’Tis the Symphony

A winter celebration


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The Lesher Center for the Arts

1 hour 50 minutes, with intermission

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

Leroy Anderson

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Leroy Anderson (/ləˈrɔɪ/ lə-ROY); (June 29, 1908 – May 18, 1975) was an American composer of short, light concert pieces, many of which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. John Williams described him as "one of the great American masters of light orchestral music."[1]

Early life

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Swedish parents, Anderson was given his first piano lessons by his mother, who was a church organist. He continued studying piano at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1925 Anderson entered Harvard College, where he studied musical harmony with Walter Spalding, counterpoint with Edward Ballantine, canon and fugue with William C. Heilman, orchestration with Edward B. Hill and Walter Piston, composition, also with Piston, and double bass with Gaston Dufresne. He also studied organ with Henry Gideon. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Magna cum laude in 1929 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[2] In Harvard University Graduate School, he studied composition with Walter Piston and George Enescu and received a Master of Arts in Music in 1930.[3]


Anderson continued studying at Harvard, working towards a PhD in German and Scandinavian languages; Anderson spoke English and Swedish during his youth and eventually became fluent in Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, German, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

At the time he was working as organist and choir director at the East Milton Congregational Church, leading the Harvard University Band, and conducting and arranging for dance bands around Boston. In 1936 his arrangements came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler, who asked to see any original compositions that he could use in his concerts as the 18th conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall.[4] Anderson's first work was the 1938 Jazz Pizzicato, but at just over ninety seconds the piece was too short for a three-minute 78-RPM single of the period.[5] Fiedler suggested writing a companion piece and Anderson wrote Jazz Legato later that same year. The combined recording went on to become one of Anderson's signature compositions.[6]

In 1942 Anderson joined the U.S. Army, and was assigned in Iceland with the U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps as a translator and interpreter;[4] in 1945 he was reassigned to the Pentagon as Chief of the Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence. His duties did not, however, prevent him from composing, and in 1945 he wrote "The Syncopated Clock"[7] and "Promenade." Anderson became a reserve officer and was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. In 1951 Anderson wrote his first hit, "Blue Tango," earning a Golden Disc and the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts.

His pieces and his recordings during the fifties conducting a studio orchestra were immense commercial successes. "Blue Tango" was the first instrumental recording ever to sell one million copies. His most famous pieces are probably "Sleigh Ride" and "The Syncopated Clock." In February 1951, WCBS-TV in New York City selected "Syncopated Clock" as the theme song for The Late Show, the WCBS late-night movie (using Percy Faith's recording). Mitchell Parish added words to "Syncopated Clock", and later wrote lyrics for other Anderson tunes, including "Sleigh Ride", which was not written as a Christmas piece, but as a work that describes a winter event. Anderson started the work during a heat wave in August 1946. The Boston Pops' recording of it was the first pure orchestral piece to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Music chart.[8] From 1952 to 1961, Anderson's composition "Plink, Plank, Plunk!" was used as the theme for the CBS panel show I've Got A Secret.

Anderson's musical style employs creative instrumental effects and occasionally makes use of sound-generating items such as typewriters and sandpaper.

Anderson wrote his Piano Concerto in C in 1953 but withdrew it, feeling that it had weak spots. In 1988 the Anderson family decided to publish the work. Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra released the first recording of this work; four other recordings, including one for piano and organ, have since been released.

In 1958, Anderson composed the music for the Broadway show Goldilocks with orchestrations by Philip J. Lang. Even though it earned two Tony awards, Goldilocks did not achieve commercial success. Anderson never wrote another musical, preferring instead to continue writing orchestral miniatures. His pieces, including "The Typewriter," "Bugler's Holiday," and "A Trumpeter's Lullaby" are performed by orchestras and bands ranging from school groups to professional organizations.

Anderson would occasionally appear on the Boston Pops regular concerts on PBS to conduct his own music while Fiedler would sit on the sidelines. For "The Typewriter" Fiedler would don a green eyeshade, roll up his sleeves, and mime working on an old typewriter while the orchestra played.

Anderson was initiated as an honorary member of the Gamma Omega chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at Indiana State University in 1969.


