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Manchester Carols

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Performer: Tanner; Manchester Carollers; Northern Chamber Orchestra
  • Composer: Manning D.; Manning J.
  • Audio CD (Dec 15 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #194,242 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

This new sequence of Christmas carols was written in 2007 by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and composer Sasha Johnson Manning, and premiered in the same year. The Manchester Carols re-tell the Christmas Story for the 21st Century, celebrating a ch

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sweet tender and new Xmas carols, they renew the genre and will last as they are full of Xmas stars and light melodies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa378eee8) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37530c0) out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan Dec 15 2009
By George Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase

This recording, in many ways, is quite remarkable using the poetry of Poet Lauriate, Carol Ann Duffy, set to the music of established composer, Sasha Johnson Manning, two English women that almost by accident got together in 2007 and wrote these inspirational and charismatic carols.

About a year ago Radio 3 BBC featured Manning in a special program that involved questions about her compositions, but the focus was on the 'Manchester Carols'; some of these carols were played and she talked about how they came to be written and her main goals concerning their creation. Upon hearing them I was 'hooked'; not because of her ideas, but because the carols are so unique and lovely. This new sequence of carols was premiered in 2007 at the Royal Northern College of Music.

The 'Manchester Carols' retell the Christmas Story for the 21st Century, celebrating a child's birth and all that child was to become; a man who lived by a humble, selfless creed, championing the marginalised in a society which was, as it is now, fraught with political tensions. These carols are for EVERYBODY, the believer and the non-believer, people of other faiths and everyone willing to join in the Christmas celebrations. Having said all of this, some of which I quoted from the 'blurbs' and some from Manning's BBC interview, I have to say that it's not important to me personally that I take in the reason for the recording, as much as the fact that these are simply carols that are very attractive.

Manning's gift for melody is immediately perceived from the first song to the final song on the recording, for they are tuneful and 'catchy'. The musical settings are strophic and the orchestrations varied as to instrumentation and its appropriateness to the mood of the piece. Some examples: the brief bell-like sounds at the beginning of the first selection "The Carol Singer's Carol"; the idea of adding instruments to the texture of the 'Advent Carol' as each element tells the story anew of the Christ Child. The playing of the recorders along with the minor key use lends striking color to a 'New Boy Born', one of my favorites. Each carol presents the listener with a new and different accompaniment idea as well as a refreshing new melody. One of the most profound carols "Call It Nazareth" deploys the use of modern war zones such as Dafur, Bosnia, and Baghad, likening the Holy Family's journey home to Nazareth.

Duffy's poetry challenges the listener to see the Christmas Story through new eyes, and draws parallels with many modern issues in an inventive meanner, not that you must take this challenge, for the recording can exist with only a surface interpretation which may be the best way to enjoy it. Regardless of any of this, her poetry makes for a beautiful cycle of carols - in fact- a RE-INVENTION OF THE CAROL ITSELF!

I couldn't resist including this quote by John Quinn, a reviewer of note: "Miss J.M. writes in the booklet the intentions were to re-tell the Christmas Story for the 21st century. In so doing, however,it appears that in choosing her language and imagery, Miss Duffy has been deliberately careful to appeal to people beyond those of a Christian persuasion". I must agree with Quinn as I listen to the songs. Firstly: Jesus is not mentioned by name until the 13th carol 'Each Child's Name'. Secondly: In the 'Annunciation', the angelic messinger is referred to not as an angel, but as a 'golden youth'. However, this to me is 'much ado about nothing'! What's in a name? Over-analysis, especially in the arts, can easily destroy any appreciation and enjoyment that is meant by its creator. Each of us is the ultimate judge of what we like, so I fervantly hope that these wonderfully written carols is not a cause for 'THE GREAT DEBATE'!!!!

The recording is very well done, the singing is alert, fresh and enthusiastic, as sung by the Manchester Carolers, who are actually heard most week-day mornings on the BBC Radio 4. as the 'Daily Service Singers'. The small Chamber Orchestra offers a bright skilled accompaniment under the capable direction of Richard Tanner, the Director of Music at Blackburn Cathedral.

Unfortunately, the CD booklet does not include the text of the songs, which I find rather strange since Jenning's statement on Radio 3 "I don't want people to just listen; I want them to sing along!" But fortunately, the diction of the Manchester Singers is quite good and almost all words are perceptible.

So my beginnng caption hopefully will lead you to the conclusion, or close to it, that the 'Chirstmas Story' is the 'Christmas Story', and cannot be hidden or changed by any word distinctions. BELIEVE IT OR NOT!!!
HASH(0xa3753588) out of 5 stars Inspirational Peace for the Soul Oct. 15 2012
By A. Demers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I live in Canada and first heard the song "The Trees" which was played on the Detroit classical radio station 90.9 last year before Christmas. I immediately fell in love with the song and went looking for a place to purchase the CD.

After I received the CD, I listened to it all the time. All of the songs are just beautiful. I find the music and words to be so delicate; they bring the inspiration and awe of the season, with an historical feel. I was sad when January came along - for one reason; I had to put the CD away for the year!

It's October now, and I've decided that, although I usually reject the notion of preparing for Christmas in October, I have decided to pull the CD out. It makes me happy, light-hearted and gives peace to my soul.

This is true artistry - the world could use more of!

I am now on a search for other recordings by Manning - sadly, I can't really find any, so the least I could do was recommend this recording for anyone who is looking for true Christmas inspiration through sound.
HASH(0xa375354c) out of 5 stars Joyful New Carols! Dec 1 2011
By Alice P. Sherwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have had this CD for a couple of years and I must say it's in the top two of my favorite Christmas CDs...and I have a LOT of Christmas CDs. I have just noticed that the composer herself is the soloist, and she does a fabulous job. The recording uses some BBC Singers (here called the Manchester Carolers), wonderful handbells and a small instrumental ensemble to impart a new take on the Christmas Story. It is a marvelous compilation of the collective talents of Sasha Johnson Manning and Carol Ann Duffy, the poet and lyricist. A MUST HAVE for those who love choral music and don't want to hear the same old carols.
HASH(0xa3753a44) out of 5 stars Five Stars Feb. 26 2015
By Nancy A. English - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Received item very promptly and it was exactly as described!

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