Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mormon Tabernacle Choir|
This Is Christmas
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
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Good selections, fine singing/playing, but poor balances
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Over the space of several years in the mid 1990s I played in the orchestra for several of the Tabernacle Choir's Christmas Concerts. This CD represents the first one I did (I played in the brass section of the orchestra), and it was fun to play. The live sound in the Tabernacle with full orchestra, a huge choir, and organ was truly glorious. The performances were strong. Too bad this CD, which is the recorded version of the live concerts, does not capture the full, rich sound that resonated throughout the building.Kudos to Jerold Ottley, now retired as choir director, for his excellent work with the choir. He was both a task-master and a real human in his work in front of the choir and behind the scenes. Also, much praise to Jane Fjeldsted for her wonderful singing as soloist on "La Virgen Lava Panales." All in all, the pieces and the performers sound good, although the microphone placement and/or the mixing was badly flawed. Kudos to T.D. who played 1st trumpet, and who had the mic right in front of him - he sounds great! Unfortunately, it overbalances the rest of the orchestra, which sounds muddy much of the time, especially among the low voices. Despite the inter-ensemble and intra-orchestra balance problems portrayed on the CD, the pieces are still powerful. "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Personent Hodie" are still personal favorites. Somewhat less of a favorite is the arrangement of "O Come All Ye Faithful." It just seems to come off as a little trite, as does the last piece, although clever, "A Musicological Journey Through The Twelve Days Of Christmas." This is quite an eclectic collection of Christmas music, and is worthy of adding to your seasonal music library. Flaws aside (admittedly, I was hoping for much better balances), the CD is quite good. I have enjoyed it ever since its release."
The choir sounds good in this diverse collection
Bill Egan | 12/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I played on this album in the brass section of the orchestra. I really enjoyed most of the selections and the performances, but the mixing on the finished album leaves much to be desired. It sounds pretty thin in the orchestral parts and the balances are way off. For example, the microphone was placed right in front of Tony D. who played 1st trumpet. He's a great player and sounded almost like Gabriel himself on this album! Unfortunately, many of the other sections of the orchestra were not miked as well. With the strong high voices in the choir and the only low sounds from the orchestra coming across like mush, the overall sound seems pretty spotty.The two weak pieces: the Chip Davis arrangement of "O Come All ye Faithful"(the men ought to sing with more swing) and "The Twelve Days of Christmas." No, the 12 days piece is the not the one with which we are all so familiar. It is a playful piece that was an audience pleaser in concert, using excerpts from many other styles and works to make the point. It's not especially satisfying as piece of music, though.The good pieces are REALLY good, though. Personal favorites: "Angels We Have Heard..." and "Personent Hodie." The performances of these are powerful, passionate, and stirring. Crank the volume up - you'll feel like you're sitting in a hot tub with just the right temp.Special kudos to Jane Fjeldsted, who is the soloist on "La Virgen Lava Panales." She has a wonderful warm quality to her voice and sings with expression. Well Done, Jane! You sound awesome.I recommend the album. The choir sounds really good, despite the problems with mixing the orchestral accompaniment.They gave it the right title. It IS Christmas."
Imaginative Christmas selections from Mormon Choir
Bill Egan | Florida USA | 07/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""This is Christmas" is not a CD to use for background music during the holiday season. The rhythm, meter, voicing, and harmony in the arrangements call for your undivided attention. That's a plus during a time of year when the hustle and bustle can be exhausting. An hour lost in contemplation of the music on this CD will provide an enchanting musical respite.
The delightful Craig Courtney arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is reason enough to buy this CD by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Composer Courtney developed a Pops arrangement of what can sometimes be a boring and repetitious carol to deliver a wonderfully crafted chronological sampling of musical style periods from Gregorian Chant to early twentieth century Sousa. "A Musicological Journey Through The Twelve Days of Christmas" is an unforgettable jaunt through Vienna, Rome, France, Germany and Russia to the USA.
The rest of the CD is a tribute to the musical essence of Christmas found around the globe. Kathleen Frost's haunting vocal on "Jesu, Son Most Sweet and Dear" lends a special flavor to this centuries-old anonymous English poem set to music by Australian composer, Colin Brumby. Not many original Australian Christmas compositions are heard outside that south of equator nation where Christmas comes in the summertime.
There are the familiar carols such as "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Away in a Manger" as well as the unusual "Carol from an Irish Cabin" and "La Virgen lava panales," a villancico or song of Christmas from Spain. Overall, it's a charming CD to have in a Christmas collection.