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CD 7706

Experience Christmas in Dallas!


Stunning New Arrangements of Carols for Brass and Organ Showcase Fort Worth and Dallas Symphony Artists

Christmas favorites reverberate in new and delightful ways this season in Hester Park’s latest release Christmas in Dallas: Carols for Brass and Organ (CD 7706). This CD recording combines superb talent, musical innovation, and stellar performances with the classic seasonal sound of brass and organ. Traditional carols and holiday favorites are garbed in sparkling new clothes by Dallas-based composer Christina Harmon, organist at one of the largest Baptist Churches in America.

Harmon is joined by Jeffrey Curnow, Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Symphony, and Adam Gordon of the Forth Worth Symphony in these performances which sometimes dazzle and sometimes shimmer with simplicity. Also featured on several numbers are Gregory Hustis, Principal Horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Clarece Candamio, organist at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas.

The disc opens with the visceral excitement and whirlwind flourishes of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, followed by a soulful and deeply moving Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming. A playful and propulsive arrangement of While by My Sheep I Watch’d at Night precedes a delightful and innovative juxtaposition of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and The First Noel. The dazzling interplay of Curnow and Gordon and a joyous and dance-like accompaniment give God Rest You Merry, Gentleman its energy. After this, Jeffrey Curnow’s artistry is showcased in the well-spun phrases in What Child is This.

A celebratory arrangement For Unto Us a Child is Born recreates one of the famous choruses from Handel’s beloved Messiah. Next a sparkling set of variations on a noel by Louis-Claude Daquin is followed by a frolicking rendition of Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly. A mood of peace and hushed anticipation is created in the gently lilting arrangement of Silent Night. Mozart’s Alleluia from Exsulate, Jubilate, K. 165 restores the festive atmosphere, and leads into Sussex Carol and the seamless soaring of Angels We Have Heard on High. An air of quiet mystery is effectively captured with the addition of a French horn in O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. The classical arrangements on the disc are rounded out by Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion from the Messiah, and Sinfonia from J. S. Bach’s Cantata No. 142. An exuberant Joy to the World precedes an arrangement of Away in a Manger which combines both melodies of this beloved carol to evoke a mood of childlike innocence and long lost charm. Recorded on the 1978 Schantz organ at the Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, the disc ends with a rocking, lullaby-like arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo to bring this disc of celebration and wonder to a gentle conclusion.

This release, fifty-seven minutes long, continues Hester Park’s commitment to distinctive repertoire and composers from underrepresented groups. The music featured here is also available in printed editions from Vivace Press, the parent company of Hester Park. Vivace Press has been called "a singularly lively source of published music" (Fanfare) and "the standard-setting publisher of unknown music by overlooked composers" (Piano & Keyboard).

Christina Harmon is organist at Park Cities Baptist Church. In the past, she has taught organ at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas and at the University of Texas at Dallas. Currently, she teaches organ at Eastland and Richland Colleges in Dallas and maintains a large class of students, many of whom have gone on to gain national recognition.

Jeffrey Curnow is currently Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He has been trumpeter with The Empire Brass Quintet since 1987, and he has performed with major orchestras throughout the world, including those in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Minnesota, Detroit, Cincinnati, the National Symphony Orchestra, and major orchestras in Japan and Switzerland. He has recorded for the MMG/Vox and Newport Classics labels with the New York Trumpet Ensemble and has thirteen major recordings on the EMI and Telarc labels with the Empire Brass.

Adam Gordon is currently trumpeter with the Fort Worth Symphony. He has performed as principal trumpet with the Sacramento Symphony, Opera San Jose, the Monterey County Symphony, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. He has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the National Orchestra of Mexico and recorded with Harmonia Mundi, Koch International, Hester Park, Teldec as well as others.

Christmas in Dallas, a pure digital recording, is available for $15.98 at major record outlets and from Albany Music Distributors, Inc. (Box 5011, Albany, NY 12205-0011, toll-free 800-752-1951). For more information call 800-543-5429 or write Hester Park, PO Box 157, Readfield, WI 54969 for a free catalog. Or simply visit our Web page at http://www.vivacepress.com.

Christina Harmon’s harmonious harbinger of the holidays promises to become a standard part of the Christmas repertoire for brass and organ. Experience it for yourself, at the beginning of a new - Dallas-style - holiday tradition.


Order this CD or send e-mail to Hester Park yordy@vivacepress.com