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Christmas with Chanticleer Featuring Dawn Upshaw
     

Christmas with Chanticleer Featuring Dawn Upshaw

4.0 1
by Chanticleer
 
The versatile all-male vocal group Chanticleer broadens its ranks to include guest soprano Dawn Upshaw on this lovely holiday album, a follow-up to the ensemble's Sing We Christmas. There are some old favorites here, notably "The First Nowell" and "Silent Night," but as always, these enterprising singers

Overview

The versatile all-male vocal group Chanticleer broadens its ranks to include guest soprano Dawn Upshaw on this lovely holiday album, a follow-up to the ensemble's Sing We Christmas. There are some old favorites here, notably "The First Nowell" and "Silent Night," but as always, these enterprising singers present a wealth of less familiar music as well -- some old, some new, all of it beautiful and radiantly sung. Many national traditions are represented, from an English folk carol arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams to a traditional Spanish carol, and from a Native American melody to African-American spirituals. Two short pieces by mystical composer John Tavener draw from the Russian Orthodox tradition, and a strikingly imaginative setting of "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" (Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming) by Hugo Distler is another highlight. Upshaw adds characterful solo contributions to five selections, matching Chanticleer's appealing vocal purity and skill at embracing a wide variety of styles. Conveying both the spiritual mysteries and the joy of Christmas, this album is sure to provide listeners with much holiday delight for years to come.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Allen Schrott
Christmas with Chanticleer is an offshoot of the group's popular "A Chanticleer Christmas" concerts. Like those programs, it features a blend of familiar carols and more adventurous selections, all arranged to suit the ensemble's distinctive sound and talents. The formula works very well: combining traditional arrangements like "The First Nowell" with updated takes on other classics, and throwing in a few contemporary compositions for good measure, keeps the program feeling both familiar and fresh at the same time. Soprano Dawn Upshaw makes winning guest appearances on five tracks, including the high-spirited "Spanish Carol," in which the ensemble impersonates the sound of a Spanish dance band. Aside from their willingness to embrace a wide variety of styles, Chanticleer's biggest strength is the clarity and precision of their ensemble. Their gentle background to Upshaw's solo in Ralph Vaughan Williams' setting of "This is the truth sent from above" is haunting, and the thorny, often dissonant, textures of Hugo Distler's "Es ist ein Rosentsprungen" and Jonathan Rathbone's "Coventry Carol" sound marvelous when delivered with such crystalline purity. They do a good job capturing the old-timey feel of "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," even if the stylized dialect they adopt for it makes it sound more like caricature than homage. Joseph Jennings' "Mary and the Baby Medley" is an appealing piece of arranging, culminating in the gospel-inflected "Jerusalem in the Morning," which makes the most of the group's abundant high falsetto voices. If there is a weakness to the record, it's that moments of solo singing from group members often lack character and vocal charisma -- something that the group as a whole has in spades. But if you're tired of perfunctory "X sings Christmas" albums, and want something more imaginative for your Yuletide listening, Christmas with Chanticleer is just the ticket.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/16/2001
Label:
Teldec
UPC:
0685738555529
catalogNumber:
85555

Tracks

  1. This is the truth sent from above
  2. A Christmas Round, for chorus
  3. Today the Virgin, for chorus
  4. Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen
  5. Noel nouvelet
  6. A Lullaby (to the tune of Kirkpatick's Away in a Manger)
  7. The First Nowell (English)
  8. The Three Kings
  9. Die Stimme des Kindes, for 8 part men's chorus
  10. Suo Gân (Lullaby)
  11. Esta Noche Nace Un Niño (Spanish)
  12. Coventry Carol (2) Lully, Lulla Thou Little
  13. Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, revivalist hymn
  14. The Huron Indian Carol ("'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime"), carol (Quebecois)
  15. Mary and the Baby Medley
  16. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night)

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Tavener, Jennings, Distler and others 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very pleased with the quality of this recording. The clarity of the singing and the fact that the instrumental music stays in the background show this was a carefully recorded CD. That being said, you need to be a fan of Chanticleer style music to really enjoy this CD. As I prefer more traditional music, this CD was difficult for me to listen to. I give this CD five stars for quality of recording but four stars simply because of music preference.