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Twenty-Five Days of December -- Day Twenty-Four


AC Benus

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Tony Rowe and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra preform William Henry Fry’s Santa Claus Symphony from 1853. From its premiere to the 1930s, Fry’s symphony was concertized all across America and was as integral a part of the holiday season as the Nutcracker is to us now. Ironically, it was the music of Tchaikovsky‘s ballet which replaced Fry’s incredibly charming tone poem. 

The scenes are: Introduction and Christmas merrymaking; Juvenile song and dance (sounding straight out of Aaron Copland’s work – truly American music); Parting and farewell of party guests; Midnight approaches and the saying of “Our Father” by the children going to bed; Stillness “all being hushed in slumber”; The Snow Storm and death of the weary traveler (bassoon solo); Church bell tolls midnight; Santa’s sleigh appears; He distributes gifts in the sleeping children’s room; Angels welcome the dead traveler’s soul into heaven and show him the Christ Child; the children awake in joy; Chorus of Adeste fidelis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJBElEJ4Jr4

 

See this dissertation on the first staging and long-term impact of Fry’s tone poem:

https://scholarworks.merrimack.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=vpa_facpub

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I thought I was fairly familiar with classical music, but I had never heard the Santa Clause Symphony before.  I'm sure I would have remembered it if I had, since it ends with Adeste Fideles , or O Come All Ye Faithful.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  

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