Christmas Music for Varied Sensibilities

Louis Conservatory of Music.

The tight and sophisticated arrangements are by the group’s director, Charles Mead. So are two of the compositions: an “Iroquois Prayer

for World Peace” and, unusual for a Christmas album, a “Prayer for Our

Children” based on the traditional Jewish song “Sim Shalom.” The other material is more or less familiar, but the treatments tend toward theunorthodox.

“I’ll I do Be Home for Christmas up in a cool doo-wop style, for example, “O Holy Night” has a gospel feel, and “Auld Lang Syne” is spiced with Cajun rhythms.

GEORGE BALANCHINE’S “THE NUTCRACKER” Music from the original soundtrack (Elektra Nonesuch) GEORGE BALANCHINE’S

“THE NUTCRACKER” Kevin Kline, narrator (Elektra Nonesuch)

The ballet called “The Nutcracker” is credited to its composer, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. But it’s the choreography by George Balanchine

that dominates the current movie, and so it’s Balanchine’s name that gets the biggest display on these two similarly titled albums.

The albums’ musical content is similar, too; in fact, the differences have to do only with packaging.

On both discs the music is played by the New York


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