This is a charming and beautiful collection of some of the best classical music has to offer, perfectly suited to the holiday and Christmas season. Distributed by Sony as part of their special music products through mail service and retail stores in 1997, listeners had a comfortable way of feasting their souls and hearts into this marketable package, less pricey than many other classical collections of the same manner and appearance. Opening with seven movements found in "The Nutcracker Suite" by Peter Tchaikovsky, the CD is just a plain welcome to the warmth and love of the holiday season and memories past. "March of the Toys" continues the festive and reflective mood of this collection, soon jumping into the prancing, dashing spirits of the romantic and legendary "Skaters' Waltz," a delight for the senses and holiday lovers of all ages. J.S. Bach's "Little Suite," taken directly from the pages of "The Anna Magdelena Notebook," provides a much needed look into the innovation and ingenious of one of the world's most remarkable classical composers. "Jingle Bells" is expressed within the power a charismatic and jolly march, as the orchestra vibrantly captures the moment in all its cheer and grace. An engaging and enthralling look into the works of G.F. Handel is captured in haunting fashion, with the Philadelphia Orchestra's rendition of the "Messiah Overture," conducted by Eugene Ormandy. Two other Handel pieces are given for further appreciation and a short traditional is performed in respective fashion in closing.
AllMusic Review by Shawn M. Haney