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Customer Reviews for: Christmas With The Robert Shaw Chorale

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 Robert shaw chorale Christmas music  February 11, 2014
By R. Rodriguez (Garden Grove, CA) -- See All My Reviews
I received my purchase very quickly without delays. I was notified by email of its arrival date. The actual music was perfect and it reminded me of my childhood during Christmas time. My mother played Robert Shaw all over the house. Report Abuse

 Impeccable vocal singing expressing the finest de December 5, 2012
By Alexandra C. (Edgewater, MD) -- See All My Reviews
The musical expression, perfect tempos and nuances in this superior vocal album make it the epitome of vocal art in the Christmas genre. Never have I heard such a "tight" vocal ensemble, performing in superb teamwork and led by the great vocal conductor, Robert Shaw. I've been to hundreds of concerts, been a professional musician, and simply would not be able to enjoy Christmas without this particular traditional collection of carols with this fabulous performance. Report Abuse

 The Story Behind This Reissue December 19, 2011
By Mark Stenroos (Aliso Viejo, CA) -- See All My Reviews
As the person responsible for this 1994 BMG CD reissue, let me take this opportunity to provide some background on how this CD reissue came to be: 1. The CD set was first issued in 1994 through the BMG Classical Music Service, which is the record club division of what was at the time BMG Direct Marketing, a division of Bertlesmann Music Group. The CDs were mastered directly from the master tapes. Some of the tracks were mastered from various working parts rather than the final master if those working parts were in better shape than the final master AND if they contained the same mastering. Every effort was made to present the very best source material available, and as we had access to everything that came out of the Xmas carol recording sessions, our job was made all the easier when it came to using the very best sources. In the case of the Britten LP, there were no working parts. They had either gone missing or had been destroyed. There were two complete masters. One master had (obviously to us at the time once we listened to it) been used as the source for earlier LP issues, and it was a bit worse for wear. The other master was pristine. Our CD transfer was mastered off this pristine master. Unfortunately, there were a few spots of tape saturation on both masters that we could not improve without employing noise reduction technologies that we felt would be intrusive (this was 1994, after all, when noise reduction technologies were fairly primitive compared to what they are today). We felt that collectors who knew these recordings would appreciate our not adding insult to injury by further compromising what were - at best - questionable calls made by the team that produced the original master back in 1963. While various tracks from Xmas Carols Volume I have appeared on various RCA CDs over the years, this CD set represents the one and only time the Britten selections have been made available on CD. And, this is the only CD issue that includes the entirety of Volume I PLUS the never-before-released-on CD Volume II. 2. Sequencing of the tracks for CD: CD 1 contains the entirety of the stereo Vol 1, followed by the Britten Ceremony of Carols and the Festival Te Deum. The other piece on the Britten LP - Rejoice in the Lamb - begins CD 2. The order of these tracks on the original RCA LP had Ceremony of Carols occupying Side A, with Rejoice in the Lamb starting Side B and with Festival Te Deum as the final track on Side B. We had to change the order of the LP Side B selections to fit all of the music on 2 well-packed CDs. This reordering - which involved nothing beyond flipping the LP order for Rejoice in the Lamb and Festival Te Deum - was the only concession made to changing track order, or of splitting one of the original LPs between the two CDs. CD 2 of this set begins with Rejoice in the Lamb, followed by Christmas Hymns & Carols Vol 2 in its uninterrupted entirety. We felt that it was a good idea to place the Britten recordings between the two Xmas Carol albums, as the Britten works employ instrumental accompaniment (harp in the Ceremony of Carols, organ in the others) while the carol albums are sung entirely a cappella. Having the instrumentally accompanied LP in between the a cappella LPs gives the ear a change of pace from what could have been 100+ minutes of a cappella singing had we sequenced the CDs differently. With a total timing of 147 minutes for the 3 LPs, it's obvious that more than one CD was needed to contain all of the tracks. All things considered, I think we made a pretty good decision about where to split the selections between the two CDs. 3. The very early mono "Christmas Hymns and Carols" (that Shaw discusses in the interview found in the CD booklet that accompanies this reissue) was not included in this set due to marketing and licensing considerations. That recording had already been issued on an RCA Camden CD in its entirety and was being heavily marketed by the BMG Special Products group. As the CD was widely available at a very cheap price, and as BSP did not want competition from a sister company selling a recording they had already issued, the decision was made to not include these very early recordings in the BMG Club issue. There's also the fact that many of carols would have been duplicated had all three volumes appeared in the set under discussion, albeit in different arrangements. 4. CD booklet/liner notes. The CD set includes all of the original liner notes from the 3 LPs, which were penned by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw. Also included are the sung texts for all of the 70-odd tracks that make up the two CDs. I would note that while texts were included as a song sheet inside the original LP jacket of the Britten LP, no texts had ever been included with any of the various 78 and LP issues of the two Xmas carol albums, so music lovers who purchase this 2-CD are getting something of a bonus compared to what was NOT included in the LP issues. The CD booklet also contains detailed information from the original recording sessions, including Matrix numbers, recording dates and venues and a complete listing of the performers involved in the recording sessions. This information was gleaned from the meticulous records kept at the BMG archives, and is presented to the general public for the first time ever via this CD reissue. It's heartening to realize that this 2-CD set has remained in print for 17 unbroken years since it was first issued in 1994, chiefly through the admirable work done by ArkivMusic and their valuable reissue series. How many other CDs have enjoyed such a long shelf life?! Thanks to ArkivMusic for making this wonderful set available on a continuing basis. Now, go we all a-caroling! Report Abuse

 The Christmas of my youth comes alive again! December 8, 2011
By John Plant (Head of Jeddore, Nova Scotia) -- See All My Reviews
The two Robert Shaw Chorale volumes of 'Christmas Hymns and Carols' was an integral part of the season in my youth. These superb a capella performances have not aged a bit; the arrangements are brilliant, with just the right degree of contrapuntal intricacy, never obtrusive and always true to the spirit of the music. And the solo performances by Florence Kopleff, Russell Oberlin and others are deeply moving. A group of Spanish and Catalan carols is particularly gripping: La virgen lava pañales, Fum fum fum, Hacia Belén, and the haunting Carol of the Birds - no subsequent version has ever been able to match them. I recently paid a small fortune for scratchy copies of these LPs on line! - and was delighted to rediscover them. How wonderful that they're now available on CD - they will certainly enhance your Christmas. The three Britten items are a valuable plus, but the carols are irreplaceable and unique. Report Abuse

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