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Christmas Carols Box set

1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 19 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B000W03RO4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,300 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. Methinks I See a Heavenly Host
2. While shepherds watched their flocks by night (A 2nd Collection of Sacred Music. York, ca. 1820)
3. Marizápalos a Io divino ('Serafin que con dulce harmonía')
4. Los que Fueren de Buen Gusto
5. Magnificat super 'Angelus ad pastores' (from Megalynodia Sionia)
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Work(s): In dulci jubilo (a 16) Pars I
2. Noël Grand Jeu et Duo, for organ
3. Canons (5) on Latin Texts for voice, clarinet & bass clarinet, Op. 16: Dormi Jesu
4. Adeste fidelis, for female chorus (incomplete), S. 49a
5. Hodie nobis caelorum Rex, motet for 4 voices, P. 92
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. O come, O come, Emmanuel (Veni, veni, emmanuel), carol
2. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night)
3. Il est né, le divin enfant (French)
4. Nova, Nova, Ave fit ex Eva
5. La Marche des Rois (Provençal carol)
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. While shepherds watched their flocks by night (Tune: Winchester)
2. We Three Kings of Orient Are
3. I Wonder As I Wander
4. Qui Creavit Coelum, hymn
5. There Is No Rose, for chorus, Op. 14
See all 17 tracks on this disc

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By scuba sally on Oct. 21 2009
Format: Audio CD
Taverner Consort's Christmas Carols cover four cds, 66 songs and nine centuries; its going to be difficult to write a review in a few words, but here goes.
I loved the cd. I loved it's simple production values that allowed me to appreciate the interplay among the voices and between the voices and a parlay of period instruments. I loved hearing the carols that I have never heard before and enjoyed the odd surprise in those I was familiar with. I already have a few recordings of the Taverner consort singing other period pieces and when I saw this re-issue by virgin Classics, I felt confident that I would enjot this compilation as well. The liner notes discuss the highlights of the cd, but for those who want a more in-depth explanation of Christmas music spanning almost a millenia, a research source is offered at the end. "The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford University Press, 1992) edited by Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent music, excellent value Nov. 10 2012
By Mark E. Stenroos - Published on
Format: Audio CD
CD 1: Festive Music From Europe & America (aka The Christmas Album)
CD 2: Nine Centuries of Seasonal Music
CD 3: The Carol Album I
CD 4: The Carol Album II
Taverner Consort Choir & Players/Andrew Parrott, Director

This album's rather generic title doesn't give the consumer a clear idea of the music contained herein.

The 4 CDs gathered in this box were originally released as EMI single discs between 1987-1995. They were bestsellers in the classical music world, especially "The Carol Albums I & II," which feature a nice overview of Christmas music through the ages. CD 1 in this set was originally issued on EMI as "The Christmas Album," which (I guess) would have been confusing sitting as part of a 4-CD set, thus the renaming of this CD per above. Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort established themselves as a reliable brand in the performance of early and Baroque music, and these recordings hold up very well a quarter of a century since their initial release. Each CD stands on its own as a well-thought-out program, even if their programs in specific bear obvious similarities to each other, mostly due to the musical periods from which the repertoire has been drawn.

The musical selections contained pretty much cover the bases of choral/vocal classical Christmas favorites, with most of the selections drawn from the Medieval to Baroque eras. Along with the many anonymously composed carols, you get music by Praetorious, Charpentier, Billings, Daquin, Tallis, Liszt, Gabrieli, Hildegard von Bingen, JS Bach, and even Schoenberg (!). A few of the carols/songs appear twice - "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night" - which is to be expected when one is compiling into a collection albums which were issued as stand-alone product on their initial release.

One of the features of these recordings is that Parrott has his singers perform in vocal styles that he imagines were used by the people who first sang this music in their respective eras. That might mean that an American hymn from the Revolutionary War period is sung with a rowdy and twangy vocal color, while a carol like "Silent Night" is sung in German as a simple duet with choir and guitar, reflecting its origins as a piece composed to deal with the fact (legend?) that the church organ had broken down and that the choir director had to come up with a quick fix to save Xmas Eve services. This approach works pretty well in general, as does Parrott's practice of mixing a cappella and instrumentally accompanied selections throughout the various programs.

The EMI versions of these CDs contained lots of readable information in their booklets. Those notes have been jettisoned in this 4-CD set (which has been rereleased on EMI's subsidary label, Virgin Veritas), so you'll need to search out the original EMI issues if extensive program notes are important to you (those CDs are still widely available). The enclosed CD booklet contains only a complete track listing and a 3-page essay that was written for this compilation's 2007 release - not the worst trade-off when one considers the budget-price of this 4CD set.

About that price - be advised that Virgin's MSRP has this 4-CD set priced as "4 CDs for the price of 1," which means that you should be paying anywhere from $13.99 - 16.99 TOPS for this set, with some Amazon Marketplace sellers offering the set in "new" condition for as little as $9 (an incredible bargain when the EMI versions of these CDs still retail as full-priced albums). Pay any more than that and you are being gouged.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Christmas magic Dec 17 2010
By George Zadorozny - Published on
Format: Audio CD
With all respect to the other reviewer who disliked this CD because of its variety, I must disagree with him. To my ear, this is Christmas singing at its magical best. De gustibus non est disputandum, as they say . . . But trying to speak objectively about subjective things, I say, this is a snowy-splendid CD!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you are way past the Christmas Top 10, this is for you. Feb. 6 2014
By david o vaagen - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Interesting songs from the vast body of Christmas literature and authentic performances based on the ages and provenance of the particular song. Serious academic groundwork and knowledgeable performances by well-trained artists have combined to create an album that is well worth adding to your collection.
0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A soup of styles of music which lack coherence Dec 11 2008
By Aquinas - Published on
Whilst this set of CDs is good value, it does not really hang together. There is simply too vast a range of musical styles being covered from Liszt's piano arrangment to a dreadful german folksy rendition of Silent night and some baroque thrown in. Its like an Irish stew - everything has been thrown in!