As we welcome the holiday season we also say hello to a new batch of seasonal recordings. Here are some interesting selections for your consideration.
Kochi is a recording of Jewish music using instruments from India. While that may seem odd at the outset, the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir has a valid reason for this. Kochi, India, was once a Jewish community of over 5,000 located in the port of Kerala, India. The Jewish people settled there around 562 B.C. Ruth Weber directs the group in this collection of Indian-flavored songs.
Ragnar Bohlin has been director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus since 2007. He founded the chamber choir Cappella SF last year. The group’s first release is a pleasing variety of Christmas selections that range from Praetorius and Bach to the Swingle Singers. The CD includes arrangements from this millennium by Bohlin and Eric Whitacre.
Pianist Stewart Goodyear loves The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. So much so, that Goodyear arranged the whole ballet for piano solo. On one CD, the recording time is over 82 minutes in length. Goodyear visited Louisville in 2008 Stewart Goodyear as a visiting artist with support from the Gheens Great Expectations Project.
The Crouch End Festival Chorus is a large choir based in Crouch End, a northern suburb of London. The group was founded in the 1980’s. It recently teamed up with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra for a 2-CD set called The Greatest Christmas Choral Classics. The sound is huge in the manner of the old Eugene Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra Christmas recordings. While the collection concentrates on the true classics, it also includes newer seasonal favorites like All I Want For Christmas is You, Walking in the Air and Happy Xmas (War is Over).
December Celebration is a collection of new carols by seven American composers including Mark Adamo and Jake Heggie, who wrote operas performed by Kentucky Opera. The CD includes the first recording of Heggie’s On the Road to Christmas.