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The Peanuts’ iconic drawings are a staple of American culture. Social media ensures the comics’ survival with attributing them to the relevance of modern day western hysteria and wholesomeness. Nothing else is more recognizable than seeing Snoopy or Charlie Brown displayed as holiday decorations and mesmerizing show play in middle-class American homes.
What also sets apart The Peanuts from other American homages is Guaraldi and his trio’s musical dedications to the early television specials.
Vince Guaraldi was a piano prodigy. Included in his trio was a few surpassing instrumentalists but the main supporting players were guitarist Eddie Duran and bassist Dean Reiley.
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With all the compositions, collaborations, and studies Guaraldi put himself through during his years as a public Jazz figure, this is his most notable and mentioned piece of work.
The Peanuts Christmas special was haphazardly conducted, with the way the characters acted and the scenery designed in accordance with the trio’s set pieces. The compositions here illuminate the character’s wholesome and quirky moments within the whole unity of the special.
The beginning scene of the television special holds Guaraldi’s infamous Christmas Time Is Here composition which sets up the atmosphere of the whole special.
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The album itself is such an iconic piece that it still manages to hold commercial regality to this day. The album, which defines the special well, does not glisten with a dazzling display or boisterous merriment.
The trio utilizes their own three instruments and makes great use of their innate ability to dedicate the special as a warm and wholesome family program. Included in this compilation are all the original compositions, including their instrumental renditions and music from the Halloween and Thanksgiving special.
The album wholeheartedly starts off with the composition entitled O Tannenbaum. Relaying the mood for the rest of the compilation, the composition begins with Guaraldi’s mind-easing piano play.
Around forty seconds into the composition, the rest of the ensemble come into play, including pelting cymbals and Reiley’s smooth bass play.
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The tracks don’t necessarily go in order with accordance to the special. The album sees fit where the compositions should align themselves based on necessary adjustments and transitional comfortability.
After the soothing composition of What Child Is This, My Little Drum comes in with it’s swaying arrangement using the vocals of a youthful polyphony and Guaraldi’s leading piano chords.
The compilation includes both the instrumental and vocalized renditions of Christmas Time Is Here. The instrumental rendition lasts for over six minutes by which the whole arrangement is led by Guaraldi’s piano direction. The vocal version is the truest form of the composition paying respect to the special itself.
Skating is a jovial piece which is commanded by Guaraldi’s staccato form, as Christmas is Coming bustles with energetic fever.
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The compilation ends with the last two compositions, Great Pumpkin Waltz and Thanksgiving Theme. Being a remastered form of the original album, it seems appropriate to add these two compositions in. Guaraldi’s music is played mostly during the holiday season by both the Jazzheads and the warmth-seekers.
Guaraldi and his accompanied players have bridged the gap between television and authentic music. Soundtracks now have a formidable stance within the modern cornucopia of music streaming and searching.
The Peanuts will always survive within the evolving years of the holiday season, and Guaraldi and his musicians will always be known as the key players of this fusion. For that, A Charlie Brown Christmas will always have a place for the holiday season, regardless of what year it is.