Friday, December 23, 2011

Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" performed by the Boston Pops

Leroy Anderson
Just for something to do, I thought I would post my three favourite Christmas songs leading up to the big day. Who knows if these really are my three favourites. It's a fairly arbitrary exercise when it comes right down it. A mug's game, as they say.

Maybe it's from my years in a high school band, but I have a real soft spot for light orchestral pieces, and Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" is one of my most loved, which I'll say comes in at number three for me as Christmas songs go.

Anderson finished writing it in 1948 and the orchestral version was first recorded by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1949.

In 1950, lyrics for the song were written by Michael Parish. Check out the Wikipedia page for a comprehensive list of those who recorded it. I always liked Karen Carpenter's version.

Curiously, the song's original lyrics don't mention Christmas at all, though it's probably considered by most to be a Christmas song. And, if there is any doubt, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), in their annual review of Christmas music, report that "Sleigh Ride" consistently ranks in the top 10 of most performed songs written by ASCAP members during the holiday season worldwide.

Many works composed by Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. In the clip below, John Williams, who led the Orchestra from 1980 to 1993, conducts them in this rendition of "Sleigh Ride."

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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