Winter Tales

Various Artists
Winter Tales

This magical collection of Christmas music reimagined by Deutsche Grammophon’s incredible roster of composers is a festive treat, full of personal memories, tenderness, and winter warmth. Some of these arrangements, such as pianist Vikingur Ólafsson’s solo performance of the Icelandic lullaby “Sleep for Mama,” are beautifully simple. Others turn to sonic layers and rich textures: Consider composer duo Vanbur, who bring a melancholic nostalgia to “Carol of the Bells,” and Texan ensemble Balmorhea, who revel in the folk roots of the medieval “Coventry Carol.” Perhaps the most beautiful, however, is violinist Mari Samuelsen’s heart-rending arrangement for violin and orchestra of Norwegian folk song “Mitt hjerte alltid vanker” (“My heart always wanders”). Finally, pianist Joep Beving brings a childlike innocence to a movement from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, the music, full of gorgeous synth effects, softened as if seen through a frosted window.

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