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Candlelight Carols


Release Date: 10/01/2005 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 5028  
Composer:  John RutterJan Pieterszoon SweelinckMichael PraetoriusHerbert Howells,   ... 
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Listeners looking for a very fine traditional Christmas CD will find this unusual and varied program an hour well-spent. Of course, much of it is devoted to Swedish Christmas music, and most of the pieces are sung in Swedish, but that's all to the good, a refreshing alternative to much of the well-worn, over-arranged fare we often get this time of year. The disc's liner notes take us along to a "concert on a December evening" and ask us to imagine the darkness, the brightly-lit church outside the village, the concertgoers hurrying inside "to avoid the wind."


The concert begins with an orchestral fanfare, joined by baritone soloist and choir for Gunnar Wennerberg's grand setting of Psalm 24,
Read more "Gates, raise your arches". Two lovely a cappella works follow, their theme the Star of Bethlehem, and the latter, by Hugo Alfvén, is an ideal example of that composer's affecting harmonic style. Sibelius' beautiful and textually compelling Christmas song, sung here in Swedish but also known by its Finnish title "En etsi valtaa loistoa", is heard in a moving arrangement for solo voice and orchestra.


Other highlights are Sweelinck's well-loved Hodie Christus natus est (accompanied by brass choir), Sandström's unique take on Praetorius' perennial favorite "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen", its melody floating over layers of swirling overtones and tone clusters, and anything featuring the rich-toned, ardent, ingratiating singing of baritone Karl-Magnus Fredriksson (especially Benny Andersson's "Innan Gryningen" and Adam's "O Holy Night", radiantly sung in Swedish).


The choir is excellent, as are the arrangements. My only disappointment was the decidedly unstylish, stilted rendition of Howells' A Spotless Rose, and I wonder why the two Rutter pieces--Shepherd's Pipe Carol and Candlelight Carol--were included as they seem out of place relative to the rest of the music. But these are minor quibbles taken in the context of such a highly satisfying, well-produced, impressively sung and played program. The closer, Hark! The Herald Angels sing (the Willcocks arrangement with descant--not mentioned in the notes), makes either a terrific ending, or may prompt you to immediately return for another visit to a village church in Sweden on a festive December evening. [10/18/2006]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Candlelight Carol by John Rutter
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; England 
2.
Shepherd's Pipe Carol by John Rutter
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
3.
Hodie Christus natus est by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands 
4.
Musae Sioniae: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen by Michael Praetorius
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1609; Germany 
5.
Carol-Anthems (3) for Chorus: no 2, A spotless rose by Herbert Howells
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1920; England 
6.
Festgesang "Hark! The herald angels sing" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
7.
Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
8.
The Silence of the Dawn by Benny Andersson
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Christmas Song by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929; Finland 

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