If this week’s tune sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason for that. And the reason isn’t that it’s become a part of the repertoire of seasonal “Muzak” that jingles and jangles in elevators and shopping malls the world over starting on the first of November — though it has. Our tune, “Sleigh Ride,” is the work Leroy Anderson, who is now considered “one of the great American masters of of light orchestral music.” In 1938 a young Arthur Fiedler, newly installed as 18th conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, discovered the work of an even younger Leroy Anderson and asked him to compose for the orchestra. Thus began a long-time association between Anderson and the Boston Pops, which still features his works to this day.
Musically, ”Sleigh Ride” is a rondo, a classical form of composition known for its liveliness, the result of an intertwining and repetition of musical “episodes” around the basic theme. Story has it that Anderson composed this piece during a heat wave in 1946, whil…
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