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The Carol Album: Seven Centuries of Christmas Music

Johann Sebastian Bach , Andre Caplet , Franz Xaver Gruber , Lukas Osiander , Philippe Le Chancelier , Caelius Sedulius , English Traditional , William Walker , Andrew Parrott , Choir & Players Taverner Consort Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 24 Songs, 1989 $9.49  
Audio CD, 1990 --  
Audio Cassette, Dolby, 1992 --  

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

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Veni, veni Emmanuel (female voices)Andrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Stille Nacht (original version)Andrew Parrott/Stephen Charlesworth/Charles Daniels/Jakob Lindberg/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players 3:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Il est né, le divin Enfant (vocal)Andrew Parrott/William Hunt/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Caroline Trevor/Emily Van Evera 2:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Nova! nova!Andrew Parrott/Simon Grant/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 1:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Marche des roisAndrew Parrott/Taverner Players 1:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Babe of Bethlehem (Ye nations all, on you I call)Andrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 2:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Verbum caro: Y la VirgenTaverner Players/Andrew Parrott 1:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Glory to God on highAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 1:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Thys endere nyghthAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 4:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. O Jesulein süss BWV493 (b.c. by Bach)Andrew Parrott/Tessa Bonner/Jakob Lindberg/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Il est né, le divin Enfant (instrumental)Andrew Parrott/Taverner Players 1:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. God rest you merry, gentlemenAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Swete was the song the Virgine soongAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players/Emily Van Evera 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Quem pastores laudavereAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players 1:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Quanno nascette NinnoTaverner Players/Andrew Parrott 1:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Riu, riu, chiuAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Richard Wistreich 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Gabriel fram heven-kingAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Christum wir sollen loben schonAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. The Coventry CarolAndrew Parrott/Charles Daniels/Simon Grant/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Emily Van Evera 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Gaudete!Andrew Parrott/Stephen Charlesworth/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players 1:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Verbum caro: In hac anni circuloAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Alleluya: A nywe werk is come on hondeAndrew Parrott/Leigh Nixon/Nicolas Robertson/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort 5:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. The Old Year now away is fledAndrew Parrott/Taverner Choir/Taverner Consort/Taverner Players/Evelyn Tubb 1:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen24. Branle de l'officiel (Ding dong! merrily on high)Taverner Players/Andrew Parrott 2:02$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Performer: Choir & Players Taverner Consort
  • Conductor: Andrew Parrott
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Andre Caplet, Franz Xaver Gruber, Lukas Osiander, Philippe Le Chancelier, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Records
  • ASIN: B000002RR4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,139 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Most people think of Christmas carols as originating from ancient--or at least olden-times, and indeed, many of the most enduring ones have survived for many centuries. Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort take us back seven centuries, in fact, and thoughtfully mix the old tunes ("Swete was the song," "This endere nyghth," "Nova! nova!") with more recent tunes. Parrott's musicians offer interesting takes on such familiar carols as "Silent Night" and "God rest ye merry, gentlemen." "Silent Night" sounds like an Austrian folk tune, complete with guitar accompaniment that reportedly was used in its original performance; "God rest ye..." is performed in the style of an English country church congregation--and uses a different tune from the one we usually hear. Various period instruments add to the color and flavor, and the arrangements are original and very effective. --David Vernier

