December 2, 2011 at 6:28 PMHear those sleigh bells ringing? Well if you haven't yet, you probably will soon. Here is one new album by a violinist, in the hopes that you'll find some good music this holiday season.
We've all heard of Copland's "Appalachian Spring"; well, violinist Mark O'Connor's "An Appalachian Christmas" is an entirely different concept! I expected a lot of bluegrass arrangements of Christmas tunes-gone-fiddle from this fiddler extraordinaire, but Mark has actually teamed up with many different musicians and offers a multi-genre mix of both holiday and non-holiday tunes, including both instrumental and vocal numbers. A few duets with RenŽe Fleming lean toward a classical sound (including spare, violin-vocal arrangement of "Amazing Grace" that is one of the most effective moments in the album ). The album also includes a rather electric-sounding "Sleigh Ride"; a duet with James Taylor called "Ol' Blue"; a peaceful "Slumber My Darling" with Alison Krauss, Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma; and a slow-moving duet with mandolinist Chris Thile called "One Winter's Night." My favorite moments are when Mark fiddles out, such as in the introduction to "Winter Wonderland" with vocalist Jane Monheit. The album concludes with Mark's signature composition, Appalachia Waltz.
Our first winner was Danielle Martin of Seneca, South Carolina, and our second winner was Stephanie Munoz of Chuluota, Florida. There's one more chance to win, and we'll keep this up through Sunday. To enter, please go to our contest page.
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