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

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

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

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