That paradisaical pair of piano plinkers, Ferrante & Teicher, recorded a number of thematic albums through the years, two of which see reissue on this 1992 CD. Snowbound, from 1962, isn't a Christmas album so much as a winter album, with a selection of melodies that evoke snowfall and the winter season. The title track is a vocal number on which a mixed chorus sings the lyrics while Ferrante & Teicher's cascading piano notes suggest falling snowflakes. That effect is heard throughout the album, along with other time-honored (one might say clichéd) elements of holiday music: sleigh bells, the delicate tones of a music box and a xylophone, chime trees, and the like. The vocal chorus appears occasionally to intone a line from a song, and a string section offers a counterpoint to the dueling pianos. Some uncommon selections, such as Victor Young's "Moonlight Serenade" and Percy Faith's "Brazilian Sleigh Bells," make the album more unpredictable than typical holiday fare. The lone Ferrante & Teicher original, "Happy Sleigh Ride," is actually based on a Prokofiev melody, one that later formed the basis of the The Free Design song "Kije's Ouiji." We Wish You a Merry Christmas, from 1966, is a traditional Christmas album with several of its tracks presented as medleys encompassing two to four well-known seasonal tunes. The duo manage to pack in most of the popular Christmas melodies with fully instrumental orchestrations featuring strings, flutes, bells, and horns in addition to Ferrante & Teicher's mellifluous pianos. Snowbound was a charting album and is perfectly matched with We Wish You a Merry Christmas on this festive holiday two-fer.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams