A Piano Christmas in the 1920s CD
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“These are new digital recordings of a beautifully preserved 1929 Haines Brothers Ampico reproducing grand piano…
I have often heard pianists and organists improvise and chain together groups of songs and hymns. I am familiar with some of the greatest notated songs arrangements, like the Gershwin Songbook. I am also somewhat in awe of those who can do this with all the panache and fresh originality required to keep things interesting. The selections here are mostly inventive medleys of Christmas songs (and some standards of the period). There are also a number of single pieces, like Pietro Yon's 'Gesu Bambino' played by the composer as a piano solo. Pieces like Fritz Kreisler's 'Toy Soldier's March' seem to capture the essence of what Christmas music was all about back in the 1920s. If you are familiar with and enjoy that era and style, then this is a must for your holiday listening pleasure.”
American Record Guide
"Fortunately this arrived for review as the Seasonal festivities began and I was able to enjoy an hour's worth of 1920s Ampico pleasure, snuggling by the fireside...I enjoyed the well-researched notes. The transfers are digital using a 1929 Haines Brothers Ampico reproducing piano owned by collector Thomas Venturella....[an] enjoyable and unabashed collection."
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL 12/30/08
REVIEWS FROM 12/16/2008
"...the concept is excellent and the music is lovely. A Piano Christmas in the 1920s salvages a batch of Christmas themed player-piano rolls from oblivion, whose each note was once played by some long forgotten artist from early last century, allowing the modern listener to hear ghost's of Christmas' past, if you will. I was actually rather surprised at how schmaltz-less this collection is, most of the performances are very restrained and deeply felt, even nearly meditative at times. Entirely non-distracting and pleasant, this one could possibly be the perfect early morning Christmas listen, and it's an album I'll be filing near my John Fahey's Christmas LPs."
-Michael Klausman From Other Music.com
"Much of our Christmas celebration today recalls earlier times. Of the CDs in this section, nothing does that as effectively as "A Piano Christmas in the 1920s", featuring digital recordings of piano rolls playing on a 1929 Haines Bros. Ampico reproducing piano. This isn't "like" the sound of a Christmas 80 years ago, it IS the sound of Christmas in a middle class parlor from that long ago. Famed Ampico artists captured on the rolls include Fritz Kreisler playing his "Toy Soldier's March" and Pietro Yon playing his now-famous "Gesu Bambino." There's non-seasonal music included as well, as there would have been whenever families gathered 'round pianos. The radio ended this—will Guitar Hero restore it, or just reinforce going our separate ways?"
Gerry Grzyb, "Dr.Christmas" annual column
The Post Crescent, Wisconsin A Piano Christmas in the 1920s
Lyrichord takes you back in time to a holiday spent around the piano, when the most popular Christmas music of the 1920s came on paper rolls played on the family AMPICO. The AMPICO's rolls reproduced exact performances of the era's most popular pianists. Stylish medleys of Christmas carols and nostalgic holiday tunes were performed by the likes of Adam Carroll, Fritz Kreisler, John T. Howard and other celebrated pianists of the time. These are now released in brand new digital recordings of a classic 1929 Haines Bros. Ampico reproducing piano owned by collector Thomas Venturella. This recording features many familiar tunes such as "Good King Wenceslas," "The First Noel," "Oh Come All ye Faithful," as well as all but forgotten musical gems, popular in the exciting and transitional decade of the 1920s. Through the magic of Mr. Venturalla's reproducing piano, and dazzling performances by AMPICO's star pianists, we can now share in a holiday celebration exactly as it might have been heard some eighty years ago. AMPICO Piano Stars on this release include Andrei Kmita, Adam Carroll, Clair & Fairchild, John T. Howard, Fritz Kreisler, Pietro Yon, and L. Leslie Loth.
1. Holiday by the Fireside 1928 - Unknown pianist - 3:30
2. Christmas Carols No. 1 - Andrei Kmita - 4:25
3. Christmas Carols No. 2 1928 - Elsie Holt - 6:37
4. Christmas Greeting 1925 - Adam Carroll - 5:30
5. Christmas Greetings 1929 - Adam Carroll - 9:51
6. Parade of the Wooden Soldiers - Herbert Clair, Edgar Fairchild - 2:58
7. Grandmother's Christmas 1927 - Adam Carroll - 9:16
8. Toy Soldier's March - Fritz Kreisler - 2:09
9. The First Noel - John Tasker Howard - 3:21
10. Gesu Bambino - Pietro Yon - 4:55
11. A Christmas Eve Fantasy 1928 - L. Leslie Loth - 9:22
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