Search - Michael George, George Frederick Handel, Tomaso Albinoni :: Christmas Through The Ages

Christmas Through The Ages
Michael George, George Frederick Handel, Tomaso Albinoni
Christmas Through The Ages
Genres: Special Interest, Classical


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Exquisite, with glimpses of a transcendental beauty
hyperbolic squiggly | 09/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I can't believe it. This is the first "Christmas" disc I ever bought and am still regularly listening to ... nine months post-holiday, now!This collection is replete with sparks of worship and awe. The festive jaunt embarks on a well-executed, majestic baroque piece, slipping into some flitty operatics. The mood shifts from aristocratic regalism to rich, emotive ethnicity in the climactic, folk dance-feel of entries 3 & 4. The transition between the two is gorgeous. {Who compiled this disc? Give that wo/man a raise! I have never heard such juxtapositional mastery on any professional compilation before. Chillout comp "masters", listen and weep!!}Not only is this CD emotionally satiating with expert arrangement/transitions, it is well-balanced in style: from traditional to experimental, pointed to ethereal, instrumental to acapella ... voices male and female, youthful and mature. The frosty choral majesty of pockets No. 5 and interlude 9 through 13 bestow upon the listener such a sweet uplift into the spirit of praise. This inspirational thrust underlies a generous portion of this disc. For the first time in years I have decided upon a personal "favorite song", and that is #11. The "engagement ring diamond commercial" residue doesn't interfere too much with enjoying the effervescent, Vivaldi-ish No. 15. A few organ pieces are thrown in for good measure (the final, surprising one always evoking a good chuckle).While there are certainly many standouts I listen to far more regularly than other ballads, this is a solid disc of excellent, well-executed music. My muddled blabbering on here cannot do this CD justice. This is one of the very best CDs in my personal collection. The Hyperion Label should be very proud of this release. If you are seeking a festive potpourri of aural exaltation, the charming incense of Christmas Throughout the Ages will not disappoint.Incidentally, the track listing on Amazon is currently inaccurate - either that, or they have the wrong title and cover art for their product number here. Yikes! In the interim, go to the Hyperion-Records UK website to see the real list until Amazon rectifies this listing.I have reviewed:Thomas Clark of Canterbury (1775-1859)
While shepherds watched their flocks by night [3'40]
Psalmody, The Parley of Instruments / Peter Holman
From Christmas Music from English Parish Churches, 1740-1830 (CDA66924)
Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)Die Hirten auf dem Felder [1'27]
The King's Consort / Robert King
Soloists: James Bowman, Jonathan Kenny countertenors, Mark Padmore tenor
From The Christmas Story (CDA66398)
Anonymous medieval EnglishProcedenti puero [1'44]
Sinfonye / Stevie Wishart
Soloists: Vivian Ellis, Jocelyn West sopranos
From Gabriel's Greeting (CDA66685)
Spanish traditionalRiu, riu chiu [2'17]
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers
Soloist: Christopher Hodges bass
From Christmas Music From Medieval and Renaissance Europe (CDA66263)
Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599)La luz de vuestros ojos [2'13]
A Capella Portuguesa / Owen Rees
From Masters of the Chapel Royal, Lisbon (CDA66725)
Giuseppe Valentini (1680-1759)Presto from Sinfonia a tre, per Il Santissimo Natale Op 1 No 12 [3'58]
Northwest Chamber Orchestra of Seattle / Alun Francis
From Baroque Christmas Music (CDH55048)
Harold Darke (1888-1976)In the bleak mid-winter [4'59]
Westminster Cathedral Choir / James O'Donnell
soloists: Aaron Webber treble, Matthew Vine tenor
From Adeste fidelis (CDA66668)
Giovanni Gabrieli (c1555-1612)Salvator noster [4'17]
The King's Consort / Robert King
From The Christmas Story (CDA66398)
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)In the bleak mid-winter [4'59]
Corydon Singers / Westminster Cathedral Choristers / Matthew Best
From A Boy was Born (CDA66126)
Traditional, arranged by Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988)Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child (The Coventry Carol) Op 25 No 2 [3'17]
Polyphony / Stephen Layton
Soloist: Emma Preston Dunlop soprano
From O Magnum Mysterium (CDA66925)
John Rutter (b1945)Carol of the Children [3'14]
Holst Singers / Stephen Layton
From Music for Christmas by John Rutter (CDA67245)
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)There is no rose of such virtue [2'36]
Westminster Cathedral Choristers, Sioned Williams harp / David Hill
From A Ceremony of Carols (CDA66220)
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)O magnum mysterium [3'23]
Westminster Cathedral Choir / James O'Donnell
From Poulenc Mass and Motets (CDA66664)
Orlandus Lassus (1532-1594)Omnes de Saba [3'17]
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers
From Christmas Music From Medieval and Renaissance Europe (CDA66263)
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)Allegro from the `Christmas Concerto' Op 6 No 8 [2'17]
The Brandenburg Consort / Roy Goodman
From Corelli Concerti Grossi Op 6 (CDD22011)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), arranged by Philip Ledger (b1937)Hark, the herald angels sing [3'10]
Westminster Cathedral Choir, Iain Simcock organ / James O'Donnell
From Adeste fidelis (CDA66668)
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)L'Adieu des Bergers [4'46]
Corydon Singers, Corydon Orchestra / Matthew Best
From L'Enfance du Christ (CDA66991/2)
Peter Cornelius (1824-1874)Die Könige (`Three Kings from Persian lands afar') Op 8 No 2 [2'54]
Polyphony / Stephen Layton
Soloist: Robert Rice tenorFrom Choral Music by Peter Cornelius (CDA67206)
Traditional, arranged by Andrew Carter (b1939)O come, o come, Emmanuel [4'01]
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, Andrew Lucas organ / John Scott
From Advent at St Paul's (CDA66994)
Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772)Noël No 1 [2'34]
Christopher Herrick organ of St Rémy, Dieppe
From Daquin's Twelve Noëls (CDA66816)
Pedro de Cristo (c1550-1618)Hodie nobis de coelo [2'18]
Westminster Cathedral Choir / James O'Donnell
From Masterpieces of Portuguese Polyphony (CDA66512)
Michael Praetorius (c1571-1621)Quem pastores laudavere [6'27]
Westminster Cathedral Choir, The Parley of Instruments / David Hill
From Christmas Music by Michael Praetorius (CDA66200)
John Tavener (b1944)God is with us: A Christmas Proclamation [5'27]
St George's Chapel Choir, Windsor Castle, Roger Judd organ / Christopher Robinson
Soloist: James Oxley tenor
From Sacred Music by John Tavener (CDA66464)"
An absolute bargain!
Pete | North America | 09/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Heaven forfend if there was some disaster and I had to flee my home suddenly, and couple only clutch a few Christmas CDs before going out the door - this would be the first one I would look for! When you look at the price of this disc you might think you are buying some really cheap collection culled from old, unwanted recordings by orchestras and choirs you've never heard of. This is not so. Rather, this CD contains some of the very best Christmas music from one of the world's leaders in classical music record production: the great Hyperion label from England. On this disc is one of the most beautiful recordings of In The Bleak Midwinter that I have ever heard. It's almost haunting. There's also some medieval songs that will become instant favorites, as well as a recording on an almost ancient organ. This is one of the great bargains available in Christmas music. If classical music, Christmas music, Church music, or medieval music are among genres that you love, I urge you to buy this. You'll be enjoying it well into January."