Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|David Alan Marshall, Christmas Traditional, John Tavener|
Christmas with Chanticleer (Featuring Dawn Upshaw)
Genres: Folk, Special Interest, Classical
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Christmas amoungst the stars!
M. Fields | Brooklyn, New York USA | 10/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This must be what the angels in heaven sound llike when they sing. The voices of Chanticleer blend so beautifully that it seems as if one voice is singing 12 parts. This album is a serious must have for all those who consider music an important part of the holidays.
There is one fly in the ointment though. No disrepect to Dawn Upshaw. Her voice is beautiful but we purists don't like to hear anyone sing with Chanticleer. We even find it difficult to adjust when instrumentation is used. Hearing a piano or flute throws us into a talespin. We just don't want anything to interupt the beauty of the voices. Let's face it, how many great groups are there out there who can sing without music let alone hold a note for more than 10 seconds without wandering off the note into oblivion!
The First Nowell is sung as it was meant to be sung when it is written so long ago. Lovely harmony but not over done or severly complicated. Most of the beauty is in the message it gives. No need to over sing it.
Die Stimmes des Kindes (The Voice of the Child) is gently sung to perfection with an other worldly, etheral quality. A haunting but gentle, sweet, harmony sings the last line here, "Ein schlafend Kind! (A sleeping child), they sing (Almost as wonderous as the child Himself. Almost!) of the Christ child. Countertenors above while the basses support them as they sing a final "o still!" I literally could not move as it ended. In a trance, I somehow found my remote and hit the replay button again and again. How in the world can this music be written by mere humans? Hmmmmmm, not of this earth, you think?
The Three Kings is something I haven't heard before. The music, written by Healy Willan in 1928, includes text from a poet named Laurence Housman (1856-1959). I thought I was going to hear a new rendition of "We Three Kings." WRONG!!! As the kings arrive to the place that the star of Bethlehem lead them, the last line of the song invites the kings to "come in ye kings and kiss the feet of God." The countertenors sing angelic while the lower voices sing the parts of the kings (two three voice choirs SSA and TBB). I dare you to listen to it just once. You'll play it over and over. Sometimes you must do that with Chanticleer because the arrangements are so rich you want to make sure that hear everything that there is to hear. Listening to Chanticleer sometimes requires a sophisticated enough ear to get through all the layers but everyone can enjoy it to the fullest. Some folks might say it's too high brow for them but I strongly urge you to give it a try. Sit your kids down and turn off the hip hop stuff for awhile. It's a music lesson in a bottle!"
Beautiful collection of both familiar and unfamiliar works
Neal C. Reynolds | Indianapolis, Indiana | 12/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The absolute highlight here is Distler's setting of "Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming", a fantasia based on the familiar tune. Dawn Upshaw's solo on the third verse is especially appealing. Also especially notable is Healey Wilan's "The Three Kings" with its hushed, reverent opening building to an ecstatic climax. And also especially appealing is the "Mary and the Baby Medley" which includes "What Child Is This" along with a traditional German carol and two African-American spirituals. This medley then leads into a beautiful rendition of "Stille Nacht". Definitely recommended for those who love the more classical Christmas music."
A wonderful addition to any Christmas collection
rentagoodbook | Chicago Suburbs, IL USA | 12/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before receiving this CD for Christmas, I'd not heard much of Chanticleer. I attended a recital of Dawn Upshaw's this past summer, so when I saw this Christmas CD, I was intrigued. After giving it a listen, I am most impressed. This is a wonderful collection of traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas songs with arrangements familiar and new. As you can see from the track listing, Ms. Upshaw is featured in a handful of the songs on this CD-it's a nice balance between songs which include her voice and those which feature just the men of Chanticleer.
As for those songs which include Ms. Upshaw (esp. "This is the truth...", "Esta noche nace un Niño", and "Stille Nacht"), her voice sounds lovely, very pure & clear of tone. Especially on "Esta noche...", her voice reminded me of Kathleen Battle's (in tone quality, flexibility, etc.).
On every single track, Chanticleer's blend is superb. Their purity of sound makes the textures of the arrangements that much more clear. I loved the arrangement of "Coventry Carol" and "Stille Nacht", especially. It's a nice change from my Cambridge Singers CD's, and I would recommend it as a wonderful addition to any Christmas collection."