Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Arcangelo Corelli, Harold Darke, Mel Torme|
The Swingle Singers ...Unwrapped
Genres: Miscellaneous, Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
Swingle singers in top form
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 09/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In various line-ups, the Swingle singers have been around for several decades, but the quality of this album shows that the quality of their music is maintained as their name passes down through the generations. The line-up for this album comprised two sopranos (Joanna Forbes, Meinir Thomas), two altos (Kineret Erez, Johanna Marshall), two tenors (Tim Bullard, Richard Eteson) and two basses (Tobias Hug, Jeremy Sadler). This album apparently evolved through a series of December concerts in Japan, it having become a tradition for the group to tour Japan at that time of year. It certainly isn't the first Christmas album that the Swingle singers have recorded, but it is the first with this line-up. The music is selected from a diverse range of sources, but the sound is very much as you would expect from the Swingle singers.
The album opens with a classical piece that is sub-titled Christmas concerto, which is more meaningful than the main title. Next comes In the bleak midwinter, a traditional carol that is very popular in Britain. After that comes The Christmas song, written by Mel Torme but made famous by Nat King Cole, which is popular everywhere. I don't think that Joni Mitchell ever envisaged River (from her album Blue) as a Christmas song, even though it is the story of a love gone wrong at that time of the year. Nevertheless, it is now a Christmas standard and the Swingle singers do an excellent version. Walking in the air (a song that Peter Auty originally recorded for The Snowman) is most commonly associated with Welsh singer Aled Jones, but it's great to hear it on this album.
Several Christmas standard follow (Let it snow, let it snow let it snow, O tannenbaum, Rockin' around the Christmas tree, Santa baby, Away in a manger), all sounding fresh and exciting here. Carol of the drum, better known to you and me as Little drummer boy, precedes Amazing grace, which is not a Christmas song but definitely belongs here. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (turned down by several singers before Gene Autry recorded it, whereupon it became the biggest hit of his career), Last Christmas (originally recorded by Wham!) and Happy Christmas war is over (the John Lennon classic) all sound impressive. The final track (Hitaru no Kikari) has Japanese lyrics set to the music of the traditional Scottish song, Auld lang syne. I'd have preferred it if the Swingle singers had kept the traditional lyrics, but their Japanese fans will love this track and since the album resulted from annual Japanese concerts, it's fair enough to reward those fans.
Although I bought and reviewed their Beatles album many years ago, this is my first Swingle singers Christmas album, but I expect to buy at least one of the others eventually. While many of the songs are familiar, the Swingle singers bring their own distinctive style and sound to each of them, so the songs all sound a little different, but not too different, so are all the more enjoyable for that.