Episode 4: 'Sleigh Ride', Performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra

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Sleigh Ride by Leonard Slatkin
BBC Concert Orchestra 
Conducted by Leroy Anderson
Available at Arkivmusic.com

Composer Leroy Anderson is best-known for the light orchestral pieces he wrote for Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. The most famous of those works is Sleigh Ride. Anderson started writing it in 1946, not in the winter, but during a summer heat wave. Maybe thinking about winter weather helped him cool off. He finished it when he and his wife were living in the deep New England woods of Brooklyn – in an apartment on the south side of Prospect Park.

We hear Sleigh Ride mostly at Christmas time, but it’s not about Christmas. It’s about…just…winter. There’s no mention of Christmas in the lyrics that Mitchell Parish added later, either. In 2008, to mark Leroy Anderson’s centenary, Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Concert Orchestra recorded all of Anderson’s music. From that set, here is Sleigh Ride.

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  • This recording is courtesy of Naxos of America