In 1975, Anderson died of cancer in Woodbury, Connecticut[3][9] and was buried there.[10]

In popular culture

For his contribution to the recording industry, Leroy Anderson has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1620 Vine Street. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988 and his music continues to be a staple of "pops" orchestra repertoire. In 1995 the new headquarters of the Harvard University Band was named the Anderson Band Center in honor of Leroy Anderson.[11] The Leroy Anderson House in Woodbury, Connecticut, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.[12]

In 2006, one of his piano works, "Forgotten Dreams", written in 1954, became the background for a British TV advertisement for mobile phone company '3'. Previously, Los Angeles station KABC-TV used the song as its sign-off theme at the end of broadcast days in the 1980s, and Mantovani's recording of the song had been the closing theme for WABC-TV's Eyewitness News for much of the 1970s.

The Typewriter was used as the theme song for Esto no tiene nombre, a Puerto Rican television comedy program – loosely based on the US television series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In – produced by Tommy Muñiz between the late 1960s and late 1970s. It is also the signature tune for the BBC Radio 4 series, The News Quiz which has been running since 1977.

"Forgotten Dreams" was used as a recurring theme in the French film Populaire (2012).


Orchestral compositions
  • Alma Mater (1954)
    1. Chapel Bells
    2. Freshman on Main Street
    3. Library Reading Room
    4. Class Reunion
  • Arietta (1962)
  • Balladette (1962)
  • Belle of the Ball (1951)
  • Blue Tango (1951)
  • Bugler's Holiday (1954)
  • The Captains and the Kings (1962)
  • Concerto in C Major for Piano and Orchestra (1953) (withdrawn by the composer, and released posthumously)
  • China Doll (1951)
  • Clarinet Candy (1962)
  • Fiddle-Faddle (1947)
  • The First Day of Spring (1954)
  • Forgotten Dreams (1954)
  • The Girl in Satin (1953)
  • The Golden Years (1962)
  • Governor Bradford March (1948) (published posthumously)
  • Harvard Sketches (1938) (later renamed "Alma Mater")[13]
    1. Lowell House Bells
    2. Freshman in Harvard Square
    3. Widener Reading Room
    4. Class Day Confetti Battle
  • Home Stretch (1962)
  • Horse and Buggy (1951)
  • Jazz Legato (1938)
  • Jazz Pizzicato (1938)
  • Lullaby of the Drums (1970) (published posthumously)
  • March of the Two Left Feet (1970)
  • Mother's Whistler (1940) (published posthumously)
  • The Penny Whistle Song (1951)
  • The Phantom Regiment (1951)
  • Pirate Dance (1962) (optional SATB chorus)
  • Plink, Plank, Plunk! (1951)
  • Promenade (1945)
  • The Pussy Foot Ballet Music (1962)
  • Pyramid Dance (1962) (optional SATB chorus)
  • Sandpaper Ballet (1954)
  • Saraband (1948)
  • Serenata (1947)
  • Sleigh Ride (1948)
  • Song of the Bells (1953)
  • Summer Skies (1953)
  • The Syncopated Clock (1945)
  • Ticonderoga March (1939) (Anderson's only work written for concert band)
