Home for the Holidays

All posts tagged Home for the Holidays

…a Christmas medley with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

This is the second of our Twelve Days of Christmas posts to feature this series of Christmas concerts from 2012 and this newly released video from MoTab themselves has been edited from the longer Home for the Holidays video that shows the whole medley, not just Alfie’s songs.

Home for the Holidays was written in 1954 and initially released by Perry Como, who again recorded the song for release in 1959.  Since then, it has been recorded by amongst other, Cyndi Lauper and Norah Jones but the version here shows off the evergreen voice of Karen Carpenter:

The Carpenters also recorded I’ll Be Home for Christmas, along with practically everyone else who’s done a Christmas album but the video below features an Alfie favourite, Elvis, who recorded it in 1957:

Bing Crosby recorded the original in 1943 and it has of course been a standard Christmas song ever since.

The MoTab album, Home for the Holidays is available here (click here for the DVD):

home for the holidays

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...Hark the Herald Angels Sing at the Mo Tab Choir Christmas Concerts in Salt Lake City:

This was back in 2012 and was part of that year’s Christmas series of concerts featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Just glorious!

Hark the Herald Angels Sing as we know it today is quite different to how it was originally written.  Charles Wesley wrote the words in 1739 but the tune as know it today was written a hundred years later by Felix Mendelssohn.  However, it was not specifically written as an accompaniment to Wesley’s words – an adaptation by William H Cummings made it into one of the most well known carols we have today.

Here is a pared down snippet from Alfie at Abbey Road’s Carols by Kindlelight in 2014:

Those sexy specs are starting to make me feel like the buttons on my blouse!

The Home for the Holidays album is available here:

home for the holidays

Click here for the DVD.

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Advent is upon us and we are fast counting down to Christmas!  It’s the time of year when we can listen to our favourite Christmas music without feeling guilty that it’s the wrong time of year so I thought that it was high time we revived thoughtsofjustafan’s Alfie Boe album of the month with Home for the Holidays.  In the absence of an Alfie Christmas album, I’ve been listening to the CD and watching the DVD for a good few weeks now – you’re not going to tell me I’m the only one surely?

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s (MoTab) annual Christmas concerts invite world renowned classical singers as their special guests (Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins have appeared in recent years).  The concerts are filmed and shown on TV before being released on CD and DVD the following year – it takes a while to edit and it then makes sense to wait until nearer Christmas to release the finished product.  Alfie appeared at these concerts in 2012 which was made all the more special as he and Sarah have a home in Salt Lake City; one of the most moving parts of the concert was Alfie thanking the audience for “bringing me home”, a neat link in to his most famous song.

A few views for this video…a cool 1.6 million!

As much as I love Bring Him Home, my favourite songs from Home for the Holidays are I Wonder as I Wander and Angels, From the Realms of Glory.  The former features John Rutter’s arrangement (also seen on Alfie’s 2007 Onward album).  A behind the scenes interview with the musical directors of the concert shows that Alfie was initially reluctant to perform this song, but I’m so glad he did.

If you don’t yet own this on CD (and only 37% of fans did in our 2014 poll) then you are missing out.  It’s available here:

home for the holidays

Only 43% of fans owned the DVD which may have something to do with the fact that it’s not readily available in the UK.  Click below to buy from Deseret Books (where Alfie did a signing session the following year).  As far as I am aware, it’s playable in the UK – I bought it from Deseret and it works just fine.

home for the holidays

I have a copy of this album to give away to one lucky reader who can answer this question:

Who wrote I Wonder as I Wander?

The competition is now closed!  The lucky winner (picked at random) is Ann Warren!  Please click here to send me your details.

This competition is open to everyone, not just UK residents (although I can’t say whether you will receive it for Christmas, due to the vagaries of the postal system)!  I’ll even throw in a copy of Sleigh Ride, the Boston Pop album that features Alfie on O Holy Night!

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Back in November 2014 I asked “How Did You Find Alfie Boe” and I’m pleased to say that lots of you responded, being only too pleased to tell me how and when you first heard that beautiful voice.  A few of you have been on board Alfie’s musical train right since the very beginning – and by that I mean since he was singing locally in Lancashire!  One of his many nephews and nieces even filled in the survey although I don’t know which one! One respondent had followed him since he was appearing regularly in opera and another couple since his first album, Classic FM Presents.  Other reasons given were his 2007 appearance on Parkinson, other TV appearances, Desert Island Discs, through friends, surfing youtube, through hearing David Miller of Il Divo talk about Alfie and his performance at the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012.

