradle Song) (New English Hymnal 22)
>Holst, Gustav : In the bleak mid-winter
>Gruber, Franz : Silent Night
>Goss, John : See Amid the Winter's Snow, for chorus
>Traditional, Christmas : Hajej, nynej, Jezishku (Rocking Carol) (Czech)
>Rutter, John : What sweeter music
>Traditional, Christmas : Sussex Carol ("On Christmas Night")
>Davies, Henry Walford : O Little Town of Bethlehem, carol
>Traditional, Christmas : Sans Day Carol ("Now the Holly Bears a Berry") (a.k.a. St. Day Carol)
>Arthur, Edward : Tua Bethlehem Dref
>Berlioz, Hector : L'enfance du Christ, Op. 25
>Livingston, Jay : Silver Bells (for the film The Lemon Drop Kid)
>Traditional, Christmas : The First Nowell (English)

Album Summary

>Greene, Buddy : Mary, Did You Know?, song
>Kirkpatrick, William J. : Away in a manger
>Holst, Gustav : In the bleak mid-winter
>Gruber, Franz : Silent Night
>Goss, John : See Amid the Winter's Snow, for chorus
>Traditional, Christmas : Hajej, nynej, Jezishku (Rocking Carol) (Czech)
>Rutter, John : What sweeter music
>Traditional, Christmas : Sussex Carol ("On Christmas Night")
>Davies, Henry Walford : O Little Town of Bethlehem, carol
>Traditional, Christmas : Sans Day Carol ("Now the Holly Bears a Berry") (a.k.a. St. Day Carol)
>Arthur, Edward : Tua Bethlehem Dref
>Berlioz, Hector : L'enfance du Christ, Op. 25
>Livingston, Jay : Silver Bells (for the film The Lemon Drop Kid)
>Traditional, Christmas : The First Nowell (English)
Performers Composers
Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Coombehurst Studio, Kingston University, London; FX YourSpace Studios, London; Greendale Studios, London, England.

Responsible for one of the most iconic and enchanting Christmas songs of the past thirty years, "Walking In The Air," Welsh vocalist Aled Jones is one of the few boy sopranos to make the successful transition to adult classical star. The Radio 2 DJ and Songs Of Praise host has chalked up a rather prolific eight studio albums since his musical comeback in 2000 but it's still the theme tune to the animated version of Raymond Briggs' classic children's book The Snowman that remains his most enduring piece of work. Unafraid to embrace his association with the festive period, Jones returns, for the second time, with an album full of seasonal songs, following 2004's The Christmas Album. Like its predecessor, Aled's Christmas Gift is a collection of simply-arranged and faithful interpretations of traditional hymns and carols which showcase his rich and velvety baritone vocals. Avoiding the trap of lavishing its fourteen tracks with overbearing and intrusive orchestral arrangements, classical crossover producer Ian Tilley (All Angels), instead injects an air of subtlety into proceedings thanks to some tasteful acoustic instrumentation which allows the songs to breathe. Alongside performances of the ubiquitous "Silent Night" and "Away In A Manger," there are also several less-recognisable tracks which helps to differentiate the album from other similar-themed releases. "The Sussex Carol" is a folk-oriented piece written by a 17th Century Irish bishop, "Tua Bethlem Dref" is a traditional Welsh hymn Jones used to sing as a choirboy, while "Mary Did You Know" is the only contemporary composition, originally written by Christian singers Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene in 1984. While critically-acclaimed soprano Hayley Westenra provided the guest vocals on his previous festive release, Aled's Christmas Gift features a duet with someone rather less-known for their vocal prowess, fellow Radio 2 DJ Terry Wogan, whose only previous excursion into musical territory was his 1978 cover of "The Floral Dance." However, their rendition of Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell's "Silver Bells," taken from The Lemon Drop Kid, which could have been a rather misplaced novelty song, actually turns out to be a rather charming and endearing highlight. With its combination of classic seasonal favourites and more personal unfamiliar yuletide songs, Aled's Christmas Gift is a welcome addition to Jones' ever-increasing festive repertoire. ~ Jon O'Brien



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Works Details

>Greene, Buddy : Mary, Did You Know?, song
  • Performers: Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Anna Stokes (Flute); Elizabeth May (Cello); Una Palliser (Viola); Emilia Hughes (Voice); John Robinson (Bass); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Simon Beston (Keyboards); Zoë Brown; Rob Aitken (Guitar); Simon Lole (Piano); Simon Lole (Organ); Fiona Pears (Violin)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 40 sec.
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1990

