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Christmas Symphony

211 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 11, 2011
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Christmas Symphony + Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Symphony II + Candlelight Christmas
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Editorial Reviews

2011 holiday album from Chip Davis and Co. containing all new renditions of yuletide favorites performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Symphony features 16 holiday tracks expanded into full symphonic arrangements and performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to demand by Mannheim Steamroller's always-growing fan base, Christmas Symphony will resonate with classic music listeners.


1. Deck the Halls
2. Greensleeves
3. Little Drummer Boy
4. The Holly and The Ivy
5. Cantique de Noël (O Holy Night)
6. Hark! The Herald Trumpets Sing Fanfare
7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
8. Gagliarda
9. In Dulci Jubilo
10. Wassail, Wassail
11. Carol of the Birds
12. I Saw Three Ships
13. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
14. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Rock)
15. Angels We Have Heard On High
16. Stille Nacht (Silent Night)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: October 11, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: American Gramaphone
  • ASIN: B005HWUC86
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,849 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

272 of 276 people found the following review helpful By dliamt on October 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First, for anyone who does not already know: The arrangements on this CD are essentially the same as the ones on the previous MS CDs. The only real difference is the instrumentation. So, for example, "Deck The Halls" and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" are still played in that bouncy 12/8 time as they were so many years ago, but instead of synthesized horns and keyboards, they're now played by an actual symphony. Whether or not this will be enough to make the album a worthwhile purchase for you depends on a few things.

If you're just a casual fan of MS, I really don't think the differences will be enough to make this CD too interesting. However, if you're a diehard fan who grew up listening to this stuff every year, and you know the original arrangements inside-out, like I do, then it's a lot of fun to hear how they've been reworked on this CD. Everything sounds so much bigger and richer this time around, and replacing synthesizers with acoustic instruments makes certain songs feel a lot more expressive.

If you're not much of an audiophile, or you just play MS's music on a cheap CD player in the background, I don't think you'll get too much out of this (assuming you already own the previous albums. But if you tend to listen through headphones, or on a good sound system, then the fullness of the sound makes this a very enjoyable, worthwhile CD to add to your collection.

If you've never bought a MS Christmas CD, then I would not hesitate to recommend starting with this one. It takes some of their best music throughout the years, and makes it even better. Removing the synthesizer sounds actually makes the music much more timeless than any of their other CDs.
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107 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Bret White on October 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This is a great CD of Mannheim Steamroller favorites unplugged for full symphonic arrangement. Instead of electric bass in Little Drummer Boy you get the sound of a full Tuba section. In the trumpet runs of Hark the Herald Angels Sing you get a nice little background string and piccolo run for compliments. Suspended cymbals and gongs have been added with extra timpani throughout the album and in Silent Night, instead of choir oohs there is a beautiful performance of cello solo. Live horn players add to the push and crescendo where in the original recordings the synthesizers do not. I only wish that Carol of the Bells, Good King Wenceslas and Joy to the World would have been included. Perhaps Christmas Symphony II
I really have no idea what others mean when they say they can't hear any difference, to me it was very intriguing. I will admit though, that Greensleeves, The Holly and the Ivy, Hark! The Herald Trumpets Sing and a couple of the renaissance do sound very similar to the original studio recordings. However, hearing Mannheim Steamroller in entirely acoustic setting is pretty fun and comes off nicely. I love the little changes and unexpected add-ins, even if sometimes they are minute, because in a way its like hearing your favorite song all over again for the first time. That's how Hark the Herald Angels Sing was for me. In a way, they re-steamrolled some of their classic arrangements. Its the same arrangement you love, but you hear nice surprises and always know you can expect more along the way.
It's not entirely unplugged, though. The background synth in Deck the Halls is there, but mixes nicely.)

I did edit this a little because I reread my original review and felt that it was a little rude. I did not mean to be and do apologize if it seemed so.
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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Clentie A Michael on October 24, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I saw this at the store and immediately bought it, I love Mannheim Steamroller music - especially the Christmas music. I too was disapointed that it does not contain any new music. While it does have a little different sound for some of the songs, I don't think it warrants buying the album if you already have the other Christmas collections - most of the songs are now on 3 different CD's. I wish I would have looked at the reviews first.

I would highly recommend this CD for those who do not own previous Mannheim Christmas CD's.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By D. Whitworth on November 8, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love their music but in recent years it seems that all their new album releases contain songs from previous years with nothing new. How about some new material?
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72 of 88 people found the following review helpful By C. Kingsley on October 17, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Okay, When I saw that Chip Davis and The Mannheim Steamroller were releasing a new Christmas album, I was quite excited. Imagine my disappointment when I take a listen to the tracks. Orchestral versions of the same old music that has been recycled and recycled season after season. Gone are the days when "18th Century Rock and Roll" was inventive and interesting. Now, Mannheim Steamroller is old hat. The music is "been there, done that." This new album offers nothing new. As a long time Steamroller fan, I feel cheated. If you want to listen to Christmas music, stick to the original 1984 "Christmas" and 1988 "A Fresh Aire" releases - better yet, spin a vinyl copy of both of them.

Symphonic treatments of Steamroller classics seem like a great idea, but not when the arrangements sound like they're labored and forced. "Deck the Halls" is an orchestral train wreck, same with the rock version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman," which looses its immediacy and pacing when surrounded by too many instruments. Unfortunately, the album only picks up steam near the end, "Angels We Have Heard on High" is quite nice. The album would be better if the arrangements were more streamlined and there was cohesion as far as microphone placement (i.e. there is way too much brass and the strings seem like they're stuck in the background). This doesn't hold a candle to the original recordings, it's a good try though.
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