Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Brian Stokes Mitchell|
Ring Christmas Bells
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Classical
Each year, the Christmas concert presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square is seen by more than 85,000 people live and by millions more via television broadcast. It is a full scale production ... more »
Each year, the Christmas concert presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square is seen by more than 85,000 people live and by millions more via television broadcast. It is a full scale production featuring world- class musicians, soloists, dancers, narrators, and music that leaves viewers in awe of the Choir's unmatched magnitude and musicality. Following the success of last year's CD Rejoice and Be Merry, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir presents Ring Christmas Bells, the next musical masterpiece in a series of highly acclaimed and commercially successful holiday albums. Featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell, dubbed by the New York Times as Broadway's last leading man and Edward Herrmann (Gilmore Girls; Nixon), Ring Christmas Bells is a holiday experience every family will want to have.
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Something for everyone -- brilliantly done.
Customer Bob | USA | 09/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It might seem a little odd to release a Christmas CD in September -- it feels just as odd to review one. I don't quite have the "spirit of the season" just yet. But this is a wonderful holiday album that has so much going for it - even some tracks that can be enjoyed year-round.
Brian Stokes Mitchell is without doubt one of the most versatile and talented singers around today. And on this recording he demonstrates a truly remarkable range of styles, all of them delivered with confidence, professionalism, and polish. He hams it up with humor and sensitivity on Mack Wilberg's delightful arrangement of "The Friendly Beasts." But it's all serious (and appropriately so) on Stokes' own arrangement of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and the stunning finale, "Angels from the Realms of Glory." These tracks show that, if he'd chosen to, Stokes could have been a very fine classical baritone. The power and resonance in his voice, the evenness of timbre, the control - it's all there.
Classical music's loss was Broadway's gain, though, and Stokes sings plenty of the music that is his métier: show tunes, jazz, popular classics. "Through Heaven's Eyes" (which he sang on the soundtrack to Prince of Egypt) is thrilling, Maury Yeston's "New Words" never fails to move me to tears, "Grateful" is a wonderful song given a first-rate treatment here (better, certainly, than on his own 2006 album). And these are songs that really don't have anything to do with Christmas but strangely seem to suit the recording. "The Christmas Song" and "Sleigh Ride" are old standards that benefit from lively, jazzy makeovers and Stokes' inimitable delivery.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square are excellent, as expected, and like Stokes are able to traverse a really incredible variety of styles. It's pretty gutsy of them to attempt singing gospel ("Grateful") and jazz ("Sleigh Ride") on the same program with Handel's Messiah and traditional Christmas songs. But it seems like the Tabernacle Choir can do anything... and do it brilliantly! They show that you don't need to use a puny, anemic "early music" choir to get the choruses from Messiah to pop with clarity, precision, and articulation. I don't recall ever hearing a "Hallelujah" chorus so powerful and yet so crisp. (I think, by the way, it's high time the Tabernacle Choir considered re-recording the complete Messiah - no other choir in the world has both the precision and the choral energy to do that work justice.) And as back-up singers for the solo-based jazz numbers, the Choir got it just right.
I'm not sure how Mack Wilberg keeps churning out arrangements for these Christmas albums and yet makes them all so inventive and fresh. Richard Elliott's organ solo ("Go, Tell It on the Mountain") is a showstopper, as usual. The DVD of this live concert is an absolute must if you want the complete experience - with dancers, bell-ringers, lighting effects, and Edward Herrmann's moving narrations - but then it's kind of hard to watch the DVD while driving or jogging. So I got both the CD and the DVD, and I'm covered.
One comment, not a criticism, about the recorded sound: the soloist's sound is engineered to be very "forward" and the Choir is WAY back there on the soundstage. In my car's sound system, it's like Stokes is in the passenger seat with me and the Choir is in the bus a quarter mile behind. I would have preferred more choral presence on the combined tracks, but that's just a personal preference and doesn't detract from the overall quality of the recording.
A live recording celebrating the holiday spirit with jubilat
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 11/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell lends his talents to a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, along with bell choir of more than 100 individuals. Ring Christmas Bells is a live recording celebrating the holiday spirit with jubilation, featuring classic Christmas songs infused with the love and devotion of the performers. Highly recommended especially for holiday gift-giving to anyone who loved Christmas or bell choir music. The tracks are "Processional on 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'" (5:31), "Once in Royal David's City" (4:38), "The Christmas Song / A Crazy Christmas List (3:19), "The Friendly Beasts" (6:36), "Through Heaven's Eyes" (3:52), "I Saw Three Ships" (2:55), "Whence Is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing?" (4:41), "Sleigh Ride" (3:05), "New Words" (4:21), "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (6:29), "Grateful" (5:43), "Go, Tell It on the Mountain" (1:56), "And the Glory of the Lord" (3:03), "Hallelujah" (3:45), and "Angels, from the Realms of Glory" (4:35)."
CD Ring Christmas Bells - Mormon Tabernacle Choir / Brian St
Stephen E. Phelps | Gilbert, AZ | 11/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I believe this is their seventh Christmas Concert featuring well-known guest artists. You cannot beat the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for choral music. They are simply magnificent. Brian Stokes Mitchell has more talent and more charisma than any ten artists put together that I've ever seen. Edward Hermann's telling of Longfellow's Christmas and the composition of his well known poem "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is moving. The entire program is the highlight of Christmas for me. Well, right next to watching my grandchildren on Christmas morning, anyway."