If “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is part of your Christmas memories, then a CD of the music is definitely worth owning. It contains many of the full versions of the music from the video (from which, parts were plucked to use in the video), plus some songs that were not on the video, but may be appealing since Vince Guaraldi plays them.
However, there are some variances from the original video and, apparently, from CD to CD. I was fortunate enough to buy the Fantasy CD from 1988, which has all of the original music. If you look at these Amazon reviews, they span multiple CD versions, so you can’t tell, easily, to which versions the reviews apply. I think that you’d find reviews for grills here if the grill was named “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This is very poor control on Amazon’s part but, unfortunately, common in their review system. I have read that the “Linus And Lucy” music can vary quite a bit, as an example. I have also read that the SACD version is accurate, but do not know if the current 2012 version is or is not.
Although all of the CD’s contain the original recording of “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”, none of them are the same version that was used in the video. In the video, they took this recording and slowed the singing section down by 9.7% (probably to fit the sequence), which also changed the pitch and tempo. The difference is noticeable and changes the feel, so the CD version may not sound quite right to you. However, the pre-singing part (dooo-dooo-dooo-etc) is normal time in the video, as is found on the CD. So, if you want the exact presentation as was in the video, you’ll have to use a program, such as Audacity (free), to adjust the speed of the singing part, slowing it down by 9.7%. Incidentally, if you also own the video, you will find that the end of the video has faded-out the end of this song. Originally, the video contained the full ending as found on the CD, but it also had a sponsor message that caused CBS to cut that ending out long ago (in the 60’s), leaving all copies without the original ending. So, if you make the speed adjustment with the singing part, you can also place that into the video (if you’re handy with video files) and then you will have the original full ending on your video as well (you’ll also have to reduce the amplification to match the video volume).
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