73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Lovely a cappella harmonies,
This review is from: Songs of Angels - Christmas Hymns and Carols (Audio CD)
The Robert Shaw Chamber singers perform this collection of Christmas hymns and carols without instrumental accompaniment. The chorus is absolutely superb. The soloists are what you could expect from a good Church `Messiah.'
As a strict Christmas traditionalist, I'm happy to say that none of the top ten Christmas carols as chosen by AOL subscribers made it onto this recording, e.g. 'All I Want for Christmas' - Mariah Carey, 'White Christmas' - Bing Crosby, 'The Christmas Song' - Nat King Cole, '8 Days of Christmas' - Destiny's Child, 'Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays' - *NSYNC, 'Happy Christmas' - John Lennon, 'Little Drummer Boy' - Bing Crosby & David Bowie, 'Where Are You Christmas' - Faith Hill, 'Oh Holy Night' - Nat King Cole, and 'Blue Christmas' - Elvis Presley.
Well, `Oh Holy Night' would have been okay.
"Fum, Fum, Fum," a traditional Catalan carol is probably the jolliest, most secular song on this recording, followed closely by "Good King Wenceslas." I love the part where the jolly bass king sings, "Bring me bread and bring me wine, etc." Some children might be confused when the same bass shows up for a few verses of "We Three Kings of Orient Are." They might ask you whether Good King Wenceslas was one of the three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem.
You may assure them that he was not.
Since many these songs are medieval in origin, they reference the Crucifixion as well as the Birth---a reminder of the solemnity of the season.
Also included is a traditional Kentucky Mountain Ballad, "The Cherry Tree Carol" where Joseph finally gets to sing a line: "Let the father of thy baby gather cherries for thee!"
When the cherry bough bends down and drops its fruit into Mary's lap, Joseph falls silent for the rest of the Christmas repertoire (as far as I can tell).
If you are a Christmas traditionalist like me, I think you'll enjoy playing this recording over and over again during the Holiday season.