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Welcome Christmas - Carols And Lullabies From Around The World


Release Date: 08/31/2004 
Label:  Clarion   Catalog #: 908   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Conrad SusaMichael FinkTraditionalStephen Paulus,   ... 
Performer:  Michele FrischDavid John OlsenMerilee KlempYolanda Williams,   ... 
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plymouth Music Series ChorusVocalEssence Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In 1993 the Ensemble Singers of the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota, directed by Philip Brunelle, made the world-premiere recording of Conrad Susa's Carols and Lullabies: Christmas in the Southwest. That recording, titled Welcome Christmas! Carols from Around the World (RCA), is reissued here by Clarion, along with the rest of the original disc's varied and interesting program of familiar and lesser-known works and carol arrangements by American composers. Susa's set of 11 Spanish traditional carols, arranged as a unified work for SATB choir accompanied by harp, guitar, and marimba, was commissioned by Brunelle and the Plymouth Music Series (now known as VocalEssence) as a sort of New World "companion" to Benjamin Britten's A Read more Ceremony of Carols. While some of the tunes are familiar, Susa's conceptions are invariably fresh and unique, and while not on the level of Britten's masterpiece, the work not only engages listeners on a musical level but its texts also offer a different perspective on details of the traditional Christmas story.


The rest of the disc contains mostly familiar carols in new arrangements, from O Little town of Bethlehem (Stephen Paulus), Sussex Carol (Dale Wood), and Infant Holy, Infant Lowly (Daniel Kallman), to Ding, dong, merrily on high! (Chester Alwes) and It came upon the midnight clear (Brunelle). One of the highlights is Paulus' own Sing Hallelu!, a piece that easily could become a holiday concert standard. The singing is consistent with the other fine work of VocalEssence, whose bright yet rich-textured quality (with warm, free vibrato) epitomizes the best of what might be called an "American" choral sound. The engineering on the original recording was quite good, and I couldn't detect any appreciable difference between it and this new edition. A comparison of the packaging shows that the new release contains more complete liner notes, providing texts and descriptions of each piece. However, the most important thing is that Clarion has returned an important disc to the choral/Christmas catalog, so if you enjoy Christmas music and didn't get this 10 years ago, now's your chance. [9/27/2004]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Carols and Lullabies "Christmas in the Southwest" by Conrad Susa
Performer:  Michele Frisch (Flute), David John Olsen (Vibraphone), Merilee Klemp (Oboe),
Yolanda Williams (Alto), Robert Johnson (Tenor), Paula Jeske (Alto),
David John Olsen (Marimba), Chris Kachian (Guitar), Lynne Aspnes (Harp),
Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Dale Newton (Cello),
Sandra Powers (Clarinet), James Bohn (Bass), Steve Burger (Bass),
Dan Dressen (Tenor), Carole Hofstad-Lee (Soprano), Margaret Houlton (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plymouth Music Series Chorus,  VocalEssence Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; USA 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 21 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: Spanish 
2. What sweeter music by Michael Fink
Performer:  Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Michele Frisch (Flute), Gary Raynor (Double Bass),
Dale Newton (Cello), Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Merilee Klemp (Oboe),
Chris Kachian (Guitar), David John Olsen (Marimba), Lynne Aspnes (Harp)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
3. On Christmas Night "Sussex Carol" by Traditional
Performer:  Merilee Klemp (Oboe), David John Olsen (Marimba), Michele Frisch (Flute),
Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Gary Raynor (Double Bass),
Chris Kachian (Guitar), Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Dale Newton (Cello)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 6 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Dale Wood. 
4. Sing hallelu! by Stephen Paulus
Performer:  Chris Kachian (Guitar), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Joe Holmquist (Percussion),
Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Dale Newton (Cello), Merilee Klemp (Oboe),
Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Michele Frisch (Flute), David John Olsen (Marimba)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: English 
5. Patapan by Traditional
Performer:  Chris Kachian (Guitar), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Dale Newton (Cello),
Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Merilee Klemp (Oboe), Gary Raynor (Double Bass),
Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Michele Frisch (Flute), David John Olsen (Marimba)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Burgundy, France 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Robert J. Batastini. 