  • A Trumpeter's Lullaby (1949)
  • The Typewriter (1950)
  • Waltz Around the Scale (1970)
  • The Waltzing Cat (1950)
Orchestral arrangements
  • Birthday Party (1970)
  • Chicken Reel (1946)
  • A Christmas Festival (1950) (original version was 9:00, later shortened in 1952 to 5:45)
  • Classical Jukebox (1950)
  • Harvard Fantasy (1936)
  • A Harvard Festival (1969)
  • Irish Suite (1947 and 1949)
    1. The Irish Washerwoman (1947)
    2. The Minstrel Boy (1947)
    3. The Rakes of Mallow (1947)
    4. The Wearing of the Green (1949)
    5. The Last Rose of Summer (1947)
    6. The Girl I Left Behind Me (1949)
  • Scottish Suite (1954)
    1. Bonnie Dundee (published posthumously)
    2. Turn Ye to Me
    3. The Bluebells of Scotland
    4. The Campbells are Coming (published posthumously)
  • Second Regiment Connecticut National Guard March (1973)
  • Song of Jupiter (1951)
  • Suite of Carols for Brass Choir (1955) (seven carols)
  • Suite of Carols for String Orchestra (1955) (six carols)
  • Suite of Carols for Woodwind Ensemble (1955) (six carols)
  • To a Wild Rose (1970) (arranged from the song by Edward MacDowell) (published posthumously)
  • Old MacDonald Had a Farm
  • Seventy-Six Trombones
Musical Theater compositions
  • My Sister Eileen (1952) (the music is lost)
  • Goldilocks (musical) (1958)
    1. Overture (1958)
    2. Bad Companions (1958)
    3. Come to Me (1958)
    4. Give the Little Lady (1958)
    5. Guess Who (1958)
    6. Heart of Stone (Pyramid Dance) (1958)
    7. He'll Never Stray (1958)
    8. Hello (1958)
    9. I Can't Be In Love (1958)
    10. I Never Know When to Say When (1958)
    11. If I Can't Take it With Me (1958)
    12. Lady in Waiting (1958)
    13. Lazy Moon (1958)
    14. Little Girls (1958)
    15. My Last Spring (1958)
    16. No One Will Ever Love You (1958)
    17. Save a Kiss (1958)
    18. Shall I Take My Heart and Go? (1958)
    19. Tag-a-long Kid (1958)
    20. The Beast in You (1958)
    21. The Pussy Foot (1958)
    22. There Never Was a Woman (1958)
    23. Town House Maxixe (1958)
    24. Two Years in the Making (1958)
    25. Who's Been Sitting in My Chair? (1958)
  • Gone With the Wind (1961)
    1. I'm Too Young to Be a Widow
    2. Fiddle-Dee-Dee
    3. This Lovely World
Vocal compositions
  • Do You Think That Love is Here to Stay? (1935)
  • Love May Come and Love May Go (1935)
  • The Music in My Heart (1935)
  • You Can Always Tell a Harvard Man (1962)
  • What's the Use of Love? (1935)
Organ compositions
  • Cambridge Centennial March of Industry (1946)
  • Easter Song (194-)
  • Wedding March for Jane and Peter (1972)
Other compositions
  • Hens and Chickens (1966) (for beginning piano)
  • Chatterbox (1966) (for beginning piano)
  • Melody on Two Notes (~1965) (for beginning orchestra)
  • An Old Fashioned Song (196-) (for beginning piano)
  • Piece for Rolf (1961) (for two cellos)
  • The Cowboy and His Horse (1966) (for beginning piano)
  • The Whistling Kettle (~1965) (for beginning orchestra)
  • Woodbury Fanfare (1959) (for four trumpets)

