Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Eddy Farrell Curtin Fremstad etc.|
Masterworks Heritage: The Christmas Album
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
Good, but not as good as the Nimbus collection
albertatamazon | East Point, Georgia USA | 11/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If this album had come out before the Nimbus "Prima Voce: The Spirit of Christmas Past", it might have impressed me a little more,though nothing can beat that Nimbus album. The songs here tend to be more popular carols rather than the more classical selections on the previous album.Many of the selections here are taken from recordings of more recent vintage, and the one advantage (at least many audiophiles will consider it one) that this album has over the other one is that it covers a wider time frame--from the earliest days of successful recordings until the late 1960's,when the stereo era was well underway. The songs have been carefully and rather shrewdly programmed with an eye to the public, and perhaps one of the reasons for this is that the transfers of the earliest tracks have a much worse audio quality than anything heard on the Nimbus album. This is NOT just because of the longer time frame; the fault seems to lie with Masterworks Heritage's techniques of "remastering" (or whatever it was they did) as opposed to the pristine (and apparently scrupulously faithful) techniques that Nimbus uses in their Prima Voce series (I listened last night to both albums on a different stereo system than the one I normally use and there's just no comparison; Nimbus can work wonders with ancient recordings.) None of the tracks heard on the "Christmas Past" album appear on this one, so one cannot make direct comparisons, but the last two tracks on this Masterworks Heritage album are plagued with surface noise that the remasetering job has not been able to eliminate. Masterworks Heritage is apparently aware of this,and so put those two tracks at the end--AFTER the listener would already be won over by the rest of the album.The singing is quite good at times,especially in the beautiful Russian version of "Carol of the Bells", here sung by an authentic Russian chorus, and stretched out to four verses rather than the usual one or two. But the hauntingly beautiful,almost poetic atmosphere of the Nimbus "Spirit of Christmas Past" is just not here, and while one always welcomes E. Power Biggs performing "Joy to the World", or that early 1925 "Adeste Fideles", or Eileen Farrell singing,or George Szell actually conducting the Cleveland Orchestra in "Pat-a-pan" (as far as I know, his only Christmas recording),there is just the slightest sense of disappointment here. Nelson Eddy sounds just as stiff here as he does in his famous series of films with Jeanette Mac Donald, and although this album is a good buy in itself, I can't help but feel that Masterworks Heritage was trying to play copycat after the wild success and pioneering effort of Nimbus' "The Spirit of Christmas Past"."