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Sacrum Mysterium - A Celtic Christmas Vespers / Sorrell, Apollo's Fire [CD & Bonus DVD]

Sorrell / Apollo's Fire
Release Date: 09/11/2012 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2269  
Composer:  Traditional
Performer:  Meredith HallJesse BlumbergSylvain Bergeron
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La NefApollo's Fire
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Long before Christianity took hold in Scotland and Ireland, the ancient Celts celebrated the Winter Solstice and the coming of light and hope. The echoes of Paganism still resounded in the 13th and 14th centuries, when faithful Scots sang the Vespers of St. Kentigern, Patron Saint of Glasgow.

Jeannette Sorrell's new celebration of Celtic artistic traditions interweaves selections from the medieval Vespers of St. Kentigern with ancient pagan carols and popular tunes from 17th-century Welsh and Scottish manuscripts for lute and harp. Joyous fiddle tunes and Irish dances (complete with foot percussion!) burst forth against the vivid backdrop of the unfolding Christ story. Premiered in six sold-out concerts in Cleveland in 2011,
Read more the program evokes the sacred mysteries of a medieval procession in the opening track, "Oikan ains Bethlehem" (The Babe in Bethlehem). The colorful sounds of antiphonal bagpipes, archlute, harp, percussion, fiddles and recorders are blended in musical arrangements by Sylvain Bergeron and Sorrell. The early-music ensemble La Nef of Montreal joins Apollo's Fire for this international collaboration featuring the radiant Canadian soprano Meredith Hall.

R E V I E W S:

This lovingly prepared collaboration between Apollo’s Fire — led by Jeannette Sorrell; this project is her vision — and La Nef leaves behind any notion that the mixing of the sacred and profane belongs to the (post) modern era; it is a longstanding Celtic tradition. On these discs the Christmas myth is brought to vivid life: vernacular reels, drones, lullabies, and airs stand alongside carols and settings of the Mass proper. The performances (especially by soprano Meredith Hall) are an appropriate cross between the roughhewn and the precise, with intimate, you-were-there sonics to match. — Daniel Felsenfeld

"A grand holiday stew made from deliciously blended sacred and secular ingredients... Sorrell's brainstorm embraces Celtic sources rooted both in church and countryside, with excerpts from a 13th-century service surrounded by hymns, carols, folk tunes and dances... An affecting and exuberant gathering. From utter simplicity to heartfelt passion... Meredith Hall wraps her limpid soprano around every crucial word. As always, Sorrell has paid scrupulous attention to detail in shaping an experience in musical and theatrical terms. Apollo's Fire and La Nef weave elegant international virtuosity into a series of glistening and rambunctious musical fabrics." - The Cleveland Plain Dealer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Oikan ayns Bethlehem by Traditional
Performer:  Meredith Hall (Soprano), Jesse Blumberg (Baritone), Sylvain Bergeron (Archlute)
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Nef,  Apollo's Fire
2.
What child is this? by Traditional
Performer:  Meredith Hall (Soprano), Jesse Blumberg (Baritone), Sylvain Bergeron (Archlute)
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Nef,  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
3.
Duan nollaig by Traditional
Performer:  Jesse Blumberg (Baritone), Meredith Hall (Soprano), Sylvain Bergeron (Archlute)
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Nef,  Apollo's Fire
Period: Classical 
Written: Scotland 
4.
Wat ye what I got late yestreen by Traditional
Performer:  Jesse Blumberg (Baritone), Meredith Hall (Soprano), Sylvain Bergeron (Archlute)
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Nef,  Apollo's Fire
Period: Classical 
Written: 1715; Scotland 
5.
Usheg Veg Ruy by Traditional
Performer:  Jesse Blumberg (Baritone), Meredith Hall (Soprano), Sylvain Bergeron (Archlute)
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Nef,  Apollo's Fire
6.
Christmas Eve by Traditional
Performer:  Jesse Blumberg (Baritone), Meredith Hall (Soprano), Sylvain Bergeron (Archlute)
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Nef,  Apollo's Fire
7.
Taladh Chriosta by Traditional
Performer:  Jesse Blumberg (Baritone), Meredith Hall (Soprano), Sylvain Bergeron (Archlute)
Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Nef,  Apollo's Fire

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Might be the most beautiful Christmas album I've  December 23, 2012 By P. Clappier (Watkins Glen, NY) See All My Reviews "I have xm radio and have been listening to Robert Aubrey Davis for the past few years. Lately he has played Apollo's Fire so I got curious to learn more, hear more. I searched and found this just in time for Christmas. Fills my home with warmth and beauty. I would highly recommend this for purchase." Report Abuse
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