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First things first, I should say that I'm a long time fan of TSO's Christmas albums. I think they've revolutionized the Holiday genre in a way that has not been done since the 1950's. I love the drama, I love the rock sound, I love the classical music influence, I love everything about it. I am less of a fan, however, of TSO's non-Christmas albums. Beethoven's Last Night and Night Castle (2 CD) were disappointments for me. The good news is that the overall sound of this album is more akin to "Lost Christmas Eve" than "Night Castle" BUT it lacks a traditional holiday sound. On one hand I like that--because cover songs can get tired and boring--however on the other, it makes these tracks a little more difficult to mix into a holiday playlist. "Christmas Canon" or "Christmas Eve-Sarajevo" were classics for their new style but traditional melodies and Christmas-themed lyrics. There isn't a lot that's explicitly related to Christmas here, but at least 2 of the tracks i'm in love with (the others might grow on me) and will no doubt be adding them to my holiday playlist.

Here is what I thought, track by track.

WINTER PALACE - 3.5/5 - An instrumental Sarajevo-esque rock-enthused piano track. Sounds like an intro to one of their concerts and I have no doubt that it will be used as such. It's not personally one of my favorites because it seems to lack that "holiday" sound. Still, it is one of the better tracks on the EP.

DREAMS OF FIREFLIES - 5/5 - THERE IT IS! Same rock-infusion as the previous song, but this is much more holiday sounding to me. There's the dramatic Mozart/Beethoven influence, but with just a hint of Tchaikovsky to make it work. I love it.

I HAD A MEMORY - 2/5 - Female vocal track with a church choir-inspired chorus. "Hallelujah" is repeated throughout. Vocally and stylistically I'm not a fan though. It's dramatic, but it's no "Christmas Canon Rock." Perhaps it would sound better live, but it's too much of a mixed bag to add in my holiday playlist. The 3:00 time frame is also a little short to house such an epic-styled song.

SOMEDAY - 3/5 - Rustic male vocal track akin to "Old City Bar" and "The Snow Came Down" although not nearly as good as either of those tracks. Sounds more like a contemporary Christian song to me, even though lyrically it is an ode to ones parents. It's personal and emotional, but not especially good. Perhaps it will grow on me. Even as I write this it's growing on me a little bit, but when you compare it to those other two tracks I mentioned, it pales considerably.

TIME YOU SHOULD BE SLEEPING - 5/5 - More female vocals and this time it works. The song is thematic and Broadway Ballad-esque, a great little bedtime lullaby. Again, lyrically, there's not a lot here that has to do with Christmas itself. I guess you could imagine needing a lullaby to get kids to bed on Christmas Eve.. but, it certainly doesn't spell it out for you.

OVERALL: If you liked "Night Castle" you will LOVE this album. There's only 5 tracks, but it's better than all 2 discs of "Night Castle." If you're a fan of TSO's previous Christmas records, however, you may be slightly disappointed. There is nothing on here that is especially Christmassy (with the slight exception of the instrumental track "Dreams of Fireflies" and poorly done choir track "I Had A Memory") and nothing nearly as good as previous groundbreaking tracks like "Christmas Canon" "Christmas Canon Rock" "The Snow Came Down" and "Christmas Eve Sarajevo" (among many, many others). Also, the tracks are oddly short--more like concert interludes than actual album tracks. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that's why they were originally written. I give it an overall subtle recommendation, but if you haven't yet bought TSO's first 3 Christmas albums, you should DEFINITELY start there.

