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Karolju - Christmas Music from Rouse, Lutoslawski and Rodrigo

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 6, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

KAROLJU:CHRISTMAS MUSIC FROM ROUSE
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 6, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • ASIN: B000W1V4AC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,457 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's David Zinman Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was privileged to hear the world premier of Karolju in 1991 and for years replayed it from a tape I recorded from a radio rebroadcast. I am delighted that Karolju has been recorded and is now commercially available; it deserves a wide audience.
Karolju is a series of carol-like pieces composed by Christopher Rouse. Because the music is very much in the style of traditional carols, it might sound familiar to you, but these are all original "carols" composed as a suite. Ranging from brilliant color to sublime meditativeness, the half-hour suite captures both the celebratory and the solemn aspects of the season. Every December brings forth a new crop of Christmas music, most of it the same stuff that has been recorded already scores of times. In 2007's crop Karolju stands out as truly distinctive: outstanding music that is both perfectly suited to the season and genuinely original. A large part of its originality lies in its texts, which involve something of a surprise that I will not divulge here. Suffice it to say that Karolju could be the perfect musical marriage of singing and orchestration.
This recording is conducted by David Zinman, who conducted the premier and must surely know this music better than anyone other than Christopher Rouse himself.
The companion pieces, Polish Christmas Carols by Witold Lutoslawski and Retablo de Navidad by Joaquin Rodrigo, while lacking Karolju's color and brilliance, complement it nicely and give the entire CD a unity of style and tone.
I'm not a musician, so I can't pass judgment on this CD academically or technically. But I know what I like when I hear it. I have to believe that anyone who enjoys traditional Christmas music would thoroughly enjoy this recording. I can't recommend it too highly.
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Format: Audio CD
Karolju is a tribute to the simplicity, rhythmic viability, and tune-catchiness of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" by one of America's top five composers, Christopher Rouse. Its movements are generally in major keys. Some are quiet, several are ho-ho Santa-ish, all are a joy to hear. Don't just buy them for Christmas--they're good any time of the year to get you out of your doldrums.

The Lutoslawski piece makes a fine contrast, being a bit more austere and reflective. The Rodrigo is yet another (short) contrast, with a definite Spanish character. The whole set is rounded nicely, beautifully recorded, lustily performed, and should belong on any tune-lover's shelf.
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I've just finished listening to this CD for the third time and I really like it. Rouse's piece is great fun. Trying to pick out the references to other classical pieces from Carmina Burana to the Berlioz Requiem kept my mind busy and I don't think I've prised them all out, yet.

The Lutoslavski pieces are very different, cool and quite beautiful in a Lutoslavskiian way.

All is well performed, but it would have been nice to have the whole Rodrigo work. That caused me to dock the recording one star and it lost another star for the lack of texts and translations, especially for the Polish carols. I don't know about you, but my Polish is somewhat lacking.

Recommended, with the above caveats.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The assortment of foreign carols is fantastic. I esp. like the Polish and eastern European ones at the beginning. I had seen a review of it.last year in the Wall St. Journal and I kept it to remind me toorder this year.
Thanks!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Christopher Rouses' Karolyu is a brilliant series of choruses with orchestra that captures the spirit of Christmas with original music in a fine performance by Zinman and his forces. Very well recorded. I cannot recommend this highly enough for anyone looking for something new and enjoyable for the holiday season. I will probably play this several times during the year, not waiting for the proper season.
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