New Recordings Welcome the Holidays


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.

Holiday Program Schedule

December 8th at 6:01pm, 9th at 2:01pm, 10th-14th at 5:01pm, 15th at 6:01pm
The Eight Nights of Chanukah: In a series of radio vignettes called The Eight Nights of Chanukah, WQXR’s Naomi Lewin tells the stories, and talks about the customs of the holiday, including the Chanukah miracle, lighting the menorah, traditional foods, and why Chanukah is so hard to spell.

December 10th
Chanukah Ear Candy: A celebratory hour of music hosted by Cantor David Lipp, and featuring composers Samuel Adler, Joshua Lind and Michael Isaacson, and violinist Itzhak Perlman.

December 13th
Chanukah Blessings: A meditative hour of blessings and liturgy associated with the Festival of Lights, as sung and composed by various artists and communities of Jewish people. Hosted by Cantor David Lipp.

December 19
Noon Lunchtime Classics with Michael Medley, piano: Louisville composer, Michael Medley performs his original arrangements of Holiday classics from his CDs “We Three…” and the newly recorded “We Four…”. “This is quintessential Christmas afternoon music, after the rubbish has been cleared, the fruit cake stored, and the special Cabernet uncorked by the fire. Grinches can save it for the next 17 inch snowfall. Medley’s unpredictable rhythm grabs your attention, and he renders individual notes that stir you like the best of singers” – John Yarmuth, Leo Magazine

December 24th

10am A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols: Hosted by Michael Barone, this is a live stereo music and spoken-word broadcast from the chapel of King’s College in Cambridge, England. The 30-voice King’s College Choir performs the legendary Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service of Biblical readings and music. Download the festival booklet here.

1pm Messiah from Trinity Church: G.F. Handel’s monumental oratorio performed in its entirety by The Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Julian Wachner, and hosted by WQXR’s David Garland and noted choral conductor, Kent Tritle. The concert was recorded live at Trinity Church in December of 2011. The program also features a portrait of the church and surrounding lower Manhattan community in December of 2001, just two months after the September 11th attacks.

6pm Classical 90.5 2012 Holiday Choral Festival: The broadcast of our 8th annual concert, this year featuring Louisville Vocal Project, the University of Louisville Cardinal Singers and organist Philip Brisson. View the program notes here.

8pm St. Olaf Christmas Festival: A service in song and word that has become one of the nation’s most cherished holiday celebrations. Tickets to the event, which takes place at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, are always gone months in advance. The festival includes hymns, carols, choral works, and orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity and featuring more than 500 student musicians who are members of five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra.

December 25th

10am Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs: One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges — two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation — get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This encore presentation features the best works of the last several years. It’s a joyous celebration of the schools’ tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.

Noon St. Olaf Christmas Festival (rebroadcast)

2pm Classical 90.5 2012 Holiday Choral Festival View the program notes here.(rebroadcast)

4pm A Choral Christmas with Stile Antico: Celebrate Christmas with the sound of soaring voices. Stile Antico, the award-winning choir from London, pays a visit to St. Paul’s Church on Harvard Square for a concert of radiant sacred music for the Christmas season by the most acclaimed composers of the renaissance. Hear the group’s luminous blend of voices sing the intricately woven music of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Hosted by Cathy Fuller of WGBH.

6pm A Chanticleer Christmas: A one-hour celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the 12-voice San Francisco-based men’s choir. The program spans the globe and the centuries — from England in the 1300s to new arrangements of classic and contemporary carols.

8pm A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (rebroadcast)

January 1

11am New Year’s Day from Vienna 2013: The Vienna Philharmonic presents its ever popular annual New Year’s Day concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. You’ll hear your favorite waltzes, polkas and more — a festive way to start off the New Year. Presented by NPR Music and WGBH, Boston.