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mult-layered trip through musical time November 17, 1999
Format:Audio CD
To my taste, this is the way to do the vast musical repertoire of Christmas. Andrew Parrott's detailed, deep and textured approach presents a something new and satisfying with each listen.
Initially, I was dismayed at the near-inaudible beginning of the first cut, "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel"...until I interpreted the slowly rising volume as the plainsong of an approaching band of medieval choristers, which is certainly a way in which it was heard.
Truly, a wonderful trip through seven centuries!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something different -- very enjoyable December 15, 2001
Format:Audio CD
If this very stylish album does not have something that will please you, you are just too hard to please. With carols spanning seven centuries, in French, German, and English, from the old world and the new, this is a comprehensive survey of the Christmas carol.
The performances are not arranged chronologically, but rather in contrasting and complimentary order, alternating unaccompanied with accompanied, vocal with instrumental. Both the vocal and instrumental ensembles have a range of styles and sonorities. Compare, for example, the brash open sound of "The Babe of Bethlehem" and "Glory to God on High" with the restrained pure sound of "This endere nyghth" or the full sound of "Christum wir sollen loben schon."
The booklet contains notes and texts as well as a list of players, but do not identify the various soloists.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fresh and witty December 11, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you've never strayed into the Early Music racks, start here! And if you have 30" of Christmas CDs in your collection and half of them are Early Music and traditional, you're still going to love this! No muddy, pretentious, over-orchestrated stuff here. Just period instruments or fresh voices, and some gentle musical jokes. (The little-sung and wonderfully rhythmic "March of the Kings" instrumental starts out barely audible in the distance with the jingle of harness and bells, grows louder, then fades in the distance as though the magi and their magnificent procession had passed on. And "Il est ne', le divin enfant", which mentions the reedy voice of the musette, is played on one.)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Christmas December 6, 1999
Format:Audio CD
I have been listening to this album for almost 10 years. I wore out my tape copy from constantly studying to it in college and had to replace it with a CD. It is wonderful all year, not just at Christmas. Everytime I play it someone always requests a copy. Everyone is correct about the first track being nearly inaudible at first, but the rest is so good that it is just a minor annoyance. This album has all the old favorites the way they were originally heard and the way the composer intended them to sound. Absolutely not commercialized.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Christmas Collection December 9, 1999
Format:Audio CD
This is one of my favorite collection of carols. The variety of the music and level of performance combine to make this a must-have CD. It gives an idea of how old the celebration of Christmas is and provides relief from the familiar, popular Christmas songs. Of special interest is the the original version of "Stille Nacht."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Selection of Carols December 28, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I love this album! I love Medieval and Renaissance carols. In my family, we call them "squeakers and groaners". This collection really squeaks and groans. It also provides a lyric sheet- essential for memorizing carols in Latin and Old English!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real carols December 9, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
What a joy to hear real carols sung like . . . real carols. This is without doubt my favorite Christmas album, and amongst the best music I own. It's also wonderful to crank up the volume and bellow along, especially God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. (I'm glad to know track 1 isn't damaged . . . it's a little offputting to start off inaudibly).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Christmas CD of all time December 20, 2006
Format:Audio CD
This collection of Christmas music strives for authenticity in performance, right down to Old French pronunciation in "Il est né le divin enfant." The carols are of varying antiquity and presented, not in order of age, but in an order that makes for an enjoyable listening experience, by contrast. There is precision in singing, use of period instruments, and presentation in original languages. It all adds up to excellence. Further, it brings joy and delight to the receptive ear.

Another reviewer said there wasn't any joy in these performances, and I say, "Humbug!" As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, joy is in the ear of the listener, and I couldn't receive this music without being transported to bliss.

As to the first track ("Veni, Veni Emmanuel") and audibility issues many have complained about, it's apparent that the a capella singing gets louder and louder as the chant progresses and we, the listeners, are being given the experience of sitting in a large cathedral as the choristers make their processional from the distant back of the nave up the center aisle and into the choir stalls in the chancel. That's why the music is barely audible at first and gets gradually louder, until it has full of volume. It's also why it's the very first track -- the choristers are processing in to begin the concert.

Hearing "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht" performed using its original tune and what is held to be and very likely is the original guitar accompaniment from 1818 was a revelation -- I no longer sing the "improved" version of the tune that has become universal. It has the character of a Tyrolean folk song, light, joyous, reverent, and close to the hearts of the people singing and hearing it in that small Alpine church.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Engineering Misstep
What should have been an exemplary collection of Christmas music beyond the common collection of standards turns out to be marred by barely audible introductions (as noted by... Read more
Published 2 months ago by G. P. Gennaro
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent selection
The Taverner Consort offer a lovely selection of carols sung in English, Latin, French, German, Spanish and old English and sung as they might have sounded when originally written. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Susan Baldwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Carol Album: Seven Centuries of Christmas Music
This has become one of my favorite Christmas albums. Superbly arranged and superbly performed. I particularly like the rendition of Stille Nacht.
Published 15 months ago by Robert Staneslow
5.0 out of 5 stars The Carol Album: Seven Centuries of Christmas Music
I lost this collection of Christmas music in the tape version and I purchased this CD to add to my collection of Renaissance Music
the quality of the CD is very soft at first... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Indy
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Favourite
I purchased ths cd when it first came out. Heard an excerpt on CBC and hustled to the local classical cd store, (remember those?) and had to order it as it was already sold out. Read more
Published 20 months ago by MH
5.0 out of 5 stars $9.99 at iTunes... just thought I'd mention it
CD sounds divine. If you want this album, thought you might like to know iTunes has it available for download for $9.99. Read more
Published on December 5, 2006 by whiterabbit
5.0 out of 5 stars My Very Favourite Christmas Album
Not only is this my own favourite, but so many friends have fallen in love with it hearing me playing it over the Christmas season, that I have frequently bought it as a (much... Read more
Published on December 24, 2005 by C. Cooper
2.0 out of 5 stars Authentic but without joy
To my mind, a carol album should be moving -- pulling (however gently) on those moving emotions of the joyous season. Read more
Published on February 21, 2000
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