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Winter Symphony
By Jennifer Thomas
Label: Tickled Ivory Music
Released 11/20/2015
Winter Symphony tracks
1. Angels We Heard On High  
2. Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy
3. Carol Of The Bells
4. Alleluia
5. Ice Dance
6. I Saw Three Ships
7. Breath Of Heaven
8. Theme From Home Alone (Somehere In My Memory)  
9. What Child Is This  
10. Silent Night
11. Winter Symphony
12. O Holy Night
Jennifer Thomas - Winter Symphony
If you have large family gatherings at Christmas time, and need music to fit the lively, boisterous occasion, something dramatic yet still familiar, featuring carols that will enthrall your guests and color the room with the special sense of wonder and joy which this time of year should evoke, reach for Jennifer Thomas' terrific Winter Symphony, surely one of the most ambitious Christmas albums I have ever heard. Playing piano and violin, and featuring three different orchestras and The Ensign Chorus, Thomas pours her heart out on these twelve selections, which include everything from traditional carols to originals to seasonal music ("Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy") and even the John Williams' penned "Somewhere In My Memory" from Home Alone. Passion and power abounds throughout the album, propelled by Thomas inspired arrangements (you simply must hear "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" - wow!) as well as the superb orchestrations by Glen Gabriel, not to mention Jennifer Thomas' playing—her artistry reaches breathtaking highs on the album. Seeing her play this live would take one's breath away, I imagine. "Carol of the Bells," features an explosive orchestral and drum interpolation of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" in the bridge that reaches out and grabs you! The opening "Angels We Have Heard On High" takes that carol to new heights of majesty, thanks to The Ensign Chorus as well as Thomas superb piano playing. Those crescendos held me spellbound.

I could go on and on, extolling every single track, praising Thomas' playing and arranging, the gorgeous orchestrations, the insane attention to detail in the mix (props to mixer Brian Vibberts and mastering engineer Christofer Stannow), but time is limited, sadly. Thomas wrote in the liner notes "I wanted to create something special and beautiful with this album…" She has done more than that. Winter Symphony is a Christmas music recording for the ages, bursting with so much beauty, emotion, and power that it could fill an auditorium with the wonder of the season. It flat out blew me away.
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 12/21/2015
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