Thursday, December 20, 2007
#1 Favorite Christmas CD: Sleigh Ride by Emile Pandolfi
This is it! THE best Christmas CD in the entire universe and, unfortunately it seems, also the best kept secret. Not just the CD, but Pandolfi himself. He is by far my favorite pianist in the world—yes, I say that based on this one CD. But if you listen to it, you'll understand. He is so much more lively and vibrant than other soloists whose CDs fly off the shelves. I just don't get it.
Well, maybe I do. See, the CD itself is not much to look at and doesn't give the other Christmas CDs vying for your dollar much "visual" competition. If I hadn't heard it before I saw it, I probably wouldn't have given it a second's thought. And that would be really sad because the music is divine! I cannot say enough how much I love this entire CD!
Sleigh Ride is another rare gem that I discovered while Christmas shopping in a boutique with my sister. I think we'd been in the store all of 2 minutes when I rushed over to the checkout to ask what they were playing as their background music. Thank goodness it was a tiny store that didn't pipe their music in, or I would have been doomed forever to dark and dreary Christmases. More than any other CD I've ever heard, this one immediately puts me in the Christmas spirit.
The first Christmas that I had this CD, I used it to wake my children up on Christmas morning. It has been a tradition ever since. The kids weren't allowed to get out of bed until they heard the first notes of Sleigh Ride blasting through the house. Then they knew it was time to come running as fast as they could! Even now that I only have one child left at home, when the grown-up kids get here for Christmas morning, I put the CD on. Full blast to get the mood started, then at a more moderate volume while we're opening our presents.
We were talking about this the other day, and my daughter said, "Mom, do you realize how much you conditioned us to love this CD as much as you do? You played it during the best moments of the year—opening Christmas presents! Of course we love it, and all piano music as well." My youngest daughter quickly concurred. I'd never thought about it before, but that's a pretty good trick.
Now for a confession. This one post has taken me the better part of several days to get it right. First off, I spent hours and hours searching the internet for a clip of my two favorite songs from the CD. No luck. Either the clips were too short or the quality was bad. Then I decided I'd just have to make my own. I spent hours and hours yesterday signing up for YouTube, finding images to go with the music, and figuring out how to work my iMovie software (which I'm still not that good at; can't get the images to zoom and pan). It took me 8+ hours to create the Sleigh Ride video. This morning it only took 1 1/2 to create Baby It's Cold Outside, and that included surfing for images, so I'm making progress—but still.
Anyway, I guess that's a sign of how much I like you. Or how much I love this CD and want to share it with the world. (Or how out of control my OCD is, but I'm pretending I don't notice.)
So, please, since I worked sooooo hard, listen to both the pieces below. I think you'll be glad you did.
Back to Pandolfi, he has several other Christmas CDs which I have not heard because they're not easy to find in the store, and I always forget to order them online. But I can't imagine I wouldn't absolutely love them too.
Now playing on my iPod: Sleigh Ride performed by Emile Pandolfi (the Christmas morning song) and Baby It's Cold Outside performed by Emile Pandolfi (my favorite on the CD. Note: this one is almost like two songs in one. The first half is slower with a lot of trills in the higher octaves; the second half is jazzier and always makes me dance.)