Christmas Cornucopia

A Christmas Cornucopia

3.3 13
by Annie Lennox
     
 

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Most artists treat Christmas albums as toss-offs; something to get into the marketplace and have on the shelf when punters come in and snap up the holiday offerings. There is usually little forethought, production and arrangements are entrusted to studio stalwarts who paint by numbers. Annie Lennox doesn't fit this mold remotely. She considered a Christmas

Overview

Most artists treat Christmas albums as toss-offs; something to get into the marketplace and have on the shelf when punters come in and snap up the holiday offerings. There is usually little forethought, production and arrangements are entrusted to studio stalwarts who paint by numbers. Annie Lennox doesn't fit this mold remotely. She considered a Christmas Cornucopia with all the intuitive care and devotion her other studio albums reflect. Lennox spent much of her youth singing in choirs, and that is reflected in both the song selection (all but one of these she sang as a child in choir) and arrangements. Working once more with producer Mike Stevens (who also helmed the sessions for her last offering, 2007's Songs of Mass Destruction), Lennox recorded many of the choral vocals herself by overdubbing. The pair did employ a 30-piece orchestra; they also recorded the African Children's Choir who are prominently featured throughout, especially on "The Holly and the Ivy" and the French carol "Il Est de le Divin Enfant." Textures and atmospheres are the name of the game in these interpretations, and they're employed in unusual ways: note the Middle Eastern rhythms and modalities on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" that collide -- albeit harmoniously -- with Celtic pipe, flute, and accordion sounds. It's a fantastic track, though it does engender a minor complaint: why on earth would a vocalist of Lennox's caliber use Auto-Tune even momentarily? Other standouts here include the majestic "The Holly and the Ivy," the sparse instrumentation on "In the Bleak Midwinter," and the the dramatic darkness in the obscure carol "Lullay Lullay" that tells the Christian story of King Herod's infanticide in trying to eliminate the threat posed by the Christ child. "Silent Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem" are given wonderful arrangements and sung with a sincerity approaching absolute devotion, especially with the African Children's Choir underscoring Lennox's voice. The lone original here, "Universal Child," is the lead single (proceeds are being donated to the Annie Lennox Foundation); it's a beautifully written and arranged pop song, delivered soulfully and enigmatically; it is worth the price of the album itself. A Christmas Cornucopia is a real contender for best Christmas album of 2010.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/16/2010
Label:
Decca U.S.
UPC:
0602527533094
catalogNumber:
001499202
Rank:
281131

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Annie Lennox   Primary Artist,Dulcimer,Flute,Percussion,Piano,Accordion,Harmonium,Keyboards,Marimbas,Triangle,Vocals,Vibes,Santur,Pipe organ,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer,Whisper,Reed Organ,Vocal Percussion,African Drums,African Percussion,Pan Pipes
Dave Robbins   Conductor
Mark Stevens   Percussion,African Drums
Mike Stevens   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Strings,Glockenspiel,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Oud,Drones,Music Box,Guitar (Nylon String)
Rod Dunk   Conductor
Barry Van Zyl   Percussion,African Drums
Tim Warburton   Leader

Technical Credits

Annie Lennox   Arranger,Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,Orchestral Arrangements,Whistle
Matt Allison   Engineer
Mark Stevens   Engineer
Mike Stevens   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,Orchestral Arrangements
Traditional   Composer
Marcus Byrne   Engineer

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A Christmas Cornucopia 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Clicquet More than 1 year ago
A LONG TIME AGO ON A SHOW W/ARSENIO HALL,ANNIE LENNOX AND DAVE STEWART SAT ON THE FLOOR AND SANG. THE SONG BEGAN A CAPELLA WITH MISS LENNOX SINGING AS PURE AS SHE STILL DOES TODAY. THE SONG? 'WOULD YOU LIE TO ME?'IT BROUGHT THE AUDIENCE EN MASSE TO THEIR FEET AND MR. HALL WAS SPEECHLESS. THE EURYTHMICS ARE DISBANDED NOW. THO' ANNIE LENNOX STILL IS A BRIGHT SHINING STAR IN A WORLD THAT DOES NOT ALWAYS BELIEVE IN HOPE. HER PERFORMANCE OF 'UNIVERSAL CHILD' LAST NIGHT ON "DANCING WITH THE STARS",WAS AS GREAT AS SHE HAS EVER BEEN. A GIFT TRULY. DON'T ASK,BUY THIS CD AND BE AMAZED AND BELIEVE THERE IS HOPE FOR THIS WORLD. IT BEGINS IN EACH ONE OF US.
MarknAmy More than 1 year ago
One listen and it was clear - I will look forward to this album every holiday season. In fact, I can see this being as much a part of my Christmas as the tree and the packages and ... even snow. There's not a single song that isn't majestic in its delivery. Annie Lennox has made a masterpiece with this. A Christmas Cornucopia is reverent, beautiful and joyful.
KLGreene More than 1 year ago
For anyone looking for something different in Christmas music, this album delivers. Annie Lennox' hauntingly beautiful voice never disappoints. Filled with renditions of more traditional English Christmas music - "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "The Holly and the Ivy", etc., along with her version of "In the Bleak Mid Winter" which takes my breath away each time I hear it. The final track, a new original song called "Universal Child" is a knockout as well! This album suits Annie Lennox perfectly - her sound is so unique, and it's a treat NOT to have a Christmas CD that's chock-full of sappy American standards like "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Sleigh Ride".
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I hear is Annie belting out carols. Where's the edge? Where's her unique twist applied to the songs?