An American Christmas classic, originally recorded in Hollywood in 1963 and digitally remastered in 1995, these performances by the Voices of Jimmy Joyce capture on CD the original arrangements of all 15 Christmas classics... more » by Alfred S. Burt. This recording was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1964. It includes This is Christmas, Some Children See Him, and The Star Carol.« less
An American Christmas classic, originally recorded in Hollywood in 1963 and digitally remastered in 1995, these performances by the Voices of Jimmy Joyce capture on CD the original arrangements of all 15 Christmas classics by Alfred S. Burt. This recording was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1964. It includes This is Christmas, Some Children See Him, and The Star Carol.
"I was sorry to see the negative review by the gentleman from Nebraska. As a composer, I found these arrangements to be sensitive as well as musically sophisticated. The feeling for the text is magical--the music underlying the emotional content of the words superbly rendered. The music of the original Burt arrangement is present in the last verse of each carol, while the arrangements done for Joyce comprise the first verses. I found the poignancy of these performances touching and heartfelt. I recommend this recording with no reservations."
Alfred Burt is in here somwhere...
David A. Beamer | Clawson, MI United States | 12/27/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"...but he's kind of hard to find. While all 15 Burt carols are here, the music is quite disappointing -- because most of it isn't Burt's. Arrangers (or should I say "meddlers"?) decided to rewrite all of them. What you get in each carol (which typically have 3 verses) is 2 verses of Burt's melody on top on the arrangers harmonies, and then one verse of the straight Burt carol.This means, for instance, that "Caroling, Caroling" doesn't begin with those familiar bouncing chords. Various verses of the same carol are performed in different keys (very jarring). Much of the time, the melody is accompanied by humming and ooohing.The Jimmy Joyce Singers are nothing to write home about. They do a serviceable rendition, but without inspiration. Their leader takes the solo turn in 3 carols, and that's a poor decision -- he does not have a soloist's voice.If you want a good performance of the (mostly) unadulterated Burt, I suggest you search for an old out-of-print LP done by a group called Singers Unlimited. (Update, 2002: that old LP has finally been remastered to CD.) About half of the Burt carols are there (along with some other jazzy carol renditions), and the Burt carols are done they way Burt wrote them. And performed with style and class.But as for this CD -- don't bother, unless you absolutely have to have the Burt carols and just cannot find them anywhere else."
An Excellent Christmas CD
A. Craig | Grand Junction,CO | 10/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording of the Carols of Alfred S. Burt is one of the few
ones that attempted to put the complete carols before the public
There was one with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians which is
available on CD just search for Fred Waring and look over the
page that comes up very carefully you will see an ad for it.
The other was made by the Warner Bros. label. As far as I can
tell it is not currently in print. This CD issue from Collegium
brings to CD one of the better acapella performances of these
modern carols I have yet to hear. Many reviewers have commented
that these performances lack spirit and heart, I must disagree
the Jimmy Joyce Singers deliver plenty of heartfelt and sincere
spirit. They do something special here, they just sing the carols
without any affectation or any other such devices. All you get in
this CD is wonderful performances of Alfred Burt's carols.
This is a Christmas CD Keeper.
A Tall Order, but a Good Effort
KARL F. KOOPMANN | midwest | 07/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"(I own the original LP version of this album, so I am here commenting on the musical content only, not the quality of digital transfer, remastering or what-have-you.) Overall I was quite pleased with this album, my only previous exposure to Burt's carols being the selections performed by Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians. I will say that those remain my favorite performances of those particular tunes, as they are very simply interpreted and altered very little, if at all, from Burt's original scores, and that seems to yield the best results. However, I don't think the Joyce Singers' re-arrangements are inappropriate, as some other reviewers have expressed. In a few cases the arrangements get more elaborate than they maybe need to be, but I would not go as far as to say they are in bad taste. Burt's melodies are very strong --they do not suffer from the changes in the supporting parts, and if I am not mistaken, each cut on the album contains at least one verse of the composer's original part-writing. I have yet to hear an album of exclusively Burt carols that I've enjoyed more; very good overall. But, to my knowledge, nobody's recorded the perfect one yet."
A definite five star album
Sidney A. Meyer | Florida | 12/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have nearly 120 Christmas albums. This ranks as one of my favorites. I am quite suprised that some of the reviewers were so critical. First, to the best of my knowledge there is currently no other complete collection of the Alfred S. Burt carols. That alone makes this album special. Secondly, the 16 voice a capella choir of the Voices of Jimmy Joyce do a wonderful job. The singing is crisp and concise, the lyrics easily understood. The musicianship is excellent and the arrangements are extremely good. The third verse is always performed with the original Burt harmonization. While the additions of new arrangements distress some reviewers, I believe that repeating the same harmonization for multiple verses would become tiresome and dry. The melodies are exquisite and harmonize well in new ways. The arrangements used by Joyce are fresh, but in no way dissimilar or out of context with the originals. The effect is of a continuous whole and the album works perfectly. I would highly recommend this album for someone wishing to purchase quality Christmas music. As for the Waring version, I have not heard it, and it is not currently available on CD. It would seem rather ridiculous to deny yourself the joy of these carols now in hopes that maybe at some future time another version might be released."