Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Music Box Of Christmas Carols
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
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Unpretentious and Thoroughly Lovely!
T. Beers | Arlington, Virginia United States | 06/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What's the best way to produce a first-rate Christmas album of favorite carols? Well, you could arrange them for symphony orchestra and overwhelm their tender charms with Wagnerian crescendos of massed brass and strings. Or you could get some rapper to turn them into manufactured/faux street anger. Or maybe you could just hire a first-rate college choir under an esteemed but scarcely well-known choir director to sing them simply and respectfully in a way that rekindles all your best memories of Christmases past. This CD started out as an Lp released around 1969 by Vanguard Records on its Dolby-mastered Cardinal label. Back then, the performing group was called the University of Utah Chamber Choir and that's probably what they should still be called -- I haven't the foggiest idea why Vanguard thought it had to rename the group for the CD reissue. It doesn't really matter. What matters is the charming way this choir sings some wonderful carols, including most of the standard English/American chestnuts, along with some less familiar fare. My favorite of all is "I Wonder As I Wander," an American Christmas song either written or transcribed by the great folk artist John Jacob Niles. No more haunting evocation of the mystery, wonder, and (yes) loneliness of the Christmas season exists than this song, and it is sung to perfection by the choir and an un-named college boy. Or try something as hackneyed as "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and hear this choir strip away the accumulated kitsch to reveal a little gem of pure loveliness. Add to the choir's work a marvelous collection of Christmas tunes played by 19th Century music boxes (the disc alternates choir groupings with music box performances and you can edit out the latter if you prefer), and you have one of the most honest and affecting Christmas albums imaginable. Many Vanguard CDs seem to be disappearing from the catalog. Snatch this up while you can. It will be a favorite for every Christmas to come!"
T.Beers is right on the money
M. Lovrich | 12/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I could not improve on the Beers review. I have owned this music since my original LP copy from Vanguard Records, and have enjoyed playing it every Christmas season. It brings back the notion that Christmas is first and foremost a religious holiday of the most positive kind - a celebration of deep significance, and not an excuse to go shopping.
I admit, years ago I was disappointed that the "classics" were music box recordings, but I have since realized that I know these selections by rote, and the choral singing of more obscure selections nicely compliments the beautiful recording of the classics on old music boxes. The music boxes of yore are so beautiful that you easily forget the lack of singing, and instead simply enjoy the melody.
If you take Christmas seriously, buy this recording."