The Miracle of St. Nicholas

The New York Virtuoso Singers conducted by Harold Rosenbaum

Some years ago there was a joke going around the Internet about twelve-tone Christmas carols which seemed the perfect antidote to the email list from ASCAP of the most widely performed Christmas songs, all almost invariably chock-full of nuthin’ but 1-4-5. So imagine my glee when I discovered George Perle’s 1958 arrangements of two French Christmas carols for unaccompanied chorus on Bridge Records’ new 2-CD retrospective of his oeuvre. Well, don’t expect any yuletide mirror-form hexachords here, but despite its undeniably tonal idiom—it’s unapologetically in G major throughout—Perle’s setting is still a refreshing alternative to the usual seasonal fare. Happy holidays!