>Kirkpatrick, William J. : Away in a manger :: Cradle Song) (New English Hymnal 22)
  • Performers: Anna Stokes (Flute); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Elizabeth May (Cello); Zoë Brown; Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Simon Lole (Piano); Simon Lole (Organ); Fiona Pears (Violin); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Simon Beston (Piano); John Robinson (Bass); Una Palliser (Viola); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1885

>Holst, Gustav : In the bleak mid-winter
  • Performers: Anna Stokes (Flute); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Elizabeth May (Cello); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Una Palliser (Viola); Emilia Hughes (Voice); John Robinson (Bass); Simon Lole (Organ); Simon Lole (Piano); Fiona Pears (Violin); Zoë Brown; Simon Beston (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1904-1905

>Gruber, Franz : Silent Night
  • Performers: Una Palliser (Viola); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Emilia Hughes (Voice); John Robinson (Bass); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Elizabeth May (Cello); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Anna Stokes (Flute); Simon Lole (Piano); Simon Lole (Organ); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Fiona Pears (Violin); Zoë Brown; Simon Beston (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1818

>Goss, John : See Amid the Winter's Snow, for chorus
  • Performers: Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Una Palliser (Viola); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Elizabeth May (Cello); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Simon Lole (Piano); Simon Lole (Organ); Fiona Pears (Violin); Zoë Brown; Emilia Hughes (Voice); John Robinson (Bass); Simon Beston (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Christmas

>Traditional, Christmas : Hajej, nynej, Jezishku (Rocking Carol) (Czech)
  • Performers: Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Simon Beston (Piano); Zoë Brown; Rob Aitken (Guitar); Fiona Pears (Violin); John Robinson (Bass); Simon Lole (Piano); Simon Lole (Organ); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Anna Stokes (Flute); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Una Palliser (Viola); Elizabeth May (Cello); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 9 sec.

>Rutter, John : What sweeter music
  • Performers: Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Zoë Brown; Fiona Pears (Violin); Simon Beston (Piano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Simon Lole (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Una Palliser (Viola); John Robinson (Bass); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Simon Lole (Organ); Anna Stokes (Flute); Elizabeth May (Cello); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Sam Coates (Keyboards)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1988

>Traditional, Christmas : Sussex Carol ("On Christmas Night")
  • Performers: Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Elizabeth May (Cello); Simon Lole (Organ); Simon Lole (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute); Simon Beston (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); John Robinson (Bass); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Una Palliser (Viola); Zoë Brown; Fiona Pears (Violin)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Post-Romantic
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: by 1892

>Davies, Henry Walford : O Little Town of Bethlehem, carol
  • Performers: Simon Lole (Organ); Anna Stokes (Flute); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Zoë Brown; Fiona Pears (Violin); Simon Lole (Piano); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Elizabeth May (Cello); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); John Robinson (Bass); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Una Palliser (Viola); Simon Beston (Keyboards)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: circa 1920

>Traditional, Christmas : Sans Day Carol ("Now the Holly Bears a Berry") (a.k.a. St. Day Carol)
  • Performers: Simon Lole (Piano); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Una Palliser (Viola); John Robinson (Bass); Anna Stokes (Flute); Zoë Brown; Emilia Hughes (Voice); Simon Beston (Piano); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Elizabeth May (Cello); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Fiona Pears (Violin); Simon Lole (Organ); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Christmas

>Arthur, Edward : Tua Bethlehem Dref
  • Performers: Simon Lole (Organ); Fiona Pears (Violin); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Zoë Brown; Simon Lole (Piano); Simon Beston (Piano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Ian Tilley (Piano); John Robinson (Bass); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Elizabeth May (Cello); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Una Palliser (Viola); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Berlioz, Hector : L'enfance du Christ, Op. 25
  • Performers: Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Elizabeth May (Cello); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Una Palliser (Viola); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Simon Beston (Piano); John Robinson (Bass); Zoë Brown; Simon Lole (Organ); Simon Lole (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Fiona Pears (Violin); Ian Tilley (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 10/1850-07/1854

>Livingston, Jay : Silver Bells (for the film The Lemon Drop Kid)
  • Performers: Terry Wogan (Spoken Vocals); John Parricelli (Guitar); John Kelly (Various Instrruments); Wix (Keyboards); Hayley Sanderson (Guitar); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Simon Hale (Keyboards)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Ray Evans (Lyricist) (1915 - 2007).
  • Running Time: 3 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1951

>Traditional, Christmas : The First Nowell (English)
  • Performers: Simon Lole (Piano); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Simon Lole (Organ); Zoë Brown; Ian Tilley (Percussion); Fiona Pears (Violin); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Una Palliser (Viola); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Simon Beston (Percussion); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Elizabeth May (Cello); John Robinson (Bass); Emilia Hughes (Voice)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 28 sec.
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: by 1823