Search - Gerald Finley, Christmas Traditional, John Francis Wade :: Christmas With the Academy

Christmas With the Academy
Gerald Finley, Christmas Traditional, John Francis Wade
Christmas With the Academy
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Classical
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1


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An Outstanding Holiday Recording
Timothy Kearney | Hull, MA United States | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 1994 I worked at a music store where I was considered "the classical music expert." How did I earn this distinguished honor you may ask? Well, I had music lessons as a child, had a somewhat good knowledge of classical music as a hobbyist (I am a die hard opera buff and love the symphonic repertoire too), and I was the oldest sales person in the store. I was in my early thirties but most of the other employees were either in or recent graduates of high school. Since I could answer a few basic questions, I was the expert. I was also the jazz expert, movie sound track expert, easy listening expert, and vocals expert. If my life depended on my expertise of these areas, I wouldn't be writing this review right now, but that's another story.

The manager asked me to select some Christmas CD's for the store and in the catalogue, I saw that there would be a new release by The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner's direction. I had not heard the disc and we did not have a sample, but I had a hunch it would be well received and since the store catered to customers who loved good music, I figured that the recording would be well received. I remember when it arrived and we put it on the store stereo. From the church bells at the beginning to the first simple tunes of the disc, I knew this would be a great collection of holiday music. Customers agreed. It received airtime on the local classical station and we could not keep it in stock.

Since that time CHRISTMAS WITH THE ACADEMY has been a staple in my Christmas collection. It has three major strengths. First, the wonderful orchestra and beautiful chorus of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under the direction of founder Sir Neville Marriner. Second, there is a variety of carols and traditional holiday music. We hear tracks we would expect from an English ensemble, but we also hear those wonderful melodies that when performed well add so much to this season. Third would be the overall excellence of this recording. This great ensemble has produced excellent music over the years and this collection is simply another example of its quality.

I loved the recording when it was new, but now it has become a classic. For anyone who loves good holiday music that is performed well and has the spiritual quality that is so much a part of the season, this is a disc you will love.
Few compare
NotATameLion | Michigan | 11/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Few Christmas music CD's can compare to this entry by Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. As the previous reviewer notes, there is nothing startlingly new or insightful about this program--but its sheer excellence sets it apart.From the opening bells to the shattering conclusion of "Hark! the Herald Angel Sing," the listener encounters the kind of great music Marriner is known for. This stuff is precise though not dry, clean though not clinical. It is like seeing a beautiful painting in perfect clarity after having had it shrouded in a fog for years.The soul of these songs are clarified by the interpretations they receive here. The joy they proclaim to the world can be palpably felt by the listener. My personal favorites here are: "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," "Il Est né, le divin enfant," and "Away in a Manger."You need look no further if you want some great music to listen to and contemplate during this or any other holiday season. This is a great disc.I merrily recommend "Christmas with the Academy.""
cyclista | the Midwest | 11/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If I could only have one Christmas CD, this would be my choice. The harmonies are exquisite. The instrumentals are beautiful. There are several a cappella sections, which I love. This Christmas concert is a masterpiece. It is one of the few CD's with enough presence to evoke the feeling of "being there". I feel as though I'm sitting in a church, listening to the most wondrous choir.This 60 minute CD was recorded digitally [DDD], so I had no concern about the quality of remastering. I found the CD audio quality to be very acceptable. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves choral Christmas music."