Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this music junkie as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. Compact Discs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no files.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Various Artists - The Traditional Sounds Of Christmas (1992)

A reissue grouping of three previously released albums, put together by the GSC Music label. In fact, it appears they just took the leftover, unsold CDs and put them in a bulky three-fer jewel case with minimal listings (below) and no liner note booklet. The 'traditional' part of title rings true even if the 'Christmas' part just misses: the newest tune in the compilation is Leroy Anderson's 1948 piece Sleigh Ride and that's a winter snow song not a Christmas song. The rest of the tunes are older - some several centuries older - and mostly feature somewhat yule-ish lyrics. Perfect for your next church choir Christmas party.

12 tracks, 41 minutes

This appears to be a compilation CD and it's included in a compilation. The instrumental orchestral pieces lean a little too much toward Mantovanian/Muzak arrangements, but I nevertheless enjoy the mix of orchestras, chorus, church organs, and brass ensembles, especially highlights from The Messiah.


20 tracks, 52 minutes

An odd pairing of timbres. Tracks alternate between choral and brass arrangements. With the exception of Silent Night, the choral work is mostly full throttle and that lack of subtley and variety gets old very quickly. In contrast, the brass arrangements are lively, tasteful, and quite enjoyable. And if you're looking for a track that has both brass and voice, fuggitaboutit.


16 tracks, 52 minutes

This wild compilation is the best of the three discs. Orchestras, a capella choirs, brass quintets, even a jazzy trio of electric piano, acoustic guitar, and flute. Some big names here - Bernstein, Ormandy, Previn, Szell - alongside the likes of The Texas Boys Choir and Rita Ford's Music Boxes. I'm not a fan of operatic sopranos warbling carols atop dense orchestrations and there's a couple of those. But there's enough variety here to keep things interesting plus near the end we hear to Julie Andrews sing the seldom-heard French carol Patapan in a sixtieslicious arrangement, and that's a real treat. I'll even excuse the inclusion of The Hallelujah Chorus (I'm just nit-picking because that chorus closes the Easter section of the oratorio, but I understand the attraction as a stand alone piece as there's no denying it's a masterwork).


Personal Memory Associated with this CD: So many of these old hymns take me right back to my carefree school days; as much comfort can be found in those memories as is in these uplifting lyrics.

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