Looking for a new carol
By Julia Figueras ~ Posted Tue, 12/15/2009 - 5:05pm
The order forms offering music for the year-end festivities begin crossing my desk in September. All lovely, pretty stuff. All pretty much the same as last year. And then we have a banner year, and newly minted magic fills the airwaves. So here's a short list of holiday CD's I found this year--some with a new take on old pieces, and some with something entirely new. My sampling, in no particular order:
1.Es Stot ein Lind in Himelrich. Raimund Hug and the Freiburger Domsingknaben. Ars Musici 232276
This is early music, gently sung, with an early music chamber group accompanying. Some pieces I've never heard before, and really interesting interpretations for those I have.
2. Christmas Song. Orphei Drangar, with conductor Cecilia Rydinger Alin. Bis 1833
This Swedish choir never fails to please. They choose terrific repertoire that often leaves me with that lump in the throat. This new release contains everything from Praetorius to Whitacre, with some familiar pieces scattered throughout for good measure. Oddly, it's the obscure Scandanavian carols that affect me most deeply on this disc.
3. Carols by Candlelight. The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford with director Bill Ives. Harmonia Mundi 907495
I'm a sucker for English Christmas carols, and a bunch are on this disc, along with a dash of Bach, Buxtehude, and Reger (amongst others). The is one of the world's great choirs, and you can hear why.
4.Still, o Erden. Reinhard Kammler with the Augsburg Chamber Choir and the Munich Residenz CO. Ars Musici 232404
Nothing makes me happier that to find a new major work for the Christmas season. And here it is: Otto Jochum's "Ein Weihnachtssingen." In fact, every track on this CD will be a new discovery for you; the biggest composer's name is Michael Haydn. Deftness and lightness of touch in arrangments are the hallmark of this disc.
5. What if Mozart Wrote "White Christmas." The Northern Lights Orchestra; conductor, Petri Juutilainen. Warren Schatz 5
That's right. I wrote it. The poppiest of the pop Christmas songs get a full reworking, arranged to sound like they were penned by the great classical composers. Nothing deep here, but that's okay. Sometimes, you just have to have fun.
Finding these might not be easy, but just keep searching. Your rewards will be plentiful. Happy hunting, and happy holidays!