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The Christmas Story / Hillier, Theatre Of Voices, Ars Nova Copenhagen

Theatre Of Voices / Hillier
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 807565   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  AnonymousBiasio TomasiTraditionalAlessandro Grandi,   ... 
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of VoicesArs Nova Copenhagen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

No matter which group he's conducting (Ars Nova Copenhagen, Theatre of Voices, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, National Chamber Choir of Ireland), or what kind of program he's creating, Paul Hillier always presents something unique, the musical selections invariably containing some surprises, the projects always creative and purposeful. Here he takes inspiration from the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols, ingeniously substituting the usual scripture readings with 17th-century Italian "dialogues" that tell the Christmas story, but sung instead of read.

Yes, the idea is ingenious, and certainly "different"; but not only is this type of highly stylized, emotive, florid singing, embodied in
Read more these excerpts from Tomasi, Grandi, and Anerio, respectively extending from five to more than seven minutes, more than a little tedious when removed from its designed live-performance conception, but language also is a problem as the impact of these readings depends on knowing their meaning. As much as Hillier debated over the language issue for the "readings" (the reason he didn't just go with Danish or Norwegian), the insertion of these dialogues neither solves the interpretive issues nor offers anything of particularly high musical value (Andrew Lloyd Webber versus Lerner & Lowe; John Tavener versus John Taverner).

That aside, the rest of the program returns considerable rewards both in the exceptional quality of the ensemble singing and in the interesting repertoire, from Howard Skempton's haunting Adam lay y-bounden (choir directors take note) and William Byrd's O magnum mysterium, to Niels Gade's Barn Jesus i en krybbe lå (The baby Jesus lay in a manger) and the eight arrangements by Hillier himself--from Es ist ein Ros to We wish you a merry Christmas. For engaging programming and first-rate performances Hillier's Carols from the Old and New Worlds with Theatre of Voices from 1994 (HM) remains a top choice--but there's something for everyone here, especially listeners looking for a fundamentally traditional Christmas program that nevertheless dares to venture slightly off the well-trod path. Strongly recommended.

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

1.
Vox in Rama audita est by Anonymous
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Medieval 
2.
Videntes stellam by Anonymous
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Medieval 
3.
Rorate caeli desuper by Anonymous
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Medieval 
Written: Scotland 
4.
Dum deambularet Dominus in Paradisum by Biasio Tomasi
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
5.
Adam lay ybounden by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
6.
Puer natus est by Anonymous
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
7.
Missus est Gabriel by Alessandro Grandi
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
8.
In dulci jubilo by Robert Lucas Pearsall
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
9.
Veni, veni, Emmanuel by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Romantic 
10.
Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
11.
Gradualia, Volume 2: O magnum misterium by William Byrd
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1607; England 
12.
Voi ch'ai notturni rai by Giovanni F. Anerio
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
13.
We three kings by John Henry Hopkins Jr.
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
14.
Maria wallt zum heiligtum by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
15.
Übers Gebirg Maria geht by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
16.
Barn Jesus i en krybbe lå by Niels Gade
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
17.
We wish you a merry Christmas by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Written: England 
18.
The Holly and the Ivy by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Written: England 
19.
Personent hodie by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Written: 14th Cent 
20.
Dormi, dormi bambin by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Written: Italy 
21.
Herodes iratus occidit multos pueros by Anonymous
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Period: Medieval 
22.
Liebe Hirten by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
23.
Andachtsjodler by Traditional
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices,  Ars Nova Copenhagen
Written: Germany 

Featured Sound Samples

Adam lay ybounden (Traditional)
O magnum mysterium (Byrd)
Barn Jesus i en krybbe lå (Gade)

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