The best Christmas album in years
albertatamazon | East Point, Georgia USA | 11/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hard-boiled stereo audiophiles may be scared off from this beautiful collection of Christmas-related songs and dramatic readings when they learn that they were recorded in mono sound between 1915 and 1942. But if they bypass this collection, they will cheat themselves out of a beautiful and fascinating album, and one of the finest audio remastering jobs I have ever heard. I don't know how Nimbus Prima Voce does it, but although the orchestra sometimes sounds rather dim and muddled, the voices ring through loud and clear, with virtually no surface noise. Many all-time greats are here--Enrico Caruso doing "O Holy Night" in the original French, John McCormack singing "O Come All Ye Faithful", and on and on. The singing styles are a revelation - these singers take their Yuletide material seriously, and deliver it with real passion, as if they meant every word, and weren't just rehashing old favorites. The program is a real potpourri, which includes traditional carols, classical Christmas music,and dramatic readings by Charles Laughton and Basil Rathbone. Laughton narrates the story of Christ's birth unforgettably, as if he felt he were performing Shakespeare; unfortunately, Rathbone is less successful at " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" - he tries to sound childlike, and Basil Rathbone cannot be cutesy-poo convincingly. The depth of many of the interpretations will astonish the listener--this is the only album in which I have heard the familiar "Lullay, Lullay, Thou Little Tiny Child" made to sound like the dirge it was meant to be- sung by the mothers of the soon-to-be-slaughtered babies to quiet them so that Herod's soldiers would not hear them cry. This is one of only two or three Christmas albums I couldn't do without, and one of the most original and moving ever done in this jaded, modern era of recording. Nimbus is to be congratulated."
albertatamazon | 07/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an incredible CD. All the greats of bygone years together on one CD. Best listened to in front of a fireplace on a cold December evening with good friends and Brandy. You'll be hard pressed not to shed a tear or two listening to this one."