[14] [15]


The following is a selected discography of original recordings by Leroy Anderson. They were released from 1958 to 1962 on 33​13 rpm discs and on digitally remastered compact discs released posthumously. 78 rpm and 45 rpm discs from 1945–1962 and releases of identical recordings on different labels in U.K., Germany, New Zealand and elsewhere are not listed.[16]

Recordings by Leroy Anderson
  • Leroy Anderson's Irish Suite (Decca DL 4050; 1952)
  • Leroy Anderson conducts Blue Tango and Other Favorites (Decca DL 8121; 1958)
  • A Christmas Festival (Decca DL 78925 (s); 1959)
  • Leroy Anderson Conducts Leroy Anderson (Decca DL 78865 (s); 1959)
  • Leroy Anderson Conducts His Music (Decca DL 78954 (s); 1960)
  • The New Music of Leroy Anderson (Decca DL 74335 (s); 1962)
  • The Leroy Anderson Collection (Digitally remastered from original Decca analog recordings) (MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-A & B; 1988)
  • The Best of Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride (Digitally remastered from original Decca analog master recordings) (MCA Classics MCAD −11710; 1997)

Honors and awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa, elected June 17, 1929.[2]
  • Music Director, Harvard University Band 1929, 1931–1935[17]
  • Gold Record, Blue Tango, 1952
  • Member, Board of Directors, ASCAP, New York, New York 1960–1964
  • Member, Music Department Committee, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1962–1968
  • Goldman Citation, American Bandmasters Association, March 10, 1966
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Gamma Omega Chapter (honorary member), Indiana State University, 1969
  • Member of Board of Directors of symphony orchestras:
    • New Haven, Connecticut 1969–1975
    • Hartford, Connecticut 1971–1975
  • Honorary Doctorate (Ph.D), Portia Law School, Boston, Massachusetts June 1971
  • Honorary Doctorate (Ph.D), Western New England College, Springfield, Massachusetts May 1974
  • Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1976[18]
  • Named to Songwriters Hall of Fame, April 18, 1988[19]
  • Anderson Band Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University, dedicated October 26, 1995[20]
  • Leroy Anderson Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, dedicated May 31, 2003[21]


  • Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf: Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography (Praeger, 2004) ISBN 0-313-32176-0
  • Howard Pollack, Harvard Composers – Walter Piston and his Students (The Scarecrow Press, 1992) ISBN 0-8108-2493-0
  • Edward Jablonski, The Encyclopedia of American Music (Doubleday & Co., Inc. 1981) ISBN 0-385-08088-3
  • George McCue, Music in American Society 1776–1976 (Transaction Books., 1977) ISBN 978-0-87855-634-2
  • Christopher Pavlakis, The American Music Handbook (MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1974) ISBN 0-385-08088-3
  • David Ewen, Popular American Composers – from Revolutionary Times to the Present (H.W. Wilson Co., 1962)
  • Jan-Erik Ander & Jeremy Lamb (translator): New Sweden 1638–1988 (Swedish National Committee for New Sweden '88, 1992) ISBN 91-7176-146-2
  • Steven Ledbetter: 100 Years of the Boston Pops (Boston Symphony Orchestra, Inc., 1985)
  • Joseph Smith: Leroy Anderson – Scandinavian Review (American-Scandinavian Foundation, 2009)
  • Eliot Spalding: Vita: Leroy Anderson (Harvard Review, 1993)
  • Janet Frank: Syncopated Clock, Indeed! (The American Scholar – Phi Beta Kappa Society, 2008)
  • Jane Anderson Vercelli: Composer Leroy Anderson: Cambridge Born and Bred (The Newetowne Chronicle – Cambridge Historical Society, 2008)
  • Joanne Kaufmann: Leroy Anderson: Tuneful Blade Runner (Wall Street Journal, 1995)
  • Anthony Tommasini: Tuneful Gems from a Master: Leroy Anderson (New York Times, 1996)
  • Frederick Fennell: Music by Leroy Anderson (The Instrumentalist, 1990)
  • Anders Neumueller, editor: Leroy Anderson (Swedish Press Society, 1994)
  • Andrew & Martha Sherman, editors: Annual Report dedication to Leroy Anderson (Town of Woodbury, 2008)
  • Svea: Svenskättling Berömd Amerikansk Kompositör; Worcester, Massachusetts USA; (Svea Publishing Company, weekly Swedish American newspaper, November 10, 1949)
  • Norra Strö Hembygdsförening: Norra Strö: Bygden och Folket (Norra Strö Hembygdsförening, 2009) – documentation of Leroy Anderson's parents birthplaces in Sweden
  • Carin Dohlman: Leroy Andersons Julmusik; Wellesley, Massachusetts USA; (Gult och Blatt i Boston-New England, 2009)
  • Hans-Walter Berg: Leroy Anderson: ein Meister der Miniatur; Buchloe, Germany; (Neue Blasmusik, 1992)