However, like most of us Alfie fans these days, the vast majority (82%) of the respondents found Alfie through Les Miserables.  Of those 82%, just over half first saw and heard Alfie on a PBS 25th anniversary promotion and the others saw him either live or on the DVD of that concert.  This is what one smitten fan said

Saw him on PBS in Florida, USA in March 2011 singing Jean Valjean role and stopped in my tracks when hearing that voice. Watched the whole O2 Les Misarables concert and then had to find out who this wonderful tenor is. YouTubed him and listened and read everything I could find on him. The Alfie and Matt Lucas video Nessun Dorma with his hands in his pockets was what clinched him for me. Joined his Facebook page and his own web page and since have met many wonderful fans of his who over the last 3 years have become good friends. All this from that one O2 performance.

After finding out how and when fans found Alfie, I then wanted to find out when they made their first Alfie related purchase, be it  CD, DVD etc.  I admit that I was expecting most responses to be “immediately” or very quickly, given the devotion shown to Alfie by fans.  However, I was slightly surprised to find that although two thirds of responses indicated that a purchase was made either the same day or next day, the next highest response was months, at least 6-12.  In three cases there was a wait of at least a year and one waited for 3.5 years before making up (her?) mind to buy a CD.  Incidentally, the length of time before making a purchase and considering yourself to be “Boed” does not match up; with the exception of the Lancashire locals and the fan waiting 3.5 years, every single respondent considered themselves “Boed” immediately.

The survey then went on to ask which albums fans had in their collection.  For this survey, I only considered Alfie’s albums released under his own name (not including Serenata which was released after the survey) and the collaboration with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Home for the Holidays.  The rest of his recording career can be found on the Alfie Boe Discography.  The results are:

Classic FM Presents – 61% of respondents own this

La Passione – 82%

Onward – 72%

Love Was A Dream – 69%

Bring Him Home – 98%

Alfie – 95%

Storyteller – 95%

Trust – 90%

Home for the Holidays – 37%

As you can see, the most owned albums are the Decca ones released since the Les Mis connection although La Passione is the most popular album of Alfie’s back catalogue.  It occurs to me as I sit writing these results up, that I should have asked in which order these albums were purchased; it would have been interesting to see how many people had La Passione before Les Mis.  I suspect that like me, the answer would be not many,  otherwise Alfie would surely not have contemplated becoming a personal trainer for the SLC police.

DVD ownership is something else again – this time, there were only four choices as only two tours have been filmed:

Les Mis 25th concert – 96% own this

Bring Him Home tour – 83%

Storyteller tour – 75%

Home for the Holidays – 43%

Perhaps the relatively high amount of people owning the DVD of Home for the Holidays reflects the low amount owning it on CD (they don’t see the need to have it twice), otherwise the completely predictable result is that Les Mis is the most owned DVD.  Of course this was expected, given that 82% of us found Alfie that way to start with.  This is also borne out by 66% of those owning it citing it as their favourite of the DVD’s.  Storyteller comes next, followed by Bring Him Home and Home for the Holidays again bringing up the rear.

Those of you who completed the survey will remember I also asked you which album you preferred – to find out the answer, you’ll have to be a subscriber!

 Just add your email details to the box on the right of the page and you’ll receive the password to the relevant blog post – plus an email containing links to 4 Alfie photos not available in the gallery.

 

 

 

 

I Wonder As I Wander on Songs of Praise:

Love this song and the intensity Alfie brings to it.  He later returned to this song for the MoTab Christmas Concert in 2012.  This arrangement, featured on Alfie’s Onward album, is by John Rutter, from a hymn collected and put together by John Jacob Niles in 1933.

If you haven’t yet seen it, Alfie Boe on Carols by Kindlelight is now available on Amazon Prime in the UK and is also available for Amazon US and Germany customers.  I highly recommend taking out membership (you can get one month’s free membership on trial from Amazon UK) to see this – Alfie is superb on his two songs, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Elton John’s Step Into Christmas and you also get to see Sol3 Mio and Laura Wright sing two songs each as well.  In case you can’t see it, here is a clip of Hark the Herald Angels Sing:

Onward and the MoTab Christmas Concert are both available here:

Alfie onward

home for the holidays

 

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Merry Christmas!

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