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Imagine a wintry day in the Christmas season. Inside a pub, Irish and Scottish traditional musicians regale locals and travelers alike with their playing. In wander carolers, seeking shelter from the snow, but hardly in the mood to stop their evening s music-making. Soon, caroling from the choir mixes with the instrumental riffs of the traditional musicians, and the warmth from their collaboration literally chases the cold winter away. This scene is created annually in Charleston, SC in the Taylor Music Group s Celtic Christmas presentations and it is brought into the listener s living room with this recording.
The making of this CD represents years of dreaming with my wife Mary of a Christmas recording that reflects the musical universe we are lucky enough to inhabit every Holiday season. It brings together the worlds of classical and Celtic music in a fashion that may seem to be a dichotomy to some, but is perfectly natural to those of us that live with both art music and folk music on a daily basis. We have drawn inspiration from so many including composer/song collectors Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst; the Baltimore Consort, Ensemble Galilei, and Yo Yo Ma; our friend Steve Rosenberg, and above all, my deceased father Bob Taylor, the namesake for the Taylor Festival Choir. Of course, the instrumentalists on this CD have been heroes for years, many of whom we met originally at the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC, and subsequently brought to Charleston to teach in our annual summer festival. It s hard to express the high that was generated in the recording sessions and even the rehearsals. How lucky is the conductor who has the fortune to stand in front of this wonderful choir while listening to the likes of Liz Carroll and John Doyle improvising on Blarney Pilgrim as part of a newly arranged I Saw Three Ships! This recording expresses our abiding, childlike love for the Christmas season. Here you will find music of spiritual reflection, yearning, and awe; as well as music that expresses the celebratory, exuberant aspects of the season. Several of the songs presented here are arrangements and compositions created especially for the TFC, and, in some cases, specifically for this recording. Sing We Now of Christmas, Patapan and I Saw Three Ships/ Blarney Pilgrim all were especially commissioned and written to take advantage of the versatile, virtuoso playing of Liz Carroll and John Doyle, and offer fresh, Celtic-flavored takes on these familiar tunes. The Irish Wexford Carol combines the operatic baritone of David Templeton with a funky, middleeastern backbeat (provided by medieval percussion virtuoso Danny Mallon), while Coventry Carol evokes the ancient bard (represented by Kim Robertson s mellifluous harp), telling the haunting story of the slaying of the firstborns. Composer/conductor Brian Galante offers a beautiful new setting of Rossetti s In the Bleak Midwinter, while Mrs. Fogarty s Christmas Cake provides a moment of comic relief (think Irish pub sing-a-long) and inspired improvisation (by John and Liz).
This CD contains all my favorite classical Christmas carols from the Renaissance on up. Beautiful 4 part harmonies and choris.Published 21 months ago by Sharon Henning
I heard selections from this disc on Sirius Radio, and wanted to have a copy of my own. Excellent arrangements!Published on December 27, 2012 by R F Burg