’Tis the Symphony

A winter celebration

The Lesher Center for the Arts

1 hour 50 minutes, with intermission

This performance has already taken place

What’s Interesting About This Concert

  • The Snowman is an animated short film about a young boy and the snowman he builds, who comes to life. The audience watches on the big screen as the California Symphony and Pacific Boychoir Academy perform the soundtrack live.
  • Nominated for an Academy Award in 1983, The Snowman lost out to Tango. (No, we’d never heard of it either.)
  • Featuring an audience sing-along and festive favorites, the holiday concerts are the most popular of the year—perfect for all ages looking to get into the spirit of the season.

The Program

AndersonA Christmas Festival

Holiday SelectionsFeaturing the Pacific Boychoir Academy

Pacific Boychoir

The Pacific Boychoir was formed in 1998 with 6 boys, and it now includes more than 175 singers from ages 4 to 18. The New York Times said the PBA goes “beyond the reach of most youth choirs” and the Los Angeles Times described the PBA quality of sound and musicianship as “astonishing.”

The PBA has appeared frequently with the San Francisco Symphony, performing under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Masur, Robert Spano, David Robertson, , James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Herbert Blomstedt, and Vance George, performing works by Beethoven, Britten, Orff, Wagner, Mahler, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Berlioz. Along with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the PBA recorded Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the SFS, which won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Album in 2004. In January 2010, the San Francisco Symphony recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8, featuring the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and the PBA, was awarded Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Album.

The success of the chorus led to the formation in 2004 of the Pacific Boychoir Academy, the only full-time boys' chorus school on the west coast of North America. The choir school integrates a full academic curriculum with daily musical instruction for boys in grades 4-8. The choir school students learn sightreading, music theory and repertoire, as well as Math, English, History, Science, Art, PE, and Languages. The choir school has one of the lowest student:teacher ratios for independent schools in the Bay Area, and is a member of the East Bay Independent Schools Association (EBISA).

The chorus is divided into multiple groups: three training groups, two performing groups, and two groups for older boys whose voices have begun to change. The after school choirs rehearse up to four hours per week, and the day school choristers rehearse up to 15 hours per week.

The PBA has performed at venues such as Davies Symphony Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Basilica San Marco in Venice, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Teatro Polyteama in Jundiai Brasil, in Prague, Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center in Davis California, in San Francisco, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Chartres Cathedral, Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg, Sala São Paulo, Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, Yoshi's (jazz club), on Public Radio International (PRI), on Danish National Radio, at Grace Cathedral, at professional sporting events, and also has several self-produced concerts annually. In 2007, the PBA presented the first performances of (originally written for boys choir) by an American boys choir.

Choirs from the PBA have performed in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii, Kentucky, Washington, Oregon, Washington DC, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and have traveled to France, Germany, the Czech Republic, China, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, and Brazil. They have multiple CDs, a live CD, Christmas music by Benjamin Britten, two spirituals CDs, and a recording of two of Bach's "Lutheran Masses". They have sung with the San Francisco Symphony, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, , , , the orchestras of UC Berkeley and UC Davis, as well as with several top boy's choirs around the world, including the Vienna Boys' Choir and the Drakensberg Boys Choir.

The PBA has also performed with comedian Zach Galifianakis, is the voice of the Yahoo! yodel, has sung for the , performs dozens of free school performances every year, and published quite possibly the first ever choir tour blog, in July 2001

The Founding Music Director is Kevin Fox, who sings with the American Bach Soloists and the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys.

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TchaikovskySelections from the Nutcracker Suite


The Nutcracker (suite)

Tchaikovsky compiled his Suite from the ballet "The Nutcracker" (Сюита из бадета «Щелкунчик»), Op. 71a (TH 35 ; ČW 32), popularly known as The Nutcracker Suite, in January and February 1892. It was the only one of his three ballet suites to have been compiled an published during the composer's lifetime.


The Suite is scored for an orchestra consisting of piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets (in A, B-flat), bass clarinet (in B-flat), 2 bassoons + 4 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in A, B-flat), 3 trombones, tuba + 3 timpani, tambourine, triangle; cymbals + celesta, harp, violins I, violins II, violas, cellos, and double basses.

