Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
From pretty good to very bad
on December 16, 2012
I bought the album for $1, so I absolutely got my money's worth, but I also wasted time weeding out the 65% of the songs that I didn't like, or that didn't feel very Christmas-y (pipe organ, unfamiliar foreign songs). As of this writing, the album is $2.79, which is still an acceptable price. If you've ever regretted a purchase because you didn't get one of the highest quality versions of a song, then this is not the album for you.
I enjoyed the Canterbury Choristers (#1-26, minus Bornand Music Box) and Cathedral of St. John (#81-94) albums-within-this-album. The Messiah was a small set of voices, and included all of the songs and not just the popular (good) ones, but was done well. The Nutcracker was good, but if you're like me, you already own two or more other versions of it from other compilations. And I worry that I wasn't supposed to enjoy Charlton Heston's reading of Luke 2 (#280), but I absolutely did. I really loved the symphony-only work by I Soloisti di Zagreb & Antonio Janigro (#115-118, 122), though some didn't evoke Christmas for me (#119-121).
I liked the pipe organ songs and some of the foreign songs, but to me they weren't Christmas-y.
Other things you won't be putting on as background music at a Christmas party any time soon include the obnoxious Bornand Music Box songs, the Children's Choir of Radio Prague, and almost everything (I liked #176) with Alfred Deller's name and shrill voice attached. I was unimpressed with the vocally strained and heavily accented performances from the Roland Hayes & Reginald Boardman album, but I give them props for attempting a multi-lingual album with nothing but a piano for accompaniment.