Monday, December 6, 2010
Just Opened: The Holiday Edition 2010
"Bryn Terfel: Carols & Christmas Songs" - Bryn Terfel, baritone; Cordydd; Nidus Children's Choir; Only Men Aloud; Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera; Tecwyn Evans, conductor. The Welsh baritone tucks into the joy of the Holiday seasons with a collection of favorites, newly-recorded. Includes a duet with Rolando Villazon (Ariel Ramirez' El Nasciemento); with Bing Crosby (!) on "White Christmas," and harpist Catrin Finch on some others. A special bonus disc features several songs from disc one, sung in Welsh, plus three Welsh carols, with soprano Gwarw Edwards, the vocal groups Cordydd and Only Men Aloud. (Deutsche Grammophon 028947787686 / B0014914-72)
"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" - Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Orchestra at Temple Square; Mack Wilberg, conductor. An annual Holiday favorite is Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, each year with a different guest artist. This past Christmas it was singer Natalie Cole, who sings 6 of the 14 selections here. Available on both CD and DVD from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's own website - www.mormontabernaclechoir.org. (Mormon Tabernacle Choir 0783027018127 / SKU 5042001)
"Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker" - Berlin Philharmonic; Simon Rattle, conductor. This new recording of a Holiday classic comes in three new editions: the standard two-CD edition with links to video content on the web; the Experience/Deluxe Edition, which is a two-disc set with a limited-edition hardcover book detailing the history and context of the work, along with exclusive video material; and finally the "Discovery" Edition, which features excerpts from the work and the boys' choir Libera in "Waltz of the Snowflakes." (EMI Classics 5099964638522 / 6 46385 2)
"Joy in the Morning: Ex Cathedra at Christmas" - Ex Cathedra; Jeffrey Skidmore, conductor. Ex Cathedra's annual series of "Christmas Music by Candlelight" concerts is a hot ticket item in Birmingham, with three of eight performances out of town - all in churches lit only by candlelight, the songs and carols interspersed with readings. The carols recorded here are a mix of old and new. (Orchid Classics 5060189560080 / ORC 100008)
"Juan Diego Florez: Santo - Sacred Songs" - Juan Diego Florez, tenor; Orchestra and Chorus of the Community Theater of Bologna; Michele Mariotti, conductor. Florez' latest disc comes just in time for Christmas - his own selection of sacred songs and arias many appropriate to the season. Includes Panis Angelicus, O Holy Night, Schubert's Ave Maria, and Adeste Fidelis. Selections from Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle and Misa di Gloria; from Haydn's Creation, Bellini's Mass in a minor, and Ariel Ramirez' Missa Criolla. "Comfort Ye/Every Valley" from Handel's Messiah, and Juan Diego's own composition, which gives the CD its title. (Decca 028947822547 / B0014875-02)
"Sing We Now of Christmas" - Taylor Festival Choir and Players; Robert Taylor, conductor. A fresh approach to Christmas favorites, reflecting this Charleston, South Carolina-based ensemble's approach to both classical and celtic music. In the liner notes, conductor Taylor credits inspiration from Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst, Yo-Yo Ma and the Baltimore Consort, Ensemble Galilei, and his own father and the ensemble's founder, Bob Taylor. (MSR Classics 681585129227 / MS 1292)
We've quite a selection of new Christmas CDs this year - listen for more this Friday afternoon on the next "Just Opened." Thanks this week to MSR Classics, Paraclete Press, Universal Classics, Rebecca Davis PR, EMI Classics, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Naxos. I'll be playing more from these discs on air in the days leading up to Christmas.
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