IMAGINE CHRISTMAS is an aptly-titled new release by the Sono Luminus label guaranteed to stir anyone up and away from the numbing sameness that too much canned Christmas can cause.
I highly recommend that you settle into your favorite easy chair, preferably in your house robe, and sip a mug of hot cider or eggnog or mulled wine as you listen to this superb collection of musical chestnuts.
Listen to the lively foot-stomping Celtic sound that Ensemble Galilei gives Frosty the Snowman in the album’s opening track and you just might imagine yourself river dancing all the way down to the frozen pond where you used to ice skate as a kid. I dare you then not to waltz around the room in time to Bruce Levinston’s whirling rendition of December, a wintery Tchaikovsky waltz. After that, rest for a spell and reminisce about Christmases past thanks to Irina Muresanu and Matei Vargas heartfelt instrumental White Christmas.
Again rise up and dance to the Jasper String Quartet’s joyous Holly, Jolly Christmas, and next imagine yourself Walking in the Air with the help of Bruce McFarlane’s rippling piano version. Next chuckle as you listen to Cory Hills’ all-American ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and then let Kathryn Bates remind you with her hauntingly beautiful cello playing of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town that you’re still a kid at heart.
Caleb Nei will gently remind you that Christmas Time is Here, and Lydia and the Cuarteto Latino Americano will rhythmically bring joy to your world from their Latin one with Joy to the World. Next rest your feet but sharpen your ears as you listen to Stewart Goodyear’s humorously post-modern Good King Wenceslas. Then be moved by the flawlessly elegant singing of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by the Skylark Vocal Ensemble.
At the end of your musical journey you will be mesmerized by the eerie stillness that the American Contemporary Music Ensemble brings to Silent Night. After that, drink the good health of the folks at Sono Luminus (www.sonoluminus.com) and buy yourself this one-of-a-kind musical treasure, or even better, make it the nicest ever Christmas gift to someone you love.
Rafael de Acha