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.
Musical Gifts: Joshua Bell and Friends – December 23rd at 9pm
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – December 24th at 10am and 8pm
Holiday Choral Festival 2013 – December 24th at noon
A Chanticleer Christmas – December 24th at 2pm
An Anonymous 4 Christmas – December 24th at 4pm
Welcome Christmas! – December 25th at 9am
Holiday Choral Festival 2014 – December 25th at noon
St. Olaf Christmas Festival – December 25th at 2pm
And Glory Shone Around: An Early-American Christmas with the Rose Ensemble – December 25th at 8pm
Light and Gold: The Music of Eric Whitacre – December 25th at 10pm
New Year’s Day from Vienna – January 1st at 11am
Bourbon Baroque, together with the Youth Performing Arts School Chamber Choir, perform Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Messe de minuit pour noël and the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. Soloists include: Emily Albrink Katz, soprano; Audrey Walstrom, mezzo-soprano; Steven Paul Spears, tenor; Jim Rittenhouse, baritone. View the program booklet here. Listen on Tuesday at 1pm.
Hosted by WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon, this program features arrangements of music by Vince Guaraldi and Luther Henderson as well as traditional favorites from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman” and more – timeless classics infused with jazz and lush harmonies. The selections on this program are featured on the quintet’s latest album, “Christmas Time is Here.” Listen on Monday at 9pm. (Photo credit Bo Huang)
Soprano Renee Fleming has been a beloved figure on the operatic stage for years. So it’s curious that Ms. Fleming has waited so long to release her first-ever Christmas album entitledChristmas in New York.
The recording features many guest appearances by New York-based musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti, Rufus Wainwright and Gregory Porter. The album contains only two sacred works – In the Bleak Midwinter and Still, Still, Still. The rest of the songs are traditional lighter fair such as Winter Wonderland, Merry Christmas Darling and Central Park Serenade.
Christmas in New York is one of many new releases Classical 90.5 will feature in the days to come during the holiday season.