Following the release of the award-winning Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering, which was a Top 5 Billboard Classical Crossover hit, Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire present Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain. In this celebration of the American immigrant experience, fiddlers, medieval harp, hammered dulcimer, bagpipes and singers join with children’s voices to evoke the Celtic roots of an Appalachian Christmas. From Christmas Eve in medieval Scotland to folk carols and shape-note hymns at a toe-tapping Christmas gathering in Virginia, Apollo’s Fire follows the journeys of the Irish and Scottish settlers who bravely crossed the Atlantic, settled in the mountains and welcomed Christmas with love, singing, dancing and prayer. AcclaimRead more for the premiere performances of this programme was widespread: “The lightning strike of genius can happen, sometimes even repeatedly to those willing to earn it. Jeannette Sorrell is one such person. This show was intense, interesting, spectacularly performed, and deeply moving. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is.” (Seen & Heard International)
Apollo’s Fire is a celebrated baroque orchestra, but their ventures into folk music are just as celebrated. This is music of and by amateurs, here arranged and performed with professional skill, but without sacrificing its vibrant folk quality to the glitz of showbiz. This recording is a must have for anyone susceptible to the allure of this tradition.
– American Record Guide
There are other ways to reveal fresh musical truths in the context of Christmas, and the determination of another early music group to do so has produced my vote for
festive disc of the year. Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain from Apollo’s Fire charts the passage of Scottish and Irish immigrants to the Appalachian Mountains in the 1830s. The Baroque music group gives us sounds we don’t often associate with Bethlehem but are probably far closer to what was heard there: zingy harps, reedy winds and plenteous modality.
The Parting Glassby Traditional Performer:
Amanda Powell (Soprano),
Ross Hauck (Tenor)
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
Utterly DelightfulDecember 26, 2018By Mark S. (Fort Mill, SC)See All My Reviews"This is an utterly delightful addition to our Christmas music collection. I highly recommend it. It is serious music making but fun, cheerful, energetic and unexpected from a HIP baroque band. Appalachian folk music is in Jeanette Sorrell's blood and it produces an authentic performance that will delight your ears."Report Abuse
Beautifully performed and lots of funDecember 8, 2018By j. Pharris (Olympia, WA)See All My Reviews"This recording "merges" Appalachian mountain music with Celtic tunes connected more directly to Ireland. I doubt that this particular combination of pieces would be heard in Appalachia, but it would be wonderful if it happened. The usual enthusiastic and virtuosic performance, led by the highly gifted Jeannette Sorrell."Report Abuse
Authentic and enthusiasticNovember 14, 2018By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA)See All My Reviews"In 2015 Apollo's Fire released "Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering." This Classical Crossover chart-topper celebrated the connection between Scotch-Irish mountain music and early Celtic and British music. "Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain" revisits the premise with a fresh batch of tunes. Rest assured these are no delicate forays into folk music by classical practitioners. Director Jeannette Sorrell grew up in Appalachia, and she knows how this music should sound. Apollo's Fire performed with a rough-hewn enthusiasm that's infectious (especially on the tracks where you can hear them flat footing). At the same time, there's a coherent, well-documented program behind it all. The album starts with traditional music of Ireland, and gradually progresses through immigrant songs to Appalachian mainstays. And understand, this is not bluegrass music. Mountain music sticks to the traditional instruments of Ireland, as does Apollo's Fire. You won't hear banjos and guitars. But you will hear fiddles, wooden flutes, hammered dulcimers, and Scottish small pipes. The ballads, such as "Joseph and Mary" and "Christ Child's Lullaby" are beautifully arranged. Soprano Amanda Powell finely balances between traditional Irish balladry and the nasal, high lonesome sound of Appalachian singing. This one's going on my short list of favorite holiday albums."Report Abuse