A Winter's Solstice IV

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Carol Of The Bells

Silent Night

Crystal Palace

Winter Bourne

Dona Nobis Pacem

Wexford Carol

Just Before Dawn

We Three Kings

Angels We Have Heard On High

Sheep May Safely Graze

Trumpet Tune

Three Candles

The Rain From The Four Seasons

Christmas Hymn

Asleep The Snow Came Flying

 

 

Dawn Atkinson, Phil Aaberg, Michael Manring, Barbara Higbie, Paul McCandless, Turtle Island String Quartet (Anger, Balakrishnan, Summer, Seidenberg), Liz Story, Andy Narell

"Windham Hill Artists"

Steve Erquiaga

Øystein Sevåg

Paul McCandless

Michael Manring

Nightnoise

Will Ackerman

Barbara Higbie

Darol Anger & Mike Marshall

Modern Mandolin Quartet

Alex de Grassi

Schönherz & Scott

Turtle Island String Quartet

Billy Childs

Tim Story

3:30

3:08

3:25

3:50

2:11

3:53

4:34

3:50

4:38

4:04

4:39

4:47

3:32

1:48

4:33

Album produced by
Dawn Atkinson

Tracks produced by the respective recording artists, exceptions & additionals noted below when applicable

This Album is available new on Amazon.com

A Winter's Solstice IV (BMG 01934 11134)

 

The fourth holiday-themed album from the Windham Hill label, and the first cataloged by BMG, which at this point owned 50% of the label and shared executive duties with the co-founder (and still equity holder) Anne Robinson. This album again features completely original tracks recorded specifically for the album. Dawn Atkinson again has creative control for the record, with additional production from Howard Johnston, Steven Miller, and Phil Aaberg.

 

I rank A Winter's Solstice IV my favorite album of the collection. Every track is memorable, original, and the artists craft (in particular) their original compositions with such creative artistry it's a shame that these tracks haven't been accepted by the mainstream as Holiday Classics. Favorites include Paul McCandless's Winter Bourne (a unique and fun arrangement of the Spanish Carol Fum, Fum, Fum) and Tim Story's Asleep the Snow Came Flying.

 

(...among every other track. Other favorites include Billy Child's Christmas Hymn, Alex de Grassi's Trumpet Tune, Will Ackerman's greatest Winter Solstice contribution Just Before Dawn (with penny whistle performance by Mícheál Ó Domhnaill) and Schönherz & Scott's Three Candles). 

 

Three tracks are featured below for Winter's IV. The first is the brilliantly arranged 18th Century "Trumpet Tune" by Alex de Grassi. The "Trumpet Tune" is the Trumpet Voluntary originally composed by Jeremiah Clarke for his piece The Prince of Denmark's March. For the longest time (and even in 1993, when this album was recorded), it was incorrectly credited to Henry Purcell. Regardless, de Grassi's interpretation is one of the very best. Don't let the stereotypical Masterpiece Theatre theme song fool you, here! This is some burnin' finger style guitar. 

Also featured is Story's original "Asleep The Snow Came Flying," the closing track from this classic album. One of the most carefully layered acoustic/electronic pieces of music ever written, with the most beautiful capstone to an album. Martha Reikow's cello performance is particularly breathtaking.

Lastly, Will Ackerman's Just Before Dawn. If a piece of music can evoke a feeling of comfort and warmth by the fireside, while a brisk wind bellows in the early morning dark, this is it. 

 

This album comes highly recommended.