6. Go tell it on the mountain by Traditional
Performer:  Chris Kachian (Guitar), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Michael Jorgensen (Bass),
Yolanda Williams (Alto), Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Elizabeth Pauly (Soprano),
Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Dale Newton (Cello),
Merilee Klemp (Oboe), Michele Frisch (Flute), David John Olsen (Marimba)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Steve Barnett. 
7. Christ was born on Christmas Day by Traditional
Performer:  Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Chris Kachian (Guitar), Dale Newton (Cello),
Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Merilee Klemp (Oboe),
Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Michele Frisch (Flute), David John Olsen (Marimba)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Randall Davidson. 
8. O little town of Bethlehem by Henry Walford Davies
Performer:  Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Gary Raynor (Double Bass),
Dale Newton (Cello), Merilee Klemp (Oboe), Sandra Powers (Clarinet),
Michele Frisch (Flute), David John Olsen (Marimba), Chris Kachian (Guitar)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Stephen Paulus. 
9. The friendly beasts by Traditional
Performer:  Chris Kachian (Guitar), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Barbara Nelson (Soprano),
Judi Donaghy (Soprano), Dan Dressen (Tenor), Steve Burger (Bass),
Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Dale Newton (Cello),
Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Merilee Klemp (Oboe), David John Olsen (Marimba),
Michele Frisch (Flute)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Robert Farley. 
10. Infant holy, infant lowly by Traditional
Performer:  David John Olsen (Marimba), Chris Kachian (Guitar), Joe Holmquist (Percussion),
Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Sandra Powers (Clarinet),
Dale Newton (Cello), Merilee Klemp (Oboe), Michele Frisch (Flute)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Written: Poland 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Daniel Kallman. 
11. Ding Dong! Merrily on high by Traditional
Performer:  Dale Newton (Cello), Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Joe Holmquist (Percussion),
Chris Kachian (Guitar), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), David John Olsen (Marimba),
Michele Frisch (Flute), Merilee Klemp (Oboe), Gary Raynor (Double Bass)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 1 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Chester L. Alwes.
This selection is based on the tune "Branle l'officiel" from Thoinot
Arbeau's "Orchésographie". 
12. 'Tis Winter now by Traditional
Performer:  Dale Newton (Cello), Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Joe Holmquist (Percussion),
David John Olsen (Marimba), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Michele Frisch (Flute),
Merilee Klemp (Oboe), Chris Kachian (Guitar), Sandra Powers (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Monte Mason. 
13. It came upon the midnight clear by Richard Storrs Willis
Performer:  David John Olsen (Marimba), Merilee Klemp (Oboe), Sandra Powers (Clarinet),
Michele Frisch (Flute), Chris Kachian (Guitar), Lynne Aspnes (Harp),
Dan Dressen (Tenor), Margaret Houlton (Soprano), Joe Holmquist (Percussion),
Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Dale Newton (Cello)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Brunelle. 
14. Away in a manger by William J. Kirkpatrick
Performer:  Chris Kachian (Guitar), Dale Newton (Cello), Sandra Powers (Clarinet),
Gary Raynor (Double Bass), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Joe Holmquist (Percussion),
Michele Frisch (Flute), David John Olsen (Marimba), Merilee Klemp (Oboe)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Bradley Ellingboe. 
15. The Holly and the Ivy by Traditional
Performer:  David John Olsen (Marimba), Michele Frisch (Flute), Merilee Klemp (Oboe),
Sandra Powers (Clarinet), Dale Newton (Cello), Gary Raynor (Double Bass),
Joe Holmquist (Percussion), Lynne Aspnes (Harp), Chris Kachian (Guitar)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble,  Plymouth Music Series Chorus
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Church of St. Bernard, Saint Paul, MN 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Virgil Thomson. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Very Nice "Alternate" Christmas Album January 14, 2014 By Michael L. (New Hope, MN) See All My Reviews "I heard the Spanish tracks for the first time on Public Radio, along with some commentary. I think the message is, "... that Jesus is Lord of all cultures--contemporary, ethnic, historical..." A wonderful musical message for Christmas." Report Abuse
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