Great Christmas Music

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Cyril Ignatius
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Great Christmas Music

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:15 pm

I see that some have groaned at the state of Christmas music in these times, even to the tune of crawling into a hole until Groundhog Day.

I would like to offer a list of a few recordings, some not well known, but each of which in my own judgement, will offer a practical alternative and warm many hearts. And I would also like to see what others think about these suggested recordings, or any others they might recommend. So here they are:

1) Beginning with a quiet, gentle recording "Dream Season - The Christmas Harp" by Yolanda Kondonassis (Telarc) An outstanding classical harpist, I have several of her recordings, each is outstanding. Her Christmas CD is very natural and tasteful and wears very well.

2) The conductor John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir have produced a true gem "Once as I Remember" (Philips) based on music from nativity plays from his boyhood. This is a must!

3) The Trapp Family Singers are back, and may they never leave! The Von Trapp family made many recordings in the 1940s and 1950s, including Christmas music. In fact, Christmas music was a very important part of their concert repretoire. In 1992, "The Sound of Christmas" came out on CD (Digital/Delta) based on those earlier recordings, and they are very beautiful and tasteful recordings. More recently, Deutche Grammophone purchased their recordings and has now released the CD "The Trapp Family Singers", an expanded version of this earlier CD with a large handful of additional Christmas songs. Also a must!

4) "Christmas Star" by the Cambridge Singers and Orchestra, John Rutter conducting (Collegium) is another gem. A nice cross section of carols which are masterfully arranged and performed.

5) A couple of Vienna Boys Choir CDs (both on Philips) are among my very favorites. "Christmas Angels" has many standard carols along with Britten's Ceremony of the Carols. "Christmas in Vienna" has a variety of carols, and good number of these tracks featuring the family Teufel.

6) For a conductor and symphony orchestra and chorus, there is "Christmas with the Academy", by the Academy and Chorus of St. Martins in the Fields, Sir Neville Mariner, conducting (Philips). Excellent recording of fairly well-known Christmas music.

7) In a similar genre, is "A Festival of Christmas Carols" (Philips), by the LSO/John Aldis Choir, Sir Colin Davis, conducting. Also an excellent recording.

So, if you are besieged by obnoxious holiday music, or currently find your only true soulmate in the Grinch, try any of these.
Cyril Ignatius

jbuck919
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Re: Great Christmas Music

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:30 pm

Cyril Ignatius wrote:
5) A couple of Vienna Boys Choir CDs (both on Philips) are among my very favorites. "Christmas Angels" has many standard carols along with Britten's Ceremony of the Carols. "Christmas in Vienna" has a variety of carols, and good number of these tracks featuring the family Teufel.
I wonder what Britten would have thought of Germanic choirboys, who produce a very different sound from English boys (because they are encouraged to produce in the back of the mouth) would have thought about "Ceremony" being performed by the VBC. Please, no remarks about "as long as they were boys."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

karlhenning
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Post by karlhenning » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:44 am

This should be "great Advent music," strictly speaking . . . .

But I am pleased to announce that the choir of the Cathedral Church of St Paul here in Boston will sing the world premiere of Christopher Forbes's Advent Introit, O Oriens, this Sunday, 11 December 05.
Karl Henning, PhD
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DavidRoss
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Post by DavidRoss » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:06 pm

karlhenning wrote:But I am pleased to announce that the choir of the Cathedral Church of St Paul here in Boston will sing the world premiere of Christopher Forbes's Advent Introit, O Oriens, this Sunday, 11 December 05.
That would be nice to hear. The congregation is fortunate that the choir director of St. Paul's has such excellent taste.

BTW, I've heard that a choir in New Mexico might be performing Henning's lovely The Snow Lay on the Ground.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

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Irish_Graham
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Post by Irish_Graham » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:21 pm

Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Handel's Messiah are my Christmas faves.

Muriel
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Post by Muriel » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:07 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
karlhenning wrote:But I am pleased to announce that the choir of the Cathedral Church of St Paul here in Boston will sing the world premiere of Christopher Forbes's Advent Introit, O Oriens, this Sunday, 11 December 05.
That would be nice to hear. The congregation is fortunate that the choir director of St. Paul's has such excellent taste.

BTW, I've heard that a choir in New Mexico might be performing Henning's lovely The Snow Lay on the Ground.
The Snow Lay on the Ground has become a new Christmas tradition for me. I keep the file on my desk top so I may listen every morning.
But I do love the choirs mentioned by Cyril above most especially the Monteverdi and Festival of Carols.

I'm sorry to be missing Mr Forbes" Advent Introit " .

I love the Tallis Scholars and have a CD of Medieval Motets that are lovely.

karlhenning
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Post by karlhenning » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:25 pm

Muriel wrote:The Snow Lay on the Ground has become a new Christmas tradition for me. I keep the file on my desk top so I may listen every morning.
I am so pleased, thank you for the gracious compliment!

We're going to do this at St Paul's on Christmas Eve, too, though I'll need to rehabilitate my clarinet between now and then . . . .
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

val
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Post by val » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:31 am

My favourite Christmas work:

Heinrich Schütz' Christmas Oratorio. A wonderful music.

Susan de Visne
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Re: Great Christmas Music

Post by Susan de Visne » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:35 am

[quote="jbuck919"][quote="Cyril Ignatius"]

5) A couple of Vienna Boys Choir CDs (both on Philips) are among my very favorites. "Christmas Angels" has many standard carols along with Britten's Ceremony of the Carols. "Christmas in Vienna" has a variety of carols, and good number of these tracks featuring the family Teufel.

[/quote]

I wonder what Britten would have thought of Germanic choirboys, who produce a very different sound from English boys (because they are encouraged to produce in the back of the mouth) would have thought about "Ceremony" being performed by the VBC. Please, no remarks about "as long as they were boys."[/quote]

Britten much preferred the sound of boys from continental Europe, and himself recorded Ceremony of Carols with the Copenhagen Boys' Choir. He wrote The Golden Vanity for the Vienna Boys' Choir, and the first performance of Spring Symphony was in Amsterdam, with a hundred Dutch boys! In England, he sought a similar sound from the Catholic Westminster Cathedral boys, and the remarkable choir from a perfectly ordinary boys' school in London, the Wandsworth School choir, who recorded several of his pieces, and also the entire Bach St John Passion (in English) with Britten conducting.

What he didn't like was the rather insipid sound usually (then) made by Anglican choirs.

Susan de Visne
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Post by Susan de Visne » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:41 am

Looks as if I don't understand how to do quotes!. Sorry.

dulcinea
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Post by dulcinea » Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:32 pm

Irish_Graham wrote:Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Handel's Messiah are my Christmas faves.
I wish I could recommend Casals' EL PESEBRE, but I honestly cannot. As a composer, Casals was but a beggar man's Mendelssohn.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:21 am

My xmas discs are The Boston Camerata's Medieval Christmas; John Rutter's Christmas with the Cambridge Singers; and The Baltimore Consort's Bright Day Star.
Corlyss
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Harvested Sorrow
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Post by Harvested Sorrow » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:17 am

As a general recommendation, I'd like to recommed the Pacific Chorale's new Christmas album. Beautiful stuff, also has a nice atmosphere to it...I like it, and I hate Christmas music, generally.

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