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The Little Drummer Boy

Harry Simeone Chorale

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Album Review

At first glance, Little Drummer Boy seems like it would be incredibly dated. But surprisingly enough, the Harry Simeone Chorale is a great group of vocalists that performs a wonderful set of Christmas carols. The music is kept in a traditional choral style, but the performances are quite spirited and lively. Album highlights include "Little Drummer Boy," which benefits from the gentle orchestration placed gingerly underneath the singing, and "Carol of the Bells," which twists and sways perfectly as it is sung in a round. Overall, this is a great holiday album with solid traditional arrangements and fantastic singing that fans of choral music (or Christmas music in general) will probably enjoy.

Customer Reviews

Remembering Mama

My mother passed this past February. She had Hunington's disease, and while she was remarkably coherent, all things considered, she wasn't the woman I knew growing up. Mama loved Christmas, and would pull out all her Christmas music on Thanksgiving. This album was both of our favorites, and it's a piece of my childhood that is woven tightly into the quilt of my life. I was so glad to find this album on ITunes, as I have misplaced my tape, and thought I would have to go scouring all the music stores for it yet again (I probably have a dozen copies of the album because I can't seem to lay my hands on it at Christmas-so I buy a new copy...then find the missing copy). This music reminds me of my mother, and the good times we shared. As with any long term illness, those times are sometimes hard to remember.

A Christmas Classic with Masterful Orchestration

Having grown up with this recording I could be accused of bias. Decades later as a musician I can apply a more critical ear to this favorite. Each song posses a style, from the Broadway-like "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the Calypso "Mary's Little Boy", that stands out yet the pieces flow beautifully together with strong, spirited performances and arrangments that use every corner of the orchestra creatively and masterfully. The high energy "Hallelujah" makes use of orchestral testosterone with an all male choir, brass and percussion. "Carol of the Bells" uses a full range of dynamics and a brillant weave of choral arranging to stir a very different but moving energy. This timeless recording passes my every test. Looking back (I used to stand and a chair and conduct the entire record) it may well have been a big reason why I became a musician.

The BEST Christmas Memories are here.

Wow! I can't even find this album on CD, and iTunes has it here. What a thrill!!! This album defines Christmas to me. Each song is expertly sung, and strikes a chord of melancholy with me every time I hear it. There are some truly definitive versions here, in my opinion: Of course, "The Little Drummer Boy"- there is no better version available. "What Child Is This?" - Stunning, beautiful, and moving. "Carol of the Bells" - Classic and beautiful. Probably my favorite track of all, however, is the sweeping and lovely "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." This is probably the ONLY place you'll find this version. Download this and relive memories you may have, and share them with young ones in your life. You'll be glad you did.


Born: May 10, 1911 in Newark, NJ

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Holiday chorale conductor and arranger Harry Simeone was responsible for popularizing the yuletide perennial "The Little Drummer Boy." Born in Newark, NJ, on May 9, 1911, Simeone had a childhood affection for the Metropolitan Opera, which inspired him to pursue a career as a concert pianist. After graduating from the Juilliard School of Music, he went to work at CBS Radio as an arranger for popular bandleader Fred Waring, even marrying one of Waring's vocalists, Margaret McCravy. In 1939 Simeone...
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