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Songs of Angels - Christmas Hymns and Carols

85 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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$8.64 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 19 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Songs of Angels - Christmas Hymns and Carols + A Festival of Carols / Robert Shaw Chorale & Orchestra + A Robert Shaw Christmas: Angels on High
Price for all three: $28.94

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Editorial Reviews


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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Performer: Robert Shaw, Robert Shaw Chamber Singers
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003D0G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,204 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophile on October 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Growing up in the sixties, I remember Christmas as a time when the family came together and ate, laughed, enjoyed the spirituality of the holiday, exchanged gifts and listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's album "The Holly and the Ivy". As an adult, I had perpetually been on a quest to locate a CD copy of said album, with no success. Over the course of the past few years, I have wound up with a collection of *HORRIBLE* Christmas music (Christmas jazz, Christmas rock, etc.); all the while knowing in my heart that perfection was out there just waiting to be found. While at work late one night, I was browsing through the Amazon.com music section and came across Robert Shaw. After reading the other reviews here, I figured that $20.00 or so wasn't too much to spend in my search of the "perfect" Christmas album.
There are not enough superlatives to describe this album. It is everything that I remember "The Holly and the Ivy" was and more! I would describe the music here as "serious" Christmas music, but that does The Songs of Angels a disservice. As another reviewer stated below, The Songs of Angels truly sounds like the "voice of God himself". The voices are phenomenal. The arrangement is exquisite. The song selections are perfect. This is what I had been searching for.
If there were more than five stars available for an Amazon.com review, I would give them here. If you are looking for the perfect Christmas album, your search is over.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Robert Shaw Chamber singers perform this collection of Christmas hymns and carols without instrumental accompaniment. The chorus is absolutely superb. The soloists are what you could expect from a good Church `Messiah.'
As a strict Christmas traditionalist, I'm happy to say that none of the top ten Christmas carols as chosen by AOL subscribers made it onto this recording, e.g. 'All I Want for Christmas' - Mariah Carey, 'White Christmas' - Bing Crosby, 'The Christmas Song' - Nat King Cole, '8 Days of Christmas' - Destiny's Child, 'Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays' - *NSYNC, 'Happy Christmas' - John Lennon, 'Little Drummer Boy' - Bing Crosby & David Bowie, 'Where Are You Christmas' - Faith Hill, 'Oh Holy Night' - Nat King Cole, and 'Blue Christmas' - Elvis Presley.
Well, `Oh Holy Night' would have been okay.
"Fum, Fum, Fum," a traditional Catalan carol is probably the jolliest, most secular song on this recording, followed closely by "Good King Wenceslas." I love the part where the jolly bass king sings, "Bring me bread and bring me wine, etc." Some children might be confused when the same bass shows up for a few verses of "We Three Kings of Orient Are." They might ask you whether Good King Wenceslas was one of the three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem.
You may assure them that he was not.
Since many these songs are medieval in origin, they reference the Crucifixion as well as the Birth---a reminder of the solemnity of the season.
Also included is a traditional Kentucky Mountain Ballad, "The Cherry Tree Carol" where Joseph finally gets to sing a line: "Let the father of thy baby gather cherries for thee!"
When the cherry bough bends down and drops its fruit into Mary's lap, Joseph falls silent for the rest of the Christmas repertoire (as far as I can tell).
If you are a Christmas traditionalist like me, I think you'll enjoy playing this recording over and over again during the Holiday season.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Tars Tarkas on November 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I was a kid, we used to listen to this album every Christmas (on vinyl). We often contrasted it with a Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas album we also had, the Mormons good for rousing anthems, Robert Shaw for more intimate and moving and, I think, more beautiful evocations of the Spirit of Christmas.
What continues to amaze me, and other reviewers have noted this, is the precision of the voices, of the diction, and the discipline of the dynamics. No voice standing out unless called for, all of them melding seamlessly into something so gorgeous I keep buying a copy each Christmas to give as a gift since it is my most precious thing to give (to those who love real choral singing, anyway).
I listen to it, not as background "mood" music as if in a department store, but almost reverently, with headphones on and with complete concentration. It just takes me away.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Roberta1521 on October 17, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is the best collection of traditional Christmas music I have ever heard. Buy this just for the last song alone: In the Bleak Midwinter. The first time I heard it, it stopped my heart. The beautiful words of Christina Rossetti, the arrangement and harmonies...it sounded like God to me. In all of his mercy, love and forgiveness, you'll hear God himself in this song.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul Martin on December 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
When I bought this album, I was looking for a classic Christmas album for a small ensemble. This fits the bill admirably. The music, arrangements and performers are all of the same caliber as Shaw's other recordings (such as The Many Moods of Christmas) but here we have the intimacy of a small ensemble, much more fitting to the music than the massive forces of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus.
The arrangements are by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw, dating from the 1950's. We also have a number of magnificent solo voices, which are absent from the Robert Russel Bennet arrangements. The soloists are superb.
If I had to pick a single Christmas album to see me through the holidays, it would be a difficult choice, but this would certainly be on my short list.
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Songs of Angels - Christmas Hymns and Carols
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