Content Right

Right optical Column


Loging Form

Log in

Log in

Create new account
. Forgotten Password?


June 2019
< > < >
01 02
03 04 05 06 07 08 09
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30



Content Middle

Main Content

The new CD: The Celtic Tenors  Christmas

reviewed by Gertraut

Oh, didnt we wait for this CD this autumn? And then it came, a lovely friend sent it to me from Dublin.Now the new Celtic Tenors Christmas CD is here, to be listened to, to be enjoyed and they do it with the reverence, skill and love a Christmas CD needs&

It is starting with Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining.... an overwhelming Christmas Song, that I heard and saw the CTs sing on a little video in St. Patricks Cathedral. On another CD I own the original French version Minuit, Chretiens, written by A. Adam in 1847, is sung by Roberto Alagna, but I like it so much better sung with the English Lyrics by J. S. Dwight! , loving the way each of the Tenors sings two lines first and then weaving together for the  refrain... and then swell into the mighty chorus at the end - oh night, divine -  wonderful!

Angels we have heard on high.... a lovely Carol after the Gospel of Luke,  translated by James Chadwick in 1862 (he became a Bishop later) from an unknown source in Languedoc.
Again  one voice after the other unfolds the story of joy and are united in the Gloria in excelsis Deo... through all the verses until the last mighty Gloria together, just listen with all your heart!

The 3rd one: James told me that this is his favourite Christmas Carol altogether: In the Bleak Mid-Winter. The words are a lovely poem by Christina Rossetti, written approximately before 1870 and Gustav T. Holst set it into music after her death.  This quiet poem tells about the joy that came to us in the most barren time of the year, the birth of Jesus Christ and in the poor surroundings that were there and with the angels gathered around him his mother who  kissed him. And what they all gave him& And If I were there - what would I give him? Thats for each of us to find out. So quiet and lovely done&.

Daryl starts The First Noel, an English Traditional, to be found in the gathered Carols Ancient and Modern 1823, it is sung quietly and as beautiful as our Tenors sing, you understand every word and hear the story unfold, from the shepherds that were wakened by the light of the star of Bethlehem, showing them the very tiny King of Israel and the wise men that came to fall on their knees before him and asking us to let us all with one accord sing praises to our Heavenly Lord... Loved that.

Gaudete is next, this was first known in the 16th century, found in the Piae Cantations around 1582 in Sweden, entirely in Latin and it is sung a cappella in a way no Christmas Carol would be sung today and this gives it a lasting impression. Guess you could call it the 16th century aequivalent to Joy to the world!  Wow!

Now comes Away in a manger, I learned that first when I was on a student exchange in Manchester/England, many years ago, but to a slightly different tune and now I found out that two versions exist, the 1887 written version by J.R. Murray is an English Traditional, this is sung by our Tenors in a heart warming way (and always comes into my mind the lovely little video where they sing it with Deirdre), and I learned the younger version written 1895. Love both!

The next one is a Carol I have never heard before: We Three Kings, words and music written around 1860  by J. H. Hopkins. New to me, I heard it a few times before going on with the CD. Star of Wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect Light... They sing it so beautiful and a little of Greensveeves (What Child is this) is thrown in and after hearing it for the third time I could sing the refrain with them... and I love the way this beautiful Carol is petering quietly out at the end...

The 8th one is very dear to my heart, it is Schuberts Wiegenlied that we learned in school, it is a lullaby, as Franz Schubert is a most beloved Austrian composer. He wrote it in 1816. And much later  Alois Melichar made it into the famous Mille Cherubini in coro using some music from Schuberts Rosamunde put in. And this is an International Christmas Carol now, that we all love so much.... Lovely done, dear Tenors this dormi, dormi, sogna piccolo amor mio.. it would help Baby Jesus to sleep....

Most lovely, though not a Christmas Carol, it the next one: Bach/Gounods Ave Maria. Charles Gounod wrote the Ave Maria after a fugue by Bach during a practise session in 1852. But where would it fit better than on a Christmas CD, for without her  where would our Christmas Wonder be? These three voices doing it together so lovely up to the last Amen&

And the next one  the Wexford Carol I only know since the short Christmas CD the Celtic Tenors made  for the  Irish Sunday Independent in 2010. It was first known in the 12th century in Ireland (where the name comes from), words and music from unknown source and it is said that it is one of the oldest Christmas Carols in Europe. They  sing it a cappella, first solo one  verse, then together and since it is Irish, I think it is a must by our three Tenors. Like Gaudete, you can tell by the music it is really old&. Wonderful to learn about music how it was then&

And what should I  an Austrian  say about the next one? Not many words needed, this Christmas Carol is a must over here, no Austrian Christmas, no midnight mass on the 24th of Dec. without it, in the darkened church, each one with a lighted candle in hand&. The Tenors sing it in English, Irish and are ending it in German, each verse another language. The original lyrics were written by Joseph Moor and the sweet music was composed by Franz Gruber in Oberndorf/Salzburg in 1818. Basically such a simple and quiet Carol in lyrics and music, it made its way around the world and it will never go out of fashion. So much love was put by the Celtic Tenors into it that it brings tears to my eyes&

And now the fulminant end to this lovely CD starts :Joy to the world, the music attributed to G .F.  Händel and they sing it as Händel should be sung  joyful, with a mighty voice!  The words were first written in 1719 by Isaak Watts after the psalms. He wrote a lot of hymns and got a Doctor of Divinity degree by the Edinburgh University. Later (1836) the whole Carol was adapted by L. Mason. And it is ending this CD by the Celtic Tenors on a triumphant note, weaving their voices in and out of the verses -
 Joy to the world, the lord is come!
Let earth receive her king;
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven and nature sing!

Gertraut, Christmas 2013