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The Christmas Album / Sumi Jo


Release Date: 09/18/2001 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 385819   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartJohn Jacob NilesJohann Sebastian BachAlessandro Scarlatti,   ... 
Performer:  Sumi JoGottfried BachHiro Kurosaki
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella ColoniensisCologne Vocal Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although I can't profess to be a fan of Sumi Jo's voice--it's her slightly-too-quivery vibrato and frequent habit of "sneaking" into the beginnings of notes rather than just landing squarely on them (for a good example, listen to her rendition of the Scarlatti aria "L'autor d'ogni mio bene") --I do very much like her expressive range and how effectively she conveys the sense of what she's singing--the whole point, isn't it? In other words, she's not just another pretty voice but one who also understands the communicative aspects of performing a song. As for the disc in question, it's certainly not the usual Christmas program sung by a big star soloist--in fact, she's not even the only featured performer as the orchestra Read more and choir get their own turns to shine. The very fine VokalEnsemble Köln contributes chorales by Bach and Crüger, Praetorius' beloved "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen", and Samuel Scheidt's setting of "O Jesulein süss". The orchestra offers a movement from Mozart's Symphony No. 19 K. 132 (which apparently contains a thematic reference to the carol "Joseph lieber Joseph mein") and one of Vivaldi's "Christmas" violin concertos (marked "Il riposo-per il S. Natale").

Sumi Jo's contribution is equally eclectic in terms of repertoire, and also features accompaniments that range from none (her opening, somewhat tentative a cappella "I wonder as I wander") to fortepiano (her heartfelt rendition of "O Holy Night") to orchestra (cantatas by Scarlatti and Christoph Bernhard; Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate). "Silent Night" gets two treatments--one, for soprano, alto, choir, and orchestra, is performed in the original German with a decided ländler flavor; the other, which is the disc's concluding track, shows Jo in her sweetest, most tender voice, singing in English, accompanied by violin and fortepiano.

At nearly 75 minutes, the timing certainly is generous even if in purely musical terms the programming lacks cohesion (and the Bernhard cantata lacks quality). Unfortunately, the stated thematic concept--the manger scene in Bethlehem--isn't enough to hold the widely varied works (songs, cantatas, carols, hymns, chorales, and instrumental pieces--including a symphony movement!) together. Sumi Jo fans will enjoy this just for the lovely sound of her singing; the familiarity of the Christmas selections and the discovery of some unknown items will appeal to others. The well-balanced studio recording gives full rein to Jo's voice and to the vibrant timbres of the accompanying "period" orchestra and solo instruments.

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

1.
Exsultate jubilate, K 165 (158a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sumi Jo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Coloniensis
Period: Classical 
Written: 1773; Milan, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 14 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2.
I wonder as I wander by John Jacob Niles
Performer:  Sumi Jo (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Andrew Carter 
3.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: no 59, Ich steh an deiner krippen hier by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Vocal Ensemble,  Cappella Coloniensis
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: German 
4.
Oh di Betlemme altera povertà "Cantata pastorale" by Alessandro Scarlatti
Performer:  Sumi Jo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Coloniensis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 18 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5.
Fröhlich soll mein Herze springen by Johannes Crüger
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Vocal Ensemble,  Cappella Coloniensis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: German 
6.
Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam
Performer:  Sumi Jo (Soprano), Gottfried Bach (Fortepiano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: English 
7.
Fürchtet euch nicht by Christoph Bernhard
Performer:  Sumi Jo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Coloniensis
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 9 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: German 
8.
Symphony no 19 in E flat major, K 132: 2nd movement, Andante by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Coloniensis
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
9.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Performer:  Gottfried Bach (Fortepiano), Hiro Kurosaki (Violin), Sumi Jo (Soprano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: English 
10.
Concerto for Violin in E major, RV 270 "Il Riposo-Per il Natale" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Hiro Kurosaki (Violin)
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Coloniensis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 6 Minutes 51 Secs. 
11.
O Jesulein süss, o Jesulein mild by Samuel Scheidt
Performer:  Gottfried Bach (Organ)
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Vocal Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1650; Halle, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: German 
12.
Musae Sioniae: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen by Michael Praetorius
Performer:  Gottfried Bach (Organ)
Conductor:  Michael Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Vocal Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1609; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Stofbergerstrasse Studio, Cologne 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: German 

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