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b "Syncopated Clock, Indeed"; Janet Frank, The American Scholar, Summer 2008, Phi Beta Kappa Society
  3. ^ a b Anderson, Eleanor; Rolf Anderson. "Official Biography > American Composer and Conductor of Light Concert Music". Leroy Anderson. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  4. ^ a b "Leroy Anderson biographical material". PBS. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  5. ^ "Compositions – Jazz Pizzicato". PBS. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  6. ^ "Compositions – Jazz Legato". PBS. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  7. ^ "Compositions – The Syncopated Clock". PBS. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  8. ^ "Compositions – Sleigh Ride". PBS. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  9. ^ "Leroy Anderson". Nndb.com. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  10. ^ "Leroy Anderson". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  11. ^ "Leroy Anderson Foundation, Cambridge Massachusetts, Birthplace of Leroy Anderson [1908–1975]". Leroyandersonfoundation.org. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  12. ^ "Leroy Anderson house, Woodbury", Connecticut Preservation News, May/June 2013, Volume XXXVI, No. 3, page 9, CT Trust for Historic Preservation.
  13. ^ The sections referring to Harvard locations were also renamed: "Chapel Bells", "Freshman on Main Street", "Library Reading Room", and "Class Reunion".
  14. ^ "Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography", Praeger 2004, Chapter 2 – "Works", Pages 25–81.
  15. ^ "Published Music" of the Leroy Anderson's website, maintained by his family.
  16. ^ Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. "Discography – Recordings by the Composer", Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, pp 84–94
  17. ^ Spalding, Walter Raymond: Music at Harvard, New York: Coward-McCann, 1935
  18. ^ "Leroy Anderson – Hollywood Star Walk – Los Angeles Times". Projects.latimes.com. 1975-05-19. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  19. ^ "Leroy Anderson Exhibit Home". Songwriters Hall of Fame. 1908-06-29. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  20. ^ [2] Archived January 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "Harvard Gazette: Leroy Anderson Square dedicated". News.harvard.edu. 2003-07-17. Retrieved 2015-08-17.

External links

Read more on Wikipedia.org

Holiday SelectionsFeaturing the Pacific Boychoir Academy

Pacific Boychoir

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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.

Read more on Wikipedia.org

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 première 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

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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 became prominent in British popular culture and its showings have since become an annual festive event.

Animated television special

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". 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.


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

The two find a sheeted-down motorcycle[2] in the house's garden and go for a ride on it, disturbing an owl and several rabbits. 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. They continue through an arctic landscape and into the aurora borealis. They land in a snow-covered forest and join a party of snowmen. They meet Father Christmas 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 come out and James wakes up to find that the snowman has melted. In absence of his melted snowman, James reaches into his pocket and finds the 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 for his lost 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. (The Bowie introduction is actually missing on some Sony DVDs, despite being featured on the packaging.)[3]

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 DVD doesn't 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,[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.

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,[8] 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 little boy and a snow dog, flying over landmarks and going to another party.[9]

The idea of a sequel had been resisted by Raymond Briggs for several years, but he gave his permission for the film in 2012.[10]

The sequel was dedicated to the memory of producer John Coates,[11] who died in September 2012, during its production.[12]


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. 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 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.[13]

Stage version

The Snowman has also been made into a stage show. It was first produced by Contact Theatre, Manchester in 1986[14] 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,[15] 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. ^ A red parallel twin about 500 cc, with kickstart and separate exhaust pipes, reg code HJK 596
  3. ^ "Customer Discussions: Review Comment Thread". Amazon.com. Amazon.com. November 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ For example: Barclay, Ali (4 December 2000). "The Snowman (1982)". BBC – Films. BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  6. ^ Interview with Hilary Andus and Joanna Harrison on the making of documentary titled "Snow Business" included on the 2004 20th Anniversary DVD
  7. ^ John Walsh (21 December 2012). "Raymond Briggs: Seasonal torment for The Snowman creator". The Independent. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  8. ^ http://www.lupusfilms.com/ Lupus Films
  9. ^ Singh, Anita. "The Snowman and the Snowdog: a first look". Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  10. ^ "The Snowman and The Snowdog animator revisits classic". BBC News. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  11. ^ Barber, Martin (24 December 2012). "The Snowman and The Snowdog animator revisits classic". BBC News Online. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Snowman producer John Coates dies". BBC News Online. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  13. ^ a b "The snowman" (first U.S. edition). Library of Congress Catalog. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  14. ^ "The Snowman @ The Lowry" (no date). News and Reviews. City Life.
  15. ^ [1]

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AndersonSleigh Ride

Sleigh Ride

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"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, where 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. 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.

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.[7]

"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. ^ William Studwell (1995). The Christmas Carol Reader. Psychology Press. p. 131. ISBN 9781560249740.

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