Movements and Duration

The Suite consists of eight numbers, grouped in three movements:

  • I. Ouverture miniature. Allegro giusto (B-flat major, 182 bars)
  • II. Danses caractéristiques:
    • (a) Marche. Tempo di marcia viva (G major, 88 bars)
    • (b) Danse de la Fée Dragée. Andante non troppo (E minor, 52 bars)
    • (c) Danse russe. Trépak. Tempo di trépak, molto vivace (G major, 84 bars)
    • (d) Danse arabe. Allegro (G minor, 102 bars)
    • (e) Danse chinoise. Allegro moderato (B-flat major, 32 bars)
    • (f) Danse des mirlitons. Allegro (D major, 77 bars)
  • III. Valse des fleurs. Tempo di valse (D major, 353 bars)

In the ballet these eight numbers correspond to the Overture; March (Act I, No. 2); the Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy (Act II, No. 14, 2nd variation) [abridged]; Russian Dance (Trepak) (Act II, No. 12d); Coffee (Arab Dance) (Act II, No. 12b); Tea (Chinese Dance) (Act II, No. 12c); Dance of the Reed Flutes (Act II, No. 12e); and Waltz of the Flowers (Act II, No. 13).

A complete performance of the Suite last around 20 to 25 minutes.


The Suite from the ballet The Nutcracker was compiled as a substitute for the symphonic ballad The Voyevoda on the programme of a Russian Musical Society concert in Saint Petersburg scheduled for 29 February/12 March 1892, at which Tchaikovsky was due to conduct his own works. Having destroyed the score of the ballad The Voyevoda following its premiere in November 1891, Tchaikovsky suggested replacing a suite of numbers from his new ballet The Nutcracker, which he was preparing to orchestrate [1].

Among the surviving rough sketches of the ballet, and also among notes on the manuscripts and other documents, are a number of variants of titles of the Suite. Originally Tchaikovsky intended to call it 'Suite from the ballet "The Fir Tree" (Сюита из балета «Елка») [2], or Suite from the ballet "The Christmas Tree" (Сюита из балета «Рождественская елка») [3], suggesting that the title of the ballet had not yet been settled upon [4].

The earliest lists of numbers for the Suite also contained Chocolate (Spanish Dance) and Final Waltz. The second movement — Danses caractéristiques — was to be called In the Kingdom of Sweets and Toys (В царстве лакомств и игруншек). The Danse des mirlitons was originally Reed Pipes (Свирелки), and the Danse de la Fée Dragée was to have been The Sweet Fairy (Фея конфект).

Tchaikovsky had begun orchestrating the numbers in the Suite by 28 January/9 February 1892 [5]. By 31 January/12 February 1892 the first number of the Suite was ready [6]. According to the author's note on the manuscript score, the orchestration was completed on 8/20 February, at Maydanovo.


The Suite was performed a week later than intended, at the ninth symphony concert of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Russian Musical Society on 7/19 March 1892, with Tchaikovsky conducting. The Suite quickly became a popular favourite, and other notable early performances included:

  • Moscow, 1st Electrical Exhibition concert, 4/16 July 1892, conducted by Vojtěch Hlaváč
  • Chicago, Auditorium, 10/22 October 1892, conducted by Theodore Thomas
  • Brussels, 2/14 January 1893, conducted by Tchaikovsky
  • Odessa, 1st RMS symphony concert, 16/28 January 1893, conducted by Tchaikovsky
  • Odessa, Rishelyevskaya School charity concert, 21 January 1893/2 February, conducted by Tchaikovsky (2 unspecified movements only)
  • Odessa, 3rd RMS symphony concert, 24 January/5 February 1893, conducted by Tchaikovsky
  • Moscow, special RMS symphony concert, 14/28 February 1893, conducted by Tchaikovsky
  • Moscow, 1st Imperial Theatres symphony concert, 7/19 March 1893, conducted by Tchaikovsky
  • London, Queen's Hall, 5/17 October 1896, conducted by Henry Wood.


On 9/21 March the composer wrote to Pyotr Jurgenson: "The suite from the ballet was successful. I don't think it would hurt to print it" [7]. The full score of the suite was issued by Jurgenson in May 1892, and the orchestral parts the following month.

The score of the Suite was not published separately from the ballet in Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works.


At the request of the Russian Musical Society, Tchaikovsky donated the manuscript full score of the Suite to the library of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and it carries the inscriptions: "To the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, as a souvenir of the concert on 7 March 1892. P. Tchaikovsky" [8].

