Oscar Peterson — The Christmas Waltz (Telarc Records 1995)

The Christmas Waltz" is a Christmas song that was written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra, who recorded it in 1954 as the B-side of a new recording of «White Christmas», in 1957 for his album A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, and in 1968 for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas. There wasn't a version of the song that reached any of the various charts in Billboard magazine, however, until the 2003 holiday season when Harry Connick, Jr. reached number 26 with it on the Adult Contemporary chart during a two-week stay that began in the issue dated January 3, 2004.

Cahn recalls, «One day during a very hot spell in Los Angeles the phone rang and it was Jule Styne to say, 'Frank wants a Christmas song.'» Cahn resisted, explaining that any notion of attempting a holiday hit so closely on the heels of Irving Berlin's hugely successful «White Christmas» was «ridiculous», but Styne was emphatic. «'Frank wants a Christmas song.'»

The two met in Styne's apartment to begin work on the project, and Cahn asked the composer, «'Hey, Jule, has there ever been a Christmas waltz?' He said no. I said, 'Play that waltz of yours.' He did so,» and Cahn began work on the lyrics of «The Christmas Waltz», which many other artists have also recorded.

Referring to the line that goes, «And this song of mine, in three-quarter time,» Cahn writes, «You'll notice there's an impure rhyme in that lyric, 'mine' and 'time'.» He notes that another of his collaborators, Jimmy Van Heusen, wouldn't have let him get away with such an imperfection but that Styne wasn't quite so rigid.

For what would become the B-side of «White Christmas», Sinatra first recorded «The Christmas Waltz» with a chorus as well as an arrangement by Nelson Riddle on August 23, 1954. On July 16, 1957, Gordon Jenkins took over the arranging, and The Ralph Brewster Singers provided backing vocal on the recording for A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra. And on August 12, 1968, Riddle again provided arrangements, but it was The Jimmy Joyce Singers who lent their voices to the recording for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the «Maharaja of the keyboard» by Duke Ellington, «O.P.» by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, having played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.

While Peterson was recognized as a great jazz pianist both at home in Canada and internationally, he was also regarded in Canada as a distinguished public figure. His notable personage is evident in the acclaim and awards he received, particularly in the latter two decades of his life.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada (the country's highest civilian state order for talent and service) in 1972, and promoted to Companion of the order (the highest degree of merit and humanity), in 1984. He was also a member of the Order of Ontario, a Chevalier of the National Order of Quebec, and an officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France.

From 1991 to 1994, Peterson was chancellor of York University in Toronto. The chancellor is the titular head of the university. Weeks after his death, the Province of Ontario announced a C$4 million scholarship for the «Oscar Peterson Chair» for Jazz Performance at York University with an additional C$1 million to be awarded annually in music scholarships to underprivileged York students in tribute to Peterson.

A Statue of Peterson at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa was unveiled in June 2010 by the reigning sovereign of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II.

Frosted window panes, candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa's on his way, he's filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me

It's that time of year when the world falls in love
Ev'ry song you hear seems to say "Merry Christmas,
«May your New Year dreams come true»
And this song of mine in three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours the same thing, too

(It's that time of year when the world falls in love)
(Ev'ry song you hear seems to say)
«Merry Christmas, may your New Year dreams come true»
And this song of mine in three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours the same thing, too

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