Fanfare (US)2.- Let the Angels Sing is as functional and simple, yet in an elegant way, as Scandinavian furniture, and as such is well worth your time and attention.
October 19, 2015
LET THE ANGELS SING ● Michala Petri (rcr); Michael Bojesen, cond; Danish Natl Vocal Ens ● OUR 6.220615 (52:20)
Gabriel's Message. Angelus ad Virginem. Up! Good Christian Folk, and Listen. Rocking. A Virgin Most Pure. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. King Jesus Hath a Garden. In Dulci Jubilo. Coventry Carol. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen. Zither Carol. Unto Us is Born a Son. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly. The Linden Tree Carol. Good King Wenceslas. Blessed Be That Maid Mary. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Given a choice between (a) eating stale fruitcake, (b) being trampled by a reindeer, and (c) listening to Christmas carols, I am not sure (c) would be my top choice. As I review this CD it is still early October—too soon to get into the Christmas spirit. By the time you read this review, it will be too late: your tree (if you had one) will long have been pushed screaming into the wood shredder. I note that this disc was recorded in June (the notes don't say which year, however!), which must be worse yet. Even in Copenhagen, it must be hard to feel Yuletide joy in June.
Nevertheless, I predict that Let the Angels Sing will make a reappearance in my house two months from now. It has several things going for it. First, many of these carols are not familiar. In fact, many of them I had never heard at all. They all come from Europe, and one of them, “Gabriel's Message” (of Basque origin) dates as far back as the 13th century. That one is particularly lovely. (Music does not go stale as quickly as fruitcake!) Second, how many times have you heard a chorus accompanied by nothing more than a recorder? It seems strange to write this, but I never felt that there was “something missing” in these performances. That's how good the arrangements by conductor Michael Bojesen are. Third, Michala Petri is the reigning Queen of the Recorder, and as many a good queen might do, she is constantly expanding her territory. Suffice it to say that her recorders blend as smoothly with the repertoire, and with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, as egg blends with nog. Fourth, the 21 singers in that Ensemble sing this music with simple devotion, and with a polish that neither calls attention to itself nor lets the music down. Let the Angels Sing is as functional and simple, yet in an elegant way, as Scandinavian furniture, and as such is well worth your time and attention. Fanfare, October 2015 Raymond Tuttle