Notes and Editorial Reviews
Once you've heard this remarkable male vocal group there's no way to avoid looking forward to its next recording. This latest release is a celebration of the intimate connection between music and Christmas throughout the world, regardless of different customs and languages. In this case the focus is on Europe, but the point is that no other celebration is so closely associated with such an abundant repertoire of songs, many of which are shared and often adapted to suit a particular culture or tradition. As usual, the six singers (plus a couple of "guests" on several tracks) perform first-rate arrangements (especially those by ensemble member Ludwig Thomas) of hymns and carols, including "Adeste fideles", "Es ist ein
Ros entsprungen", "Quelle est cette odeur agréable", and "Stille Nacht". Along the way we hear other songs (many less-familiar) from Norway, Italy, England, the Netherlands, and Catalonia.
There is nothing to give but praise for the singing, so perfectly balanced, the voices ideally matched, the expression so vibrant and compelling. My only complaints are the somewhat awkward attempt at the English carol "Mary's Boychild" (which I always thought was an American spiritual) and the addition of a harp, both in solo and accompanying roles, on several tracks. Since this group's exceptional a cappella sound and technique is the main reason we enjoy their performances, the harp is an unnecessary intrusion and distraction--not to take anything away from the fact that Irmgard Gorzawski's playing is nothing less than excellent.
In sum, this is another irresistible Die Singphoniker release, perfect for the holiday season--and while you're at it, don't forget to pick up copies of the group's other CDs as well. And by the way, in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, there's a little "surprise" at the disc's end. [11/30/2005]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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