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Suite of Carols for String Orchestra

The Suite of Carols for String Orchestra was completed for recording by the composer on September 21, 1955, in analog mono sound, which is when it was first performed. It is 13 minutes and 30 seconds long. It was re-recorded in analog stereo sound by the composer on May 28, 1959. The Suite of Carols for String Orchestra has 6 movements:

1. Pastores a Belen
2. It came upon the midnight clear
3. O, little town of Bethlehem
4. Bring torch, Jeanette, Isabella
5. Away in a manager
6. Wassail Song


Composer quotes:
(From a 1960's interview with Dick Bertel of WTIC Radio, Hartford, Connecticut)

Question: Let's discuss some of these other suites.

Anderson: Well, in addition to the Christmas Festival which is a big concert overture, I had the idea of making more intimate treatment of other Christmas carols; at the same time, however, I didn't just want to make medleys of them, that's the usual thing. In treating them instrumentally, I
thought I'd try to get something that would give a little more scope and be a little different. So, after thinking it over, I decided that I would make a suite of carols. Except that the one suite turned out to be three suites because of the fact that carols have a great deal of variety and it seemed that one particular carol would sound best with string orchestra, and another one would sound much better with a brass choir, and another would call for the color that you get from woodwinds; so I finally finished by writing three suites of carols, three different ones -- one is a strong orchestra, one for brass choir, and one for woodwind ensemble, and I took about 18 or 19 of these carols and divided them up and made them into the three suites and recorded.

Question: It's refreshing to hear some of this Christmas music that we don't hear.

Anderson: Well, in addition, I -have also not only taken the best known, I have also taken some of the lesser known ones; although I find year after year that many of the carols that are not, or were not, so well known, are now being played because, particularly with records -- all the recordings that are made and all the music that's played on radio --there is a great demand for greater variety of music, and so as a result we are hearing a lot of music that is not just the most popular or the best known.