The violinist’s new album was recorded live December last year at a concert in his hometown Maastricht.
Filled with a surprising range of different styles of music, this is certainly not a traditional Christmas album – but it still feels festive enough to make you feel cosy and warm.
Ranging from Émile Waldteufel‘s ‘Skater’s Waltz’ to a lively and over the top rendition of ‘Oh Happy Day’, Jolly holiday is an album that manages to capture the spirit of Christmas across a wide variety of genres of music – even if some work better than others.
The overall feeling from listening to this album is uplifting, with songs such as a gorgeously soaring rendition of ‘What a Wonderful World’ that is truly heartfelt. It is a sentimental album that is filled with heart as other pieces including ‘Silent Night’ and a surprisingly romantic sounding ‘Walking in the Air’ highlight.
Some might find it over the top in places in its attempt to try and emotionally connect with the listener and the audience when in reality the skills of of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, Rieu and the choir don’t need to be forced to capture the attention of the listener. It is an album that is at its best when it is gentle and understated, with renditions of ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Panis Angelicus’ proving to be particular standout tracks in this regard.
Throughout it all, Andre Rieu, the Johann Strauss Orchestra and Golden Voices of Gospel offer rich and pitch perfect performances. Their performances of ‘Amen’, ‘I Will Follow Him’ and a lively rendition of ‘Oh When the Saints’ are fantastic to listen to.
This being said, ‘The Holy City’ and ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ for me didn’t quite work and felt awkward in contrast to the smoothness and high quality of ‘Snow Waltz’ and ‘Sleighride’. But these are only minor flaws in what is a sleek and well put together album.
Overall, those looking for a distinctive an unique Christmas album, this is certainly that. It is a joyful collection of performances that reminds us all of the meaning of Christmas.
By Emma Clarendon
Jolly Holiday is available to buy and download now.