Chanticleer: An Orchestra of Voices Honoring Christmas
A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Chanticleer present their annual Christmas program at their spiritual home in San Francisco at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. I had just purchased their most recent Christmas offering, We Sing Christmas and proceeded to wear my CD laser out playing it. My Early Music appetite had previously been properly whetted by the group and I purchased their entire extant catalog. Chanticleer's Christmas concert was the finest performance of any kind I had ever attended. The group made their a cappella way through six centuries of music, from English and French Plainsongs to American spirituals and modern choral music. The sonics in the standing-room-only St. Ignatius were perfect: crystalline, yet warm, enveloping. On my tortuous spiritual journey, the music performed revealed the hope and beauty of Christmas and clearly defined that music is the only truly divinely inspired word.
Presented here are Chanticleer releases that are of Christmas fare, and demand a spin by listeners of any musical persuasion.
Where The Sun Will Never Go Down (Teldec Classics 90878, 1994).
Alte catholische geistliche Kirckengesänge. Also included are beautiful renderings of "O magnum mysterium" and four arrangements of "In dulci jubilo." Holst's "In The Bleak Midwinter" and Ives' "A Christmas Carol" are perfectly captured, as is the ubiquitous "Stille Nacht." If you can have only one, make it this one.
Sound in Spirit
Warner Classics 6923256