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Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland
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This Christmas, boy choir super-group Libera bring their angelic voices and inspiring music to the holiday season with a new CD and DVD: Angels Sing - Christmas in Ireland. The program features beloved carols old and new, sacred and secular, joyful and tender - all recorded live in the radiant ambiance of St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Ireland. This inspiring concert features favorites such as 'Carol of the Bells,' 'Joy to the World,' 'Silent Night,' 'Danny Boy' and more, and the DVD also contains behind-the-scenes documentary extras. Six of the tracks are previously unreleased, and the remaining songs all feature brand-new arrangements made especially for this recording.
The distinctive music of Libera has traveled the world, with chart-topping albums and sold-out performances across the globe. The group has performed in front of the Pope during a visit to Yankee Stadium and at the Kennedy Center during a ceremony honoring Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Their signature sound shimmering, mystical chords and harmonies atop traditional and electronic instruments has captured the hearts of music lovers everywhere, and their passionate, dedicated fan base (including over 5 million YouTube views) attest to the enduring power and appeal of this unique group.
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Two years ago in August, I attended a Libera concert near Dallas, Texas. The lighting etc. on the new DVD reminds me more of that concert than the old DVD. As with the Texas concert, some of the older boys provide the lower parts of the music. This adds to the depth of the Libera sound with the younger boys providing the traditional Libera, "Angel Voices" experience. The large cathedral environment is the natural environment for Libera. St. Patrick's has a large, mostly open "stage" area that works very well with the way Libera performs concerts and with the requirements to make a good video production. The cathedral was specifically decorated in a Christmas fashion, with what one of the choir boys described as one of the most "humongous" Christmas trees he'd ever seen. While the fronts of the boys were consistently in white light, the background was lit with a variety of colors and patterns. The acoustics of the room served very well with a nice, smooth sound decay time. The audio on the DVD is available as both two channel and DTS® 5.1 surround. If you have the ability to do surround sound, I would highly recommend choosing that option from the setup menu. That really gives the "live performance" feel.
The DVD contains many of the same songs and arrangements as found on the Libera Christmas CD of a couple years ago; however, it is very apparent that these are new recordings - not just lip-syncs of the old CD. There are a few additions with an Irish flavor. One is the "Wexford Carol," and another is "Danny Boy." While there are many fine performances, I need to call special attention to "Danny Boy." This was done acappella with Isaac London singing the solo. He handles this demanding assignment extremely well. Also, there was an Irish influence in the instrumentation such as Irish drum and flute lines on many songs.
I am very glad to be able to add this DVD (along with the audio CD recorded at the same time) to my library of Libera music. If you are a Libera fan, you should be very happy with the new DVD. If you've never heard them before, this is your chance to experience what I think is one of the finest boy choirs in the world. It would make a nice Christmas present, but please give it ahead of time so that it can be a special addition to your celebration.
As always I am very pleased with this new recording from Libera. My only hope is that they might be able to release a version of the DVD on Blu-ray. While the video is in 16:9 anamorphic format, it is not "high definition." As "standard definition" DVD's go, this is very well done; but true "high definition" (720P or 1080P) would improve the experience - particularly in home theater systems with large screens.
This DVD will NOT disappoint. Libera filmed this in the Summer of 2013, and they have not sounded better. If you like Christmas music, this is the DVD to buy, they rock out on every song, giving their all. *Also consider buying the Christmas CD they released a couple of years ago. Visit: libera.org.uk (Libera's official website) choose the SHOP tab, and you will be given a choice between which worldwide Amazon.com store to visit. Choose the American Flag, and that directs you to Libera's Amazon store. Buying Libera's music this way, through their website, still gives Amazon their money, and at the same time gives Libera a percentage of the sales; this goes towards supporting them practicing, recording and touring. Support Libera! Shop Amazon or iTunes through Libera's website: libera.org.uk