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Melodies for Christmas
Werner WILDE (b.1949)

A Christmas Story for Orchestra; Raise your eyes to the sky, Hosanna to the son of David, Ave Maria, Magnificat, Silent Night, A rose has blossomed, Honoured by God in the heavens, You come from the stars, In dulci jubilo, O come all ye faithful.

HAENSSLER CD 98.457 [53.30]


Wilde and Haenssler must intend that we are not distracted from the music for, unusually, they do not tell us who the players are. The notes are quite full and there is even a studio portrait of the calmly smiling Wilde gazing out at us.

There are no voices involved - only the orchestra speaking in delicate and pellucidly orchestrated tones. There are no gargantuan touches no Handelian sepia. Solo instruments (bassoon, clarinet, trombone) sing out as if voices. The meditative quality of this sometimes drifts into redolences of Hovhaness, the Gabrielis, Finzi, impudently Mozartian (tr.8) or effervescently Haydnesque (tr.9). This could have been the last word in kitsch but it is not. It is inventively orchestrated as in the case of the A Rose has Blossomed with its vibraphone and clarinet.

These are delicate treatments of traditional Christmas melodies in a well sustained and laid out sequence. Light music, pleasing without demanding undivided attention.

Rob Barnett


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