For many years the full score was believed to have been lost, until it was discovered by chance by the conductor Yevgeny Zablotsky among some unrelated papers in 1946. It is now preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive (a1, No. 46), and consists of pages extracted from the full score of the ballet.


See: The Nutcracker (suite): Recordings

Related Works

See The Nutcracker.

External Links

Notes and References

  1. See Letter 4604 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 25 January/6 February 1892.
  2. See the sketchbook for the ballet — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  3. See the title page of the manuscript full score of the Suite.
  4. See Letter 4634 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 6/18 March 1892.
  5. See Letter 4606 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 28 January/9 February 1892.
  6. See Letter 4610 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 31 January/12 February 1892.
  7. See Letter 4641 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 9/21 March 1892.
  8. See also Letter 4643 to Pyotr Jurgenson. 14/26 March 1892.

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BlakeThe Snowman (Film viewing with score performed live)

The Snowman

The Snowman is a wordless children's picture book by English author Raymond Briggs, first published in 1978 by Hamish Hamilton in the United Kingdom, and published by Random House in the United States in November of the same year. In the United Kingdom, it was the runner-up for the Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British writer.[1][a]

In the United States, it was named to the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award list in 1979. The book was adapted into a half-hour animated television special in 1982, which debuted on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on 26 December. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The animated special has since become an annual festive event.

Animated television adaptation

The Snowman was adapted as a half-hour animated television special, by Dianne Jackson for the fledgling British public service Channel 4. It was first shown on 26 December 1982, and was an immediate success. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and won a BAFTA TV Award, out of two nominations.

The story is told through pictures, action and music, scored by Howard Blake. It is wordless, just like the book, except for the song "Walking in the Air" sung by Peter Auty. In addition to the orchestral score, performed in the film by the Sinfonia of London, Blake composed the music and lyrics of the song, performed by Peter Auty, a St Paul's Cathedral choirboy.

The special ranks #71 on the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes, a list drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, based on a vote by industry professionals. It was voted #4 in UKTV Gold's Greatest TV Christmas Moments. It came third in Channel 4's poll of 100 Greatest Christmas Moments in 2004.

Plot for the animated version

"I remember that winter because it had brought the heaviest snow I had ever seen. Snow had fallen steadily all night long and in the morning I woke in a room filled with light and silence, the whole world seemed to be held in a dream-like stillness. It was a magical day... and it was on that day I made The Snowman."

One snowy winter's day, a boy named James builds a snowman who comes to life at the stroke of midnight. He and James play with appliances, toys and other bric-a-brac in the house, all while keeping quiet enough not to wake James' parents.

The two find a sheeted-down motorcycle in the house's garden and go for a ride on it, disturbing an owl and several rabbits in the process. Its engine heat affects the insides of the Snowman's thighs, and he cools off in the freezer. Later on, they take flight over James's village, then the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Palace Pier, and then out over the ocean and north along the coast of Norway. You can also see Beachy Head in the background as they fly out to sea. They continue through an arctic landscape and into the aurora borealis. They land in a snow-covered forest where they join a party of snowmen. They eventually meet Father Christmas along with his reindeer; he gives him a scarf with a snowman pattern, and a letter or card addressed to "James, Brighton".

The following morning after the return journey, the sun has risen and James wakes up to find that the snowman has melted. In absence of his melted snowman, James reaches into his dressing-gown pocket and finds the exact same Snowman-decorated scarf given to him at the party by Father Christmas. As the end credits roll, James, with his snowman scarf from Father Christmas, kneels alone in silence, mourning the loss of his beloved friend.

Alternative beginnings

After the initial showing on Channel 4, and in its initial showings on television in the United States, an alternative introduction was sometimes used. Instead of Raymond Briggs describing how much it had snowed the winter he made The Snowman, while walking through the field that morphed into the animation of the same landscape, David Bowie was shown reciting a different speech after walking into the attic of 'his' childhood home and discovering a scarf in a drawer and then telling the same story.

This scarf closely resembles the one given to the boy towards the end of the film. The Universal DVD The Snowman & Father Christmas (902 030 – 11), released in the United Kingdom in 2000, uses the Bowie opening. (Despite being featured on the packaging. Some of the United States DVDs from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment don't have the David Bowie opening)[2]

To celebrate the film's 20th anniversary, Channel 4 created an alternate opening directed by , with Raymond Briggs' interpretation of Father Christmas recounting how he met the boy as well as mentioning how the heavy snow from that winter had him grounded. Comedian Mel Smith reprises Father Christmas in this opening. This version is also cropped to 16:9 widescreen.

