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November 26, 2010, D-D-Praz released their debut album: “D-D-Praz Christmas.” This Christmas collaboration was the product of nearly three years research of historical Christmas music. WHY? Moriah asked: “Can we do Christmas music, too?” Peers have described this compilation of innovative arrangements for the Holidays as “epic and innovative mergers of the old with the new.” As diverse as the various melodies are, so is their rich use of instruments and styles – ranging from acoustical tenderness, to powerfully driven ethnic percussion; blending traditional choirs with techno synthesizers; and fusing jazz with modern classical interpretation.
01 – Medieval Carol in Baraque
An original transcription for synth orchestra based on 3 “ancient” Christmas melodies. The introduction is the Medieval melody “Ihr lieben Hirten” (their dear shepherd), discovered in a choral arrangement by Andreas Hammerschmidt (Bohemia, early 1600’s). Then follows Bach’s organ prelude “in dulci jublio” (1600’s), a piece traditionally played at Christmas Mass. From this Bach tune we get the contemporary hymn “Good Christian Men Rejoice.” The final movement is a variation on the French carol, “Josep est bein marie” (late 1600’s) – our transcription from M.R. de Lalande.
02 – Morning Star in David’s City
This medley is another merger of different centuries, Christmas’ past. “Once in David’s Royal City,” by HJ Gauntlett, is one of few Christmas carols totally British in origin. It seemed fitting to arrange this with “Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern,” JS Bach, Cantata (BWV 1) – a popular Classical Christmas music work to present.
03 – Nouveau Livre de Nöels
This piece was originally composed solely for Organ. We transcribed and adapted excerpts of the original score for a Chamber Orchestra. Excerpts are from Suite 4, of an 18th Century method book titled “New Book of Noels for Organ and Harpsichord” (from French) by Michel Corrette (1701-1795). The text notes from Corrette’s book chronicle the angelic visit to rural shepherds near Bethlehem, and their trek to see this “New born king.” Our production is an adaptation utilizing chamber instruments to “mimic” various stops and timbres of an 18th century cathedral organ – its diversity of sounds.
04 – Away in a Manger Song
This carol exists in most modern church hymnals as “Away in a Manger,” but with two different tune settings. Occasionally both tunes are included in one hymnal as: “Mueller” (or Murray’s tune) and “Cradle Song” (or Kirkpatrick tune). In our arrangement we combine both tune settings as chord progressions, and add an original solo melody and counter-melody to merge the two.
05 – El Nino Del Tambor
Once of Michael’s favorite Christmas tunes, an original arrangement merging more of the “new and old,” completed in 2008. The melody originates from a Czech carol, “Carol of the Drum,” but today is known as “Little Drummer Boy;” made popular by a 1958 arrangement by Jack Halloran. Today, in Mexico, this tune is commonly played for a Catholic Christmas procession.
06 – Awake Calls the Voice of Angels
We transcribed this classical-styled Christmas medley for solo piano, from what were originally orchestral scores. 3 Christmas classics are interwoven: “Choral Prelude No. 2,” from JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 645); “Wachet auft, ruft uns die Stimme, ” the Gavotte Movement from JS Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 (BWV 1068); and the traditional hymn “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” adapted from the “Festgesang Cantada” by F. Mendelssohn. Both piano score and recording copyright 2009, Daddy Daughter Praise.
07 – Bambino Gesù on a Holy Night
We realize that not the entire world has snowscapes and sleigh rides at Christmas; so put on your shades and suntan lotion, and ENJOY. This track was co-arranged by Guy Bergeron, Leo O’Neil, and Michael McMahon; and produced by D-D-Praz with permissions. Thanks guys. Yes . . . another medley of familiar carols: “O Holy Night” (Adolphe Adam) and “Gesù bambino” (Pietro Yon). From Yon’s 1917 composition are the familiar lyrics and hymn tune “Adeste Fideles” (O Come All Ye Faithful), thus a medley of all three carols.
08 – Raskabino Divine
Variations on “Il est n le divin enfant,” a traditional French Christmas carol. This is one of Moriah’s favorite carols, thus the Euro-techno segments near the end. This is perhaps the best known traditional French carol, and is believed to have medieval origins from the region of Provence. The melody was first printed in 1554, in a collection of French carols, “La Grande Bible des Noels.”
09 – Kyrie de Nöel
An adaptation for synth orchestra from the organ/choir score by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) – “Messe De Minuit Pour Noël.” While D-D-Praz focuses on Christian music, this was our first attempt at music composed specifically for Catholic mass. This track is only the “Kyrie” movement. Charpentier’s composition is actually a parody on eleven – then popular – French carols. The choice to parody folk dance and drinking music for a church service created some controversy. Time has proven that Charpentier was brilliant, and his contemporaries later acknowledged that “the pews were full.” The same debate continues today, 300+ years later, about what music and/or instruments are appropriate for church services. We are advocates for Charpentier’s cause (Christmas or not) – let your hair down and “praise with intensity.”
10 – Deck the Halls
Another Daddy Daughter Praise production from 2009 — techno and festive. The tune is Welsh and dates back to the 16th century. In the 18th century, Mozart used the same tune for a playful, violin and piano duet. The repeated “fa la la” originates from Medieval ballads; however, the familiar lyrics we know today are American, dating from the 19th century.
11 – Exsultate Jubilee!!
More of the old and new . . . a synth orchestration of the Mozart choral composition by same name. In this track, a solo soprano aria is played by “vibrabells;” and from the original score, vocal parts are adapted for our synth orchestra. We chose to include this track as it’s all about “celebration.”
12 – Club House Carol
A non-traditional mix for the medley of two traditional carols: “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and “Carol of the Bells.” This track has been described as the “Christmas carol of the future,” and “sure to be a favorite for years to come.” Moriah said, “Do it techno” – and we got carried away. Despite our thrill with arranging this piece as a dance track; it is tradition that has assured us these melodies are favored for years to come !!!
13 – Gabrieli’s Horns Got Handel’s Bach
Traditional Christmas music always contains some epic, grandiose, choir and fanfare for exclaiming the Glory of God coming to man, as a man. We made this medley of Christmas past a merger of all that fanfare. Blended are excerpts from: G. Gabrieli, “Canzon II” (a4), GG.187; Handel’s infamous Oratorio, “Messiah;” parts of “Angels We Have Heard on High” (lyrics by Barnes) and “Joy to the World” (lyrics by Watts); with excerpts from J.S. Bach’s BWV 232, “Cum Sancto Spiritu” as the finale. TGBTG.