A Festival of Carols in Brass

Pete - Doll from 1930s

A Festival of Carols in Brass performed by the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble is my last Christmas CD recommendation for 2012.  Here are two Amazon reviews.

“This collection is over thirty years old and it sets the standard for Christmas brass music. It would be my guess that many of people who already own this disc first purchased it as an LP. Others will purchase the disc because their parents and grandparents owned the disc and it has become a holiday musical tradition. Over the years it has been one of Columbia’s best selling albums and listeners will easily understand why. Listeners will almost feel as if the Salvation Army Band is right outside serenading Christmas shoppers. Listeners will quickly discover that many of the tracks of this collection are familiar from radio play. Probably the most creative and perhaps best known arrangements are the group’s version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” You cannot go wrong purchasing this disc.”

“Several raters have complained about the lack of a listing of the performers on this disc. The Philadelphia Brass Ensemble was nothing more than the principal and second players of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Perhaps “nothing more” is not the best way to describe this as the performers were, at the time, some of the best players in the US. Gilbert Johnson (trumpet) was considered (until his death from cancer a few years ago) one of the finest trumpeters to ever have played in a symphony orchestra. When I was growing up, Henry Charles Smith (trombone) was the model we all looked up to for how a orchestral principal trombone should sound. He was the Joseph Alessi of the time. The same could be said for Mason Jones (french horn) and Abe Torchinsky (tuba). All of these players had students who are playing in major symphony orchestras around the world and continue to inspire future performers through their many recordings. To my knowlege, the performers are:

Gilbert Johnson (Trumpet)
Seymour Rosenfeld (Trumpet)
Mason Jones (French Horn)
Henry Charles Smith (Trombone)
Tyrone Breuninger (Trombone)
M. Dee Stewart (Euphonium)
Abe Torchinsky (Tuba)”