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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>Berlioz, Hector : L'enfance du Christ, Op. 25
  • Performers: Ian Tilley (Percussion); Simon Lole (Organ); Simon Lole (Piano); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Fiona Pears (Violin); Zoë Brown; Simon Beston (Piano); John Robinson (Bass); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Una Palliser (Viola); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Elizabeth May (Cello); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Piano)
  • 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: Simon Hale (Keyboards); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); John Kelly (Various Instrruments); John Parricelli (Guitar); Wix (Keyboards); Terry Wogan (Spoken Vocals); Hayley Sanderson (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 (Organ); Rob Aitken (Guitar); Fiona Pears (Violin); Zoë Brown; Ian Tilley (Keyboards); Ian Tilley (Percussion); Ian Tilley (Piano); Simon Beston (Percussion); John Robinson (Bass); Emilia Hughes (Voice); Una Palliser (Viola); Charlotte Ashley (Oboe); Anna Stokes (Recorder); Anna Stokes (Flute); Katie Flanaghan (Harp); Elizabeth May (Cello); Aled Jones (Boy Soprano); Sam Coates (Keyboards); Ben Crawley (Boy Soprano); Simon Lole (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 28 sec.
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: by 1823