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A Windham Hill Christmas

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 22, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sussex Carol - Tim Ellis
  2. Angels We Have Heard On High - Steve Erquiaga
  3. O Holy Night - Jim Brickman
  4. In Dulci Jubilo - Nina Gerber
  5. Christmas is Coming - George Winston
  6. The First Noel - W.G. Snuffy Walden
  7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Tim Story
  8. Silent Night - Tracy Silverman
  9. Medley - Alex de Grassi
  10. Deck the Halls - Liz Story
  11. O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Paul McCandless
  12. What Strangers are These - Will Ackerman
  13. The Holly and the Ivy - Triona Ní Dhomhnaill
  14. Lo, How a Rose - Paul Schwartz


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 22, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: October 22, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006JO4S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,866 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
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)...how 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.Read more ›
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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.
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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If you are familiar with Windham Hill recordings then you already know that their musicians produce some of the best and most affordable music around. This CD is all MUSIC meaning that there is no singing..... instrumentals only. Many Christmas classics have been around so long that artists take license with the music and apply their own "take" on how the music should sound. Because of this, I find that I am often disappointed with some if not many of the songs on a Christmas album. I am happy to say that these artists stay true to the traditional renditions of these timeless classics. The music is both thought and mood provoking with many containing an appropriately religous theme. (It's a Christmas album..... not an X-Mas album.) Listen to it once or twice and it will become just as essential to your Christmas celebrations as your tree, decorations, and holiay cheer. (Merry Christmas!!)
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Format: Audio CD
There are so many Christmas CDs out there that are just the same, boring recordings - it's like they recycle the same music over and over again! Not this one - all these new recordings from Windham Hill are exactly what fans of the label would expect. The music is just gorgeous when the family's sitting around the tree opening presents, for the Christmas dinner, or even just to enjoy holiday music.
I really liked Winston's "Christmas Is Coming" and the first track on the disc (can't remember the name); this is a great substitute gift for the 'hard to shop for' as well!
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Format: Audio CD
I can't tell you how tired I am of hearing the over-played carols and songs of Christmas. I loved them when I was a child. I liked them when I was in high school and college. I've heard same arrangements a million times and it makes me sad that they just don't do anything for me anymore.

Then there's the Windham Hill label! I would think that it has to be difficult to arrange songs that have been sung for 50-100+ years, keep the same spirit, and yet make them sound fresh and different. Somehow, the people over there have figured out how to do it...and do it very well! The predominantly accoustic arrangements are fresh, beautiful, and soothing to the soul.

This is my first Windham Hill album, and it certainly won't be my last! =)
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