***ALSO: I was VERY impressed with the sound quality of this album. Even better than past albums.
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on November 8, 2012
After the 2009 release of Night Castle - which was an unwelcome departure from the magical Christmas music TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA is best known for - the group led by producer, composer, and lyricist Paul O'Neill has returned to what they do ever so well with a new batch of soon-to-be holiday favourites. Mainstays Jon Oliva on keyboards, Al Pitrelli and Chris Caffery on guitars, and Roddy Chong on violin, are all firmly in place for this must-have, five-track EP. Dreams Of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night) begins with a pair of instrumentals: `Winter Palace' and the title track. Much like the absolutely brilliant `Wizards In Winter', both new songs are instantly recognizable as TSO, and immediately kindle the festive spirit in young and old alike. `I Had A Memory' features inviting vocalist Erika Jerry echoing "Hallelujah" and urging everyone "to trust like a young child believes." Tim Hockenberry takes the microphone on `Someday', resulting in unavoidable goose-bumps and teary eyes, as he pays the most loving tribute to his parents. Wrapping it all up is Georgia Napolitano singing `Time You Should Be Sleeping', the most classically-tinged - and least seasonal - number of the set. Dreams Of Fireflies is long overdue, as TSO's last soundtrack to the time of year highlighted by decorated trees and candy canes came in 2004 with The Lost Christmas Eve. Clocking in at just less than 15 minutes in length, the EP unfortunately ends all too quickly; but this is definitely a case of quality over quantity. Merry Christmas everyone!
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VINE VOICEon October 30, 2012
The new TSO EP, "Dreams Of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night)" is not all that Christmas-y, in fact it's much more in line with the Broadway style that they are working on for their "Gutter Ballet" rock opera show. The opening track here, "Winter Palace" is typical TSO and will most certainly be the opening song on their upcoming Christmas tour. It's an instrumental (which they do so very well) and although not all that Christmas sounding, it will play very well on stage.
The title track "Dreams Of Fireflies" is a musical re-write of "Queen Of The Winter Night" from "The Lost Christmas Eve" album. "I Had A Memory" has a gospel feel and almost sounds like it came from "Hair" and "You Should Be Sleeping" is pure Broadway and sounds like a leftover from "The Phantom Of The Opera". This brings us to "Someday", this has been done on stage for the past several tours by Kayla Reeves and she does a great job, on this EP however the song is done by Tim Hockenberry who doesn't do the song justice.
Overall, not the best of TSO Christmas albums, the first album "Christmas Eve And Other Stories" remains the best.
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on October 31, 2012
I was disappointed in Night Castle. There isn't one song in that double album set that I have on my playlist. This album, however, is beautiful. I like the two instrumentals better than the vocals, but in general I think it's a winner. I would recommend it to anyone.
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on November 2, 2012
If anyone bought tickets to TSO's Christmas concerts this year, you will get an email to get these free. There is a download code for each ticket purchased. I tried using mine...FYO - I am using Firefox and these will not download with Firefox. Also, since I use AT&T U-Verse, they give me McAfee free. McAfee won't let these download either. So, if you get the email to get them free and you are using either of these sites, turn them off to get the songs. I briefly listened to the songs and they seem like remakes of previous songs but since they were free, what the heck. I love all their Christmas music anyway!
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on January 11, 2016
The five-song EP begins appropriately with a pair of instrumentals, "Winter Palace" and the title track, both of which are muscular, meticulous, and steeped in the kind of ornate, wintry melodrama that serves as the group's foundation. The remainder of the EP is relegated to non-instrumental cuts, including the theatrical praise-pop anthem "I Had a Memory," and a pair of stage-ready ballads in the sentimental "Someday" and the uplifting lullaby "Time You Should Be Sleeping.". I’ve been waiting on a new album from TSO. If you’re a big fan (like me) then this will be an obvious purchase for you. However whenever TSO does songs with people singing in them (which are about 50% of tracks on every album)...I’m a little disappointed. I honestly think their instrumental tracks are incredible and fully display their talent. Now don’t get me wrong...the singers are very good and in order to be a vocalist and/or musician for TSO...you have to be good! My favorites are still Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24, Wizards In Winter and O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night...they are classics already! I love TSO so like I said...it was a must buy for me, I just wish it were a full length album.
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on November 3, 2012
Being only an EP and not a full rock opera, I wonder if this is merely a taste of something to come. Either way, it's an excellent set of songs! A few I enjoyed immensely right away, but the other couple quickly grew on me. Yet another excellent accomplishment from the talented members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra!
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on January 16, 2013
The reason I chose only four stars is basically due to a degree of burnout. I still feel the music is moving and top notch, but the Christmas concept album by TSO, while commendable, moving and enjoyable, is a little long in the tooth. Maybe I wouldn't say that if it weren't for the fact that over the years some of the songs are revisions of previous songs, only given different names. Don't get me wrong; if they come out with another Christmas album next year, I'll no doubt buy it. If they come reasonably close to my geographic area to perform in something other than an arena venue, I'll go gladly. I'm still moved by the sometimes power and beauty of their music, both original and adaptations. Of course, the stories woven into each album are a major part of their power and charm. Also, I'm a sucker for metal and classical fusion. Given the fact that they've been making and selling albums and selling out concerts for years, it's obvious they have a formula that works for a wide audience.
For all the repitition and years of similarity, the music is still moving and seems genuine. It still works for me enough to uplift me more often than not. Dreams of Fireflies pretty much falls into all the above, though as a shorter volume it lacks the cohesive story. But that's okay.
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It's been a while for me getting around to picking up this CD. I already own the big three disc CD set of the other TSO Christmas music. I love it so much I can't wait for Christmas to come around every year, and even cheat with it during the summer at times. I decided to finally pick this one up because the price has come way down since its been around a while. And of course what I had come to expect from TSO was a lot considering their past success. Unfortunately this Firefly CD has turned out to be a disappointment. There are only 5 tracks on it, and none of them are beautiful or inspiring in any real way that one may have come to expect from TSO. It certainly isn't the worst Christmas music I have ever heard, but it is definitely not up to the TSO standards of their big three CDs of the past. I have to agree with another reviewer here that states that it's more like show tunes than Christmas music. Personally I do believe they just tried too hard to be cool this time around than original. Not the flavor, originality, nor ambiance I was expecting at all. I only recommended this CD at a used price, and only if you are an avid collector of all TSO music...
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on November 23, 2012
I have always loved TSO's Christmas music on CD and in live performance. So, I pre-ordered this item without even looking at it. It was TSO, it was Christmas, I wanted it. It never occurred to me that the entire collection would be about 15 minutes long. That wouldn't be so bad, although disappointing, but the content is even worse. The first two songs, Winter Palace & Dreams of Fireflies, are terrific. Vintage TSO. The other three are passable to annoying. Too sad.
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