Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Alfred Burt carols--composed by the young Alfred in the 1940s and early '50s until his death from cancer in 1954--were the result of a family tradition begun by Alfred's father, Reverend Bates G. Burt, in which he wrote new carols each year and sent them to friends and to his church congregation. The charming melodies and pop/jazz-influenced arrangements--by Brinley Bethel and Jimmy Joyce--recall another era in American popular music--the time of television variety shows, "easy listening" radio stations, and movies with real songs and dancing in them. Their quaint sentimentality brings to mind one of those early-'50s shows--the big Christmas tree, the adults gathered around dressed in holiday garb, while the children come on
with presents and ornaments while the fake snow falls. Everyone's singing a song about Christmas, one with syrupy harmonies and a decidedly Biblical message, a song that's not one of the more familiar carols, but one that sounds almost like it could be. This disc is a re-release for the first time on CD of the complete collection of the Alfred Burt Carols, made in 1963. The choir (16 a cappella voices) sings with a believable sincerity and treats each carol with careful enunciation and just enough schmaltz. The sound is quite good, even though the acoustic has a studio artificiality. You also have to not mind the choir's very American r's and lots of vibrato. But that was the way it was--and if you're one of those many listeners for whom these heartfelt expressions of Christmas were a meaningful part of your own Christmas celebration, you'll be right at home here, with the entire Burt family.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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