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

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

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

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

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

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

>Arthur, Edward : Tua Bethlehem Dref
  • Performers: Simon Lole (Organ); John Robinson (Bass); Fiona Pears (Violin); Zoë Brown; Rob Aitken (Guitar); Simon Lole (Piano); Simon Beston (Piano); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Elizabeth May (Cello); Una Palliser (Viola); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); 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); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Una Palliser (Viola); Emilia Hughes (Voice); John Robinson (Bass); Simon Beston (Piano); Zoë Brown; Fiona Pears (Violin); Simon Lole (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Simon Lole (Organ); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute); Elizabeth May (Cello); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); 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: Hayley Sanderson (Guitar); Terry Wogan (Spoken Vocals); Simon Hale (Keyboards); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); John Kelly (Various Instrruments); John Parricelli (Guitar); Wix (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); Fiona Pears (Violin); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ian Tilley (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Zoë Brown; Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Simon Lole (Organ); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Simon Beston (Percussion); John Robinson (Bass); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Elizabeth May (Cello); Una Palliser (Viola); Anna Stokes (Flute); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 28 sec.
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: by 1823