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Christmas A Cappella: Songs From Around The World / Chicago A Cappella


Release Date: 09/09/2008 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 107   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Per NorgaardChristian OnyejiWayland RogersTraditional,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The world-class vocal ensemble Chicago a cappella does Christmas choral music fans a real service by daring to create a program entirely of contemporary (primarily within the last 20 or so years) works that defy the usual and predictable holiday concert choices that guarantee instant audience familiarity and gratification (not that there's anything wrong with those beloved, treasured standards!). Most of the works featured here require a bit more-than-usual attention from listeners--the composers and arrangers obviously approached such common texts as "What sweeter music", "Il est Né, le Divin Enfant", "O Come, O Come Emmanuel", "Noël nouvelet",
Read more "I wonder as I wander", "Lo Yisa Goy", and "The Huron Carol" with an idea to say something that hadn't already been said. And they do--splendidly. Then we have entirely original pieces by Stephen Paulus (Splendid Jewel--from a 14th-century Italian text), Gwyneth Walker (The Christ-child's Lullaby--inspired by a traditional Hebridean song), Richard Proulx (Prayer of the Venerable Bede--from a text found on the wall of Galilee Chapel in Durham Cathedral), and Danish composer Per Nørgård (En stjerne er sat--a dialogue between the Angel and the shepherds).

It's a tribute to the power of the Christmas story and to its enduring, compelling fascination for composers that the best of them continue--more than 2000 years later--to devote their efforts to writing music to recognize and celebrate the birth of Christ. And we are fortunate to have choirs of this caliber to bring this music to us in a context that presents it most favorably and gives it a permanent presence in our listening repertoire.

Another of the disc's strengths is the sheer variety of music, from the Nigerian setting of the text "For unto us a child is born" by Christian Onyeji, to Rosephanye Powell's "spiritual-like" Who is the baby?, to Yemeni composer Chaim Parchi's alluring Chanukah tune "Aleih Neiri", arranged for choir by Zamir Chorale of Boston founder Joshua Jacobson. The nine singers of Chicago a cappella are absolutely right-on in every respect, and the sound is ideal. This is an unqualified success, a holiday treat, a musical bounty that will both challenge and enliven your Christmastime listening. Highly recommended!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
A star is set by Per Norgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; Denmark 
2.
Amuworo ayi otu nwa by Christian Onyeji
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005 
3.
What Sweeter Music by Wayland Rogers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998 
4.
Il est né, le divin enfant by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; France 
Notes: Arranged: J. David Moore (2004) 
5.
Huron Carol by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
6.
I wonder as I wander by John Jacob Niles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranged: Steve Pilkington (2002) 
7.
Splendid Jewel by Stephen Paulus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003; USA 
8.
Lo Yisa Goy by Stacy Garrop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007 
9.
Who is the baby? by Rosephanye Powell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005 
10.
The Christ-child's Lullaby by Gwyneth van Anden Walker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990 
11.
O come, O come Emmanuel by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; France 
Notes: Arranged: Jerry J. Troxell(1981) 
12.
Noël nouvelet by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Written: France 
Notes: Arranged: Ian Humphris (1986) 
13.
Prayer of the Venerable Bede by Richard Proux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982 
14.
Hodie by Carol Barnett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 
15.
Isaiah prophesied and said 'Unto us a child is born' by Enrico Oweggi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1996; Kenya 
Notes: "Nyathi onyuol" 
16.
Aleih Neiri by Chaiim Parchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Notes: Arranged: Joshua Jacobson (1990) 
17.
Jingle a cappella by James Clemens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003 
18.
O Lux Beatissima by Howard Helvey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago A Cappella
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2004 

Sound Samples

Amuworo ayi otu nwa
What Sweeter Music
Il est ne le divin enfant (arr. R. Daveluy): Il est ne le divin enfant
The Huron Carol
I Wonder as I Wander (arr. for mixed choir)
Splendid Jewel
Lo Yisa Goy
Who is the baby?
Christ-child's Lullaby
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Veni, veni, Emmanuel)
Noel nouvelet
Prayer of the Venerable Bede
En stjerne er sat
Hodie
Nyathi Onyuol
Aleih Neiri (arr. for mixed choir)
Jingle a cappella (arr. for mixed choir)
O Lux Beatissima

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