Channel 4 used this opening from 2002 until Mel Smith's death in 2013, when the Bowie introduction returned, returning the film to its original aspect ratio. The 30th anniversary Blu-ray does not use any of the openings but includes all three openings as a bonus feature.

Production notes

The song "Walking in the Air" is sung in the film by chorister Peter Auty,[3] who was not credited in the original version. He was given a credit on the 20th anniversary version. The song was covered three years later by Welsh chorister Aled Jones in a single which reached #5 in the charts in the United Kingdom. Jones is sometimes incorrectly credited with having sung the song in the film.[4]

Though the boy in the book is unnamed, in the film he is named "James". This is clear on the tag for the present he receives from Father Christmas. The name was added by Joanna Harrison, one of the animators, as it was her boyfriend's (later her husband) name.[5] Additionally, Father Christmas mentions the boy's name in the 20th anniversary opening.

In the film, the boy's home seems to be in the South Downs of England, near to Brighton; he and Snowman fly over what appears to be Brighton; the Royal Pavilion and Palace Pier are clearly depicted. Later in the film, the tag on his present confirms this. Raymond Briggs has lived in Sussex since 1961.[6]

The film was produced using traditional animation techniques, consisting of pastels, crayons and other colouring tools drawn on pieces of celluloid, which were traced over hand drawn frames. For continuity purposes, the background artwork was painted using the same tools.

Home media

The Snowman was originally released on VHS in 1982 by Universal Pictures as well as Palace Video. It has been re-released various times by Palace and later Polygram Video, after Palace suddenly went out of business.

The Snowman was re-released in 2008 as a DVD special edition and again as a DVD and Blu-ray 30th anniversary edition in the United Kingdom on 5 November 2012 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment UK. The 2008 special edition peaked at No.3 in the Video Charts.[7] The 2012 home release includes four extra features, a Snow Business documentary, The Story of The Snowman, storyboard and the introductions from Bowie and Briggs.[8] The film re-entered at No.14 on the UK Official children’s Video Chart on 11 November 2012, eventually peaking at No.5 on 16 December 2012 based on sales of DVDs and other physical formats.[9]

2012 sequel: The Snowman and the Snowdog

A new 25-minute special titled The Snowman and the Snowdog aired on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve 2012 at 8pm GMT, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original short and of Channel 4. Produced at the London-based animation company Lupus Films,[10] with many of the original team returning, the sequel was made in the same traditional techniques as the first film, and features the Snowman, a new young boy named Billy and a snow dog, flying over landmarks and going to another party.[11]

The idea of a sequel had been resisted by Raymond Briggs for several years, but he gave his permission for the film in 2012.[12]

The sequel was dedicated to the memory of producer John Coates,[13] who died in September 2012, during its production.[14]


The original book has a slightly different plot. While the first half of the story remains exactly the same, James and the snowman do not visit Father Christmas, like they do in the film. In fact, all of the Christmas elements of the film were not present in the story. Notably, the boy's family does not have a Christmas tree in the house. After the snowman comes to life, they proceed to explore the boy's house.

After they see the family car and play with the lights, James prepares a feast that the duo eat by candlelight. Here, the snowman takes James outside again, and they begin to fly. Once James and the snowman take flight, they only fly as far as the pier seen in the film. They stop there and wait for the sunrise.

They hurry back, as the sun is rising, and James hurries inside again, like in the film. The book's finale does not show James finding the scarf in his pocket, as they never made the trip to Father Christmas, but he finds the snowman melted in the same fashion. Random House published an edition for the United States.[15]

Stage version

The Snowman has also been made into a stage show. It was first produced by Contact Theatre, Manchester in 1986[16] and was adapted and produced by Anthony Clark. It had a full script and used Howard Blake's music and lyrics. In 1993, Birmingham Repertory Company produced a version, with music and lyrics by Howard Blake, scenario by Blake, with Bill Alexander and choreography by Robert North.

Since 1997, Sadler's Wells has presented it every year as the Christmas Show at the Peacock Theatre. As in the book and the film, there are no words, apart from the lyrics of the song "Walking in the Air". The story is told through images and movement.

