The 5 Browns have announced their highly anticipated Christmas album titled Christmas with The 5 Browns, which is to be released worldwide on November 1 on Steinway & Sons. Closing in on 15 years since their self-titled 2005 debut heralded them as a revolutionary force in classical music that sparked an ongoing global phenomenon, The 5 Browns - Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae – find a unique way to express gratitude and share the joys of the season on their first-ever holiday collection.
The first family of five siblings ever to be admitted to train at The Juilliard School in New York City,The 5 Browns enjoyed their first wave of critical attention in 2002, when People magazine dubbed them the “Fab Five.” The group, whose albums have spent more than 30 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Classical Album chart, and hit #1 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart with three separate albums – The 5 Browns, No Boundaries and Browns In Blue, the siblings have been covered in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly and in the New York Post, who declared, “One family, five pianos and 50 fingers add up to the biggest classical music sensation in years.” The group was also featured in a national television special in 2012 titled “The 5 Browns In Concert,” which aired on PBS stations throughout the country.
Produced by Grammy© Award winner Adam Abeshouse – who previously helmed their 2013 collection The Rire of Spring on the Steinway & Sons label – and recorded at Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey – Christmas with the 5 Browns features fresh, dynamic arrangements of both familiar and lesser known pieces. Six of the tracks on the album capture the group’s trademark transcendent magic with all five pianos played simultaneously. Others feature two pianos (“O Holy Night“), performed by Deondra and Desirae), solo spotlights by Melody, Gregory and Ryan and one piece (“For Unto Us A Child is Born“) from Handel’s Messiah, arranged by Carl Czerny, performed on a single piano by the six hands of Melody, Desirae and Deondra.
The tracks featuring The 5 Browns on all five pianos include the Kevin Olson arranged “A Carol Symphony”, Emile Waldteufel’s “Skater’s Waltz,” and Melody’s own arrangement of “Still Still Still,” first published in 1865. Interspersed throughout the set are the solo piano showcases by Melody (“Greensleeves” and “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”); Gregory (“Silent Night,” and “Marieae Wiegenlied (Mary’s Lullaby)”; and Ryan (Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”).
The full track list for Christmas with The 5 Browns includes:
- Nutcracker Suite:
- Miniature Overture
III. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
- Russian Dance
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
- For Unto Us a Child is Born (from Messiah)
- O Holy Night
- Sleigh ride: A Holiday Excursion for Five Pianos
- Still, Still, Still
- Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
- Mariä Wiegenlied (Mary’s Lullaby)
- Weihnachtstraum (Silent Night)
- Skater’s Waltz
- A Carol Symphony
- Carol of the Bells
The 5 Browns holiday repertoire grew organically over the past five years, as demand grew for them to continue adding more holiday fare to their busy December concert schedule. One of the first seasonal pieces arranged for them was “Sleigh Ride,” and the response it received inspired them to add a second tune, then others, until they had a full Christmas-themed playlist to draw from both live and in the studio. Fans who embraced their classics, inevitably asked when they would be gifting them with a full length holiday album.
Says Melody Brown, “When we decided to record an album of some of our favorite festive music, we really wanted to try and capture the warmth, fun, and peace of these yearly, sibling Christmas Eve parties. So wherever you are, and whatever your personal holiday traditions may be, we hope you feel a little bit of the joy that we do while digging into a home-made pie; the laughter or tears of love we feel while opening the gifts we’ve given each other — or the peace we feel while listening to ‘Silent Night’ by the soft light of a Christmas tree.”
Adds Gregory Brown: “Our wonderful fans have been asking us since the beginning of our careers when we would be releasing a Christmas album, and I think for a long time it wasn’t at the forefront of our minds, because we had so many other passion projects and priorities. After releasing The Rite of Spring, which was decidedly the most angsty work we ever recorded, we started to focus on memories and the beautiful things and special occasions in life – and the concept of this album grew out of that. I liken the decision to record the project to the choice we made to pool our talents and become The 5 Browns 15 years ago.”