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The Hymns & Carols Of Christmas

Although it has now been around for nearly 40 years, we Pinoys still believe nothing beats the Ray Conniff Christmas Album for setting the holiday atmosphere in its merrymaking place. Although it has been playing each Christmas season for over 30 years, Pinoys still think Christmas Disco is the best way to get into the Christmas party mood.

Because we are practically on the homestretch towards the big day, these albums are once more the music of choice in malls, stores, bazaars and all those places with merchandise to push and eager to make a big profit before the year ends. Along with these you must have also noticed vehicle traffic on the street has gotten heavier, there are more people going around and they are moving faster. Worse of all, there is suddenly a long, somewhat difficult to-do list awaiting your attention.

Celebrating is nice but we will enjoy it more without the stress we have come to associate with Christmas. Now is the right time for the music of Jim Brickman. Put The Hymns and Carols of Christmas on the machine and almost instantly, time slows down, you find more smiles than harried looks and your heartbeat resumes its regular beat. You can now return to the message of peace and goodwill Christmas is always meant to be.

This is the effect Brickman’s music has on the listener, Christmastime or not. There is no mistaking the strength of his fingers on the keyboard. Take note — most of his recordings are on solo piano, but the tunes he creates are so easy on the ears and so comforting. That must be why his albums are consistent sellers. He now has six Gold and Platinum CDs and these include hits like Valentine, Destiny, Love of My Life, By Heart, The Love I Found in You, Peace and the perennial favorite among Pinoys, Christmastime or not The Gift.

The Hymns and Carols of Christmas is Brickman’s latest and it’s nice to know the producer is a Filipino. Ito Rapadas, former member of the boy group Neocolors put the package together. He was also responsible for the well-done In Love with Bacharach. So although the CD is by a foreign artist, Rapadas was able to put a Pinoy spin on everything.

The Gift performed by John Trones is one of the cuts. The rest are mostly traditional stuff like Carol of the Bells, Gloria, O Come All Ye Faithful, All Through the Night, Noel, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Holy Holy Holy with David Klinkenberg, We Three Kings of Orient Are, Joy to The World, Upon a Midnight Clear, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Angels Blessing, The Holy and the Ivy and Away in a Manger. Christmas Is, a Brickman composition is featured in two versions, one by Canadian singing idol Mark Masri and the other by Regine Velasquez.

The Hymns and Carols of Christmas comes highly recommended if you want a stress free holiday season. It is best taken in the mornings to get rid of that harassed feeling. It puts you in a holiday mood but also keeps one from hurrying through the day. Play it again at the end of your day to wind down and quiet those nerves before you go to bed at night.

19 November 2008, Philippine Star

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