Special effects include the Snowman and boy flying high over the stage (with assistance of wires and harnesses) and ‘snow’ falling in part of the auditorium. The production has had several revisions – the most extensive happening in 2000, when major changes were made to the second act, introducing new characters: The Ice Princess and Jack Frost.

Video game

Quicksilva published an official video game in 1984, for the ZX Spectrum,[17] Commodore 64, and MSX.

See also

  • Granpa, Dianne Jackson's second animated film for Channel 4, with music by Howard Blake.
  • Father Christmas – Briggs' earlier two works Father Christmas and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday were combined into a film which was released in 1991. It features an altered version of the snowmen's party at the North Pole from this film. The young boy and the snowman from this film are seen in the background during this segment.
  • The Bear – another book by Raymond Briggs which was also adapted into a 26-minute animated version.


  1. ^ Today there are usually eight books on the Greenaway shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners up for the Greenaway Medal through 2002 were Commended (from 1959) or Highly Commended (from 1974). There were thirty one "Highly Commended" runners up in twenty nine years from 1974 to 2002, including Briggs alone in 1978.


  1. ^ "Kate Greenaway Medal". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 2012-07-18.
  2. ^ "Customer Discussions: Review Comment Thread". Amazon.com. Amazon.com. November 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  3. ^ Interviews with Peter Auty, Aled Jones, Raymond Briggs and John Coates on the making of documentary titled "Snow Business" included on the 2004 20th Anniversary DVD
  4. ^ For example: Barclay, Ali (4 December 2000). "The Snowman (1982)". BBC – Films. BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  5. ^ Interview with Hilary Andus and Joanna Harrison on the making of documentary titled "Snow Business" included on the 2004 20th Anniversary DVD
  6. ^ John Walsh (21 December 2012). "Raymond Briggs: Seasonal torment for The Snowman creator". The Independent. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  7. ^ Official Children's Video Chart Top 50 – 21 December 2008 – 27 December 2008
  8. ^ The Snowman | Blu-ray | United Kingdom | 30th Anniversary Edition | Universal Studios | 1982 | 27 min | Rated BBFC: PG | Nov 05, 2012
  9. ^ Official Children’s Video Chart Top 50 – 16 December 2012 – 22 December 2012
  10. ^ http://www.lupusfilms.com/ Lupus Films
  11. ^ Singh, Anita. "The Snowman and the Snowdog: a first look". Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  12. ^ "The Snowman and The Snowdog animator revisits classic". BBC News. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  13. ^ Barber, Martin (24 December 2012). "The Snowman and The Snowdog animator revisits classic". BBC News Online. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Snowman producer John Coates dies". BBC News Online. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  15. ^ a b "The snowman" (first U.S. edition). Library of Congress Catalog. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  16. ^ "The Snowman @ The Lowry" (no date). News and Reviews. City Life.
  17. ^ "Snowman, The – World of Spectrum". www.worldofspectrum.org.

External links

Read more on Wikipedia.org

VariousAudience Sing-Along

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AndersonSleigh Ride

Sleigh Ride

"Sleigh Ride" is a popular light orchestra standard composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946 and finished the work in February 1948. It was originally instrumental; the lyrics, in which someone asks another to join them for a ride in a sleigh, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950.[2] The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.[3] "Sleigh Ride" was a hit record on RCA Victor Red Seal 49-0515 (45 rpm) / 10-1484 (78 rpm), and has become one of the orchestra's signature songs. The 45 rpm version was originally issued on red vinyl. The Pops has also recorded the song with John Williams, their conductor from 1979 to 1995, and Keith Lockhart, their current conductor.


"A Brush for the Lead", lithograph by Currier and Ives, 1867. The song's lyrics compare a sleigh ride to a "picture print by Currier and Ives" (a 19th-century printing company that closed in 1907, 43 years before the song's lyrics were written).
"Sleigh Ride" performed instrumentally by the United States Navy Band in December 2012

Leroy Anderson's own 1950 recording of "Sleigh Ride" on Decca 9-16000 (45 rpm) and 16000 (78 rpm) reached Cashbox magazine's bestsellers chart when re-released in 1952.

"Sleigh Ride"'s main melody was used (with no credit for Anderson) as the main theme of Victor Young's score for the 1949 western Streets of Laredo. Mitchell Parish worked with Young around this time, writing the lyrics for Young's version of Hoagy Carmichael's previously instrumental "Stardust". In 1950 The Andrews Sisters recorded the first vocal version of "Sleigh Ride", using lyrics written by Parish.

