Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Egbert Junghanns, Camille Saint-Saens, Benjamin Britten|
Saint SaŽns: Christmas Oratorio; Britten: A Ceremony of Carol
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
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Budget recording - not very good, but the only one available
Timothy Hulsey | Charlottesville, VA United States | 12/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This bargain-basement recording has more than its share of shortcomings. A competent but uninspired performance of the Saint-Saens is by far the highlight. But Britten's _Ceremony of Carols_ is sung in German instead of the original Middle English, and it comes off as something of a fiasco.
The absence of liner notes means that you won't know what the choir or soloist is singing at any given time, so much of the subtle word-painting will be lost on most listeners. All vocal soloists are unidentified.
I've recommended this recording only because it is at present the only one of the Saint-Saens available. But it's high time for something better. Naxos, are you listening?
(Update, October 2008: The last paragraph was true six years ago, but thankfully it is no longer so.)"
The real gem here is the Oratorio
Basso Profondo | Texas | 12/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think this album is worth buying for the Oratorio alone. Saint-Saens' Oratorio is way too underrated and underperformed, and I hadn't heard of it myself until my fine arts program put on a production of it this semester. It's a small scale work written only for strings, harp and organ (and chorus and soloists of course), nevertheless it is absolutely gorgeous. Even the recitative is beautiful! My personal fav's are the Soprano and Baritone duet (in which the soprano hits a high C without shattering the windows), the Tenor, Soprano and Baritone Trio which in itself is one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of music that I've heard, and the Quartet for Alto, Soprano, Mezzo, and Bass. I don't know anything about Britten's ceremony of carols, but I would still buy this album even if it were solely for the Oratorio. And regardless of what others have said, I think this particular recording of it is marvellous."
Worth Adding to Your Christmas Collection
Dominic M. Carlone | Canada | 12/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having had no previous experience of either piece of music, I'd say this recording is well worth its low price. Sound quality is very high for a budget recording. If this is still the only recording of the St. Saens oratorio, I'd say don't think twice - just grab it, before it goes out of circulation. I can see how it might come across as uninspired, as the previous reviewers mentioned, but I think the gentle approach suits the music well in most spots."