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A Windham Hill Christmas
Various Artists
A Windham Hill Christmas
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Folk, World Music, Jazz, Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Rock, Soundtracks, Christian
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

The songs are familiar carols, but A Windham Hill Christmas retains the Windham Hill Winter Solstice series tradition of unusual arrangements and performances that evoke the mood of the season, especially if your take on t...  more »


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The songs are familiar carols, but A Windham Hill Christmas retains the Windham Hill Winter Solstice series tradition of unusual arrangements and performances that evoke the mood of the season, especially if your take on that mood is a Northeast, snow-covered landscape, like that depicted on the Hallmark card-like cover. The usual bevy of Windham Hill sampler artists are all here, but it's some of the secondary cast that give the most innovative performances. Tracy Silverman & Thea Suits reinvent "Silent Night." With his pizzicato-delay violin, Silverman lays down a 6/8 rhythm while abstracting the familiar hymn across his bowed violin and Suits's flute, turning it into an ethereal instrumental chorale. Barbara Higbie re-ignites "In Dulci Jubilo" as a Celtic reel, overdubbing herself on piano, violin, Celtic harp and synthesizer. And W.G. Snuffy Walden lays some rustic acoustic guitar across a chamber reading of "The First Noel." There's a few clunkers, notably George Winston inflicting his Vince Guaraldi infatuation on us again; Jim Brickman with a rote reading of "O Holy Night"; and an uncharacteristically saccharine arrangement of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" by the usually sublime Tim Story. But Mom and Dad will like them, and they serve to highlight the inventiveness of the rest of A Windham Hill Christmas, which is nostalgic and atmospheric at the same time. --John Diliberto

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CD Reviews

A Holiday Gem: Windham Hill Has Done it Again!
E. M. Holderman | Perryville, Kentucky USA | 11/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sometimes, you find a cd that speaks to your heart in such a way, that you want everyone to know about it. "A Windham Hill Christmas" is such a cd. Through the years, Windham Hill has provided a peaceful alternative to most traditional-like Christmas music. This is no exception! With this latest Holiday recording (just released this October), various Windham Hill artists have compiled new instrumental arrangements of traditional carols, just for this cd. With a remarkable lineup of talented musicians...George Winston(solo piano), Liz Story(solo piano), Will Ackerman(baritone guitar), David Cullen(guitar), W.G. Snuffy Walden(guitar), Tracy Silverman(violin, electric 6-string violin & keyboards), Thea Suits(flute), Jim Brickman(piano), Steve Erquiaga(nylon-string guitar), Barbara Higbie(Celtic harp, violin, piano & synthesizer), Tim Story(piano & synthesizers), Paul Schwartz(piano), Nightnoise(guitar, piano, flute & violin), Alex de Grassi (solo guitar), Jeff Johnson (keyboards), Brian Dunning(whistles & accordian), John Fitzpatrick(violin) and Paul McCandless(oboe, English horn & keyboards) can you go wrong?!? If I had to describe the tone of this recording, it would be: Beautifully Serene! My favorite song is W.G. Snuffy Walden's arrangement of "The First Noel." It is very poignant and moves me tears. It is my favorite Christmas carol. The only flaw, per say, is an error in the sequence of songs. The cd cover list's song #5 as "Chirstmas Is Coming," by George Winston, and song #6 as "The First Noel," by W.G. Snuffy Walden. The actual sequence on the cd is just the opposite, with Walden's song being #5 and Winston's #6. Hey, believe me, it's no biggie. Just a slight mixup. It has no bearing on the quality of the music. If you're a long time Windham Hill fan, chances are you already have this cd, or are getting ready to purchase it. If this is your first introduction to Windham Hill, you've come to the right place. This will be one of the most peaceful Christmas cd's you could ever own. Makes for wonderful background music while you're wrapping gifts, addressing Christmas cards, or hosting a Holiday get-together. It's especially nice to "cozy up with" by yourself, over a hot cuppa tea or cocoa :-) It sure would make for a nice gift, too. You may also want to check out "The Carol's of Christmas," another instrumental Holiday recording from The Windham Hill Collection, and another favorite of mine. I predict "A Windham Hill Christmas" will be one of this Season's bigget sellers and become another Windham Hill
"classic." IT IS THAT BEAUTIFUL!! Do yourself a favor and buy it.
Merry Christmas!"
Superb Continuation of the Windham Hill Tradition
David M. Garrett | San Antonio, Texas USA | 12/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A Windham Hill Christmas is a delightful, calming presentation of seasonal favorites -- perfect for a quiet, cozy eve before the fire. The new or veteran WH listener will find a nice collection of the labels best artists - Brickman, de Grassi, ACkerman (guitar), Winston (piano), Nightnoise (instrumental/vocal) -- as well as the lesser known who lend variety and depth to this collection. A Windham Hill Christmas is a pleasant continuation of the atmosphere created in the label's Winter Solstice and December albums and calming contrast to the pop, rock and new age, electronically synthesized tones for a more hectic pace."
A fantastic new release
R. Shumskis | Maryland, USA | 11/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my first Windham Hill CD, but I have listened to at least one of their artists (J. Brickman) previously. Every year I shop for new Christmas CDs in November, and this one came out in October, so it's good timing.For the most part the songs are smooth, mellow, and very relaxing, taking a pretty traditional approach to the songs. The only exceptions are the "Sussex Carol", which is somewhat fast, and "Christmas is Coming", by Vince Guaraldi, which is quite fast.As one fellow reviewer noted, tracks 5 and 6 are switched from the liner track listing. When I first listened to [the supposed] "First Noel" I thought, "What kind of version is this?!" until I listened to the other track and realized the mix-up.If you want an easy-listening night by the fire this is a wonderful accompaniment. It should enjoy a long life in my Christmas CD collection."