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The Many Moods Of Christmas

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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MP3 Music, October 1, 1984
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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Good Christian Men Rejoice
  2. Silent Night
  3. Patapan
  4. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  5. O Sanctissima
  6. Joy to the World
  7. Away in the Manger
  8. Fum Fum Fum: March of the Kings
  9. What Child is This
  10. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  11. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
  12. Angels We Have Heard on High
  13. Break Forth, O Beateous, Heavenly Light
  14. The First Nowell
  15. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  16. I Saw Three Ships
  17. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly


Product Details

  • Performer: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Robert Shaw, Robert Russell Bennett
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CT2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,897 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Personally, this is an all-time favorite Christmas collection with only a single reservation as to the recording. There are currently two versions available - the earlier one, performed by the NBC Symphony (circa 1963), and the later effort (1990) by The Atlanta Symphony, Robert Shaw's "home" orchestra for a number of years.

The Atlanta Symphony rendering would probably be considered by many to be the more "realistic." It depends, in the end, on personal taste. For me, however, the recording I "grew up with" is the original NBC recording.

On the RCA disc, both the orchestra and (smaller) chorus are more "up front" and immediate, more sharply focused, and the singers - probably hand selected by Shaw - seem crisp and alive, more involved. This, I would guess, has as much to do with the prevailing recording philosophy of the time as it does anything else.

The Atlanta performance, on the other hand, while certainly less suseptable to the manipulated balances of the 60's, seems, as a result, a bit "removed," closer to the more spacious effect of an actual concert hall environment, at least to me. But, again, my preference for the original is based strictly on personal taste. Yet, whichever experience you prefer, this is a marvelous collection featuring the stunning arrangements of Robert Russell Bennett. If you like medleys of contrast and brilliant embellishments, either recording is a must-have.
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Format: Audio CD
We listened to this in my family when I was growing up. It's all medleys, so it moves through quite a few Christmas songs. It can be sublime and quiet--love the O Sanctissima--but it doesn't stay that way for long. It can be crashing and rousing, too--as in I Saw Three Ships. You could say it is a bipolar CD! But it's good! Lovely orchestration and large chorus singing. The instrumental segues, fantasies, and descants are unusual and charming. I have other more strictly classical, jazz, and pop Christmas CD's, and I would say that this is an interesting "classical-pops" medley-fantasia that is unlike anything else. It has a timeless appeal and should be an annual best-seller. This is great music to play while wrapping presents, baking, and decorating the tree--it tugs at your heart-strings. Another reviewer said it is grandiose, and it is, but it is also grand. (Play something mellower for background music at the dinner table, though.)
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By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I've had this album for about 5 seasons. Each Christmas my wife puts five CDs in our changer and after just a few hours, we have stopped playing all the others and play only the Robert Shaw & Atlanta Symphony recording -- over and over. The Robert Russell Bennett arrangements must be praised. Just when you think the arrangement has finished, he adds a coda that takes the music to new heights. It's as if he brings in the angels to help with the ending of the piece. Also the recording techniques were superb for this CD -- digital, I believe. Play it often and play it loud -- the louder, the better.
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Format: Audio CD
I purchased this CD in November 1985 at a mall in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. My wife and I were on our honeymoon (she's Canadian) heading to Halifax. So we stopped at this mall in Moncton and started browsing over CD's. Lo and behold I saw this CD of Robert Shaw and the ASO and Chorus. It was the remake of the old reliable 1963 RCA LP with Shaw and the Robert Shaw Chorale with the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra which I have played a million times not counting my home-made taped version. That still applies to this day. As far as the ASO CD version is concerned, it's a winner in some ways but the LP wins PERIOD! What's wrong with the CD? The orchestra. At the beginning of the first track in "Good Christian Men, Rejoice" as the opening bars start rolling out, everything seems right-on--that is, until the trumpet fanfares enter in several bars later. They seem somewhat "sour" or "flat" compared to the old LP version with the RCA SO. Telarc should have done a retake. However, as far as the rest of the music is concerned, the orchestra performed extremely well. The ASO Chorus is first-rate all the way through and so is the Robert Shaw Choral on the LP. But a chorale is no match for a 200-voice chorus!! The bottom line is this: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra of 1983 is NO MATCH to the ASO of 2002--not by a long shot! I have kept up with this orchestra since the 60's and watched it progress with Shaw, Levi, and now with Spano and Runnicles. Shaw, however, was born with choral singing in his blood. No question, he was the best! That's the reason every time you heard the ASO chorus it was something of magical beauty because of Shaw. Today, every time you hear a first-rate sound/or performance by the ASO, it's mostly because of Levi.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Robert Shaw is without peer in his control of a large chorus. He takes the listener through a moving range of passion -- all the more so given the subject matter. From whisper soft pianissmos to driving fortissimos, the chorus is as if one voice. The arrangements are stunning and the listener will cherish this CD as an instant classic -- a must in the Christmas repertoire.
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