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Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Baroque Christmas Album

The Baroque Christmas Album
John Elliot Gardiner, Paul McCreesh, Marc Minkowski, Trevor Pinnock
Various Artists
CD, Archiv Produktion

Here we have a selection of suitably selected Christmas music from the composers, Bach, Charpentier, Gabrieli, Schütz, Corelli, and Praetorious. Built on the mystery and majesty of Christ’s birth, the wonderfully thick textures, and contrapuntal melodies glide together in glorious orchestral, and choral harmony. The contrast across the album between orchestra and voice works perfectly for me, and I expect for the rest of us out there that enjoy period music.

Dare I say however that on the one hand, I haven’t come across many Baroque specific Christmas albums; this does feel like yet another ‘Christmas album’. Fantastic though it is; which does set it apart from the majority, this album displays similar glory and musicianship as in previous years, other albums along this theme have done. No disrespect to anyone involved in the making of this album, I can honestly say it is superbly put together. Having taken a course in Classical CD production two years running, I know how hard editing and compiling these CDs can be.

I feel that the title is the culprit.

To call it a Christmas album pigeonholes it into something that one might only ever listen to at this time of year. This is a great shame as it is musically suited to anytime of the year whatever your mood. So to all you Christmas album lovers out there, go for it. This is a fantastic compilation. And to all the rest of us, buy it for its excellence, and ignore the pigeonholing title. (E Walton)

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