Although "Sleigh Ride" is often associated with Christmas and appears on Christmas compilation albums, its lyrics mention no holiday (apart from certain recordings, such as those by the Carpenters, Walter Schumann and Air Supply, that substitute "Christmas party" for "birthday party" in the song's bridge). The song is noted for the sounds of a horse clip-clopping, and a whip used to get the horse moving. In most performances, a percussionist provides these sounds on temple blocks and a slapstick (or occasionally, drum rim shots), respectively. Toward the end of the piece, a trumpet imitates the sound of a horse whinnying.

According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) review of Christmas music, "Sleigh Ride" consistently ranks as one of the top 10 most-performed songs written by ASCAP members.[4] ASCAP named "Sleigh Ride" the most popular piece of Christmas music in the U.S. in 2009–2012, based on performance data from over 2,500 radio stations. Anderson's recording remains the most popular instrumental version, while Johnny Mathis's has become the most popular vocal version.[5]

In his book Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography [Praeger 2004], Steve Metcalf says "'Sleigh Ride' ... has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music."

"Sleigh Ride" is in rondo form.[6] The second section utilizes an unusual, unprepared modulation to III, then II.[citation needed] The difficulty of singing this has caused several recordings to alter the harmonies or omit this section altogether, as in the Phil Spector / Ronettes version.

The Ronettes version

"Sleigh Ride" was covered by American girl group the Ronettes. The Phil Spector-produced recording has become the most popular version outside the traditional pop standard genre, charting yearly in Billboard's Top Ten U.S. Holiday 100 and was #26 in 2018 in the Hot 100.[7] It features the well-known "Ring-a-ling-a-ling, ding-dong-ding" background vocals, and the clip-clop and whinny of a horse at its beginning and end.


Chart (1963–2019)Peak
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[8]30
France (SNEP)[9]193
Germany (Official German Charts)[10]75
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[11]17
Ireland (IRMA)[12]47
Italy (FIMI)[13]67
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[14]38
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[15]22
Portugal (AFP)[16]42
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[17]23
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[18]65
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[19]49
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[20]58
US Billboard Hot 100[21]26
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[22]10

Certifications and sales

RegionCertificationCertified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[23]Silver200,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Other notable recordings

Classical "Sleigh Ride" pieces

"Die Schlittenfahrt" ("Sleigh Ride") is also the popular name of one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Three German Dances. It is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Wolfgang's father, Leopold Mozart, whose own Divertimento in F major is popularly known as "Musical Sleigh Ride".

The "Winter Night" segment of Frederick Delius's Three Small Tonepoems is also commonly known as "Sleigh Ride".

The "Troika" movement of Lieutenant Kijé by Sergei Prokofiev is also a musical sleigh ride, referring to a three-horse team drawing a carriage (troika means "group of three"). Christmas carol expert William Studwell wrote that Prokofiev's work was "even better" than "Sleigh Ride", having a more "exhilarating" style and imagery.[24]

"Caribbean Sleigh Ride" is a work for symphony orchestra by Robert Wendel in the style of a fast Latin merengue.


  1. ^ Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliograph, Praeger 2004, chapter 2 – Works, pages 25–81.
  2. ^ Christmas in New England, Commonwealth Editions 2006, pages 116-121
  3. ^ Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography, Praeger 2004, chapter 2 - Works, pages 25-81.
  4. ^ ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs – "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting ...)" Tops List
  5. ^ "ASCAP Members Reign Over Top Ten Most-Played Holiday Songs List". ASCAP.
  6. ^ Wieland, William. "Listen for Form Answer Key". Northern State University. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "The Ronettes Sleigh Ride Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  8. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201851 into search. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Top Singles (téléchargement + streaming)". Syndicat National de l'édition Phonographique. December 28, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  10. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  11. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  12. ^ "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  13. ^ "Top Singoli – Classifica settimanale WK 52" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 31, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  16. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  17. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 201851 into search. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  18. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". Singles Top 100. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  19. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  21. ^ "The Ronettes Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  22. ^ "Michael Buble Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  23. ^ "British single certifications – Ronettes – Sleigh Ride". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 15, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Sleigh Ride in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  24. ^ William Studwell (1995). The Christmas Carol Reader. Psychology Press. p. 131. ISBN 9781560249740.

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