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The Carol Album: Seven Centuries of Christmas Music
Johann Sebastian Bach, Andre Caplet, Franz Xaver Gruber
The Carol Album: Seven Centuries of Christmas Music
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1

Most people think of Christmas carols as originating from ancient--or at least olden-times, and indeed, many of the most enduring ones have survived for many centuries. Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort take us back ...  more »

      
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Most people think of Christmas carols as originating from ancient--or at least olden-times, and indeed, many of the most enduring ones have survived for many centuries. Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort take us back seven centuries, in fact, and thoughtfully mix the old tunes ("Swete was the song," "This endere nyghth," "Nova! nova!") with more recent tunes. Parrott's musicians offer interesting takes on such familiar carols as "Silent Night" and "God rest ye merry, gentlemen." "Silent Night" sounds like an Austrian folk tune, complete with guitar accompaniment that reportedly was used in its original performance; "God rest ye..." is performed in the style of an English country church congregation--and uses a different tune from the one we usually hear. Various period instruments add to the color and flavor, and the arrangements are original and very effective. --David Vernier

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CD Reviews

A mult-layered trip through musical time
Robert R. Kunz Jr. | Fox River Grove, IL United States | 11/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To my taste, this is the way to do the vast musical repertoire of Christmas. Andrew Parrott's detailed, deep and textured approach presents a something new and satisfying with each listen.Initially, I was dismayed at the near-inaudible beginning of the first cut, "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel"...until I interpreted the slowly rising volume as the plainsong of an approaching band of medieval choristers, which is certainly a way in which it was heard.Truly, a wonderful trip through seven centuries!"
Something different -- very enjoyable
Matthew Spady | New York, NY | 12/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If this very stylish album does not have something that will please you, you are just too hard to please. With carols spanning seven centuries, in French, German, and English, from the old world and the new, this is a comprehensive survey of the Christmas carol. The performances are not arranged chronologically, but rather in contrasting and complimentary order, alternating unaccompanied with accompanied, vocal with instrumental. Both the vocal and instrumental ensembles have a range of styles and sonorities. Compare, for example, the brash open sound of "The Babe of Bethlehem" and "Glory to God on High" with the restrained pure sound of "This endere nyghth" or the full sound of "Christum wir sollen loben schon."The booklet contains notes and texts as well as a list of players, but do not identify the various soloists."
Fresh and witty
diplocase | Gabon | 12/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you've never strayed into the Early Music racks, start here! And if you have 30" of Christmas CDs in your collection and half of them are Early Music and traditional, you're still going to love this! No muddy, pretentious, over-orchestrated stuff here. Just period instruments or fresh voices, and some gentle musical jokes. (The little-sung and wonderfully rhythmic "March of the Kings" instrumental starts out barely audible in the distance with the jingle of harness and bells, grows louder, then fades in the distance as though the magi and their magnificent procession had passed on. And "Il est ne', le divin enfant", which mentions the reedy voice of the musette, is played on one.)"