The Pops, the light classical sister ensemble of the Boston Symphony, has made eight recordings for RCA Victor since Keith Lockhart became conductor in 1995. Under the direction of John Williams, the ensemble recorded for Phillips and Sony Classical.
Recorded live at Symphony Hall on September 27 and 28, Sleigh Ride features the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and vocalists Alfred Boe, Jesse Goldberg, and Renese King. It includes the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah, "The Adoration of the Magi" from Respighi's Three Botticelli Pictures, and a jazz arrangement of the sleigh-ride section from Prokofiev's score for Lieutenant Kije, as well as folk songs, standards, and Christmas carols.
Lockhart told the Boston Globe that with the record industry in trouble, it was a good time to try self-distribution, which has worked well for the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and other ensembles.
"After fretting about the situation," Lockhart said, "we decided to take the law into our own hands. Holiday albums have traditionally been our strongest sellers, and it was the best trial balloon we could find."