December Celebration – New Carols by Seven American Composers (2015) [HighResAudio FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

December Celebration – New Carols by Seven American Composers (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 56:33 minutes | 1,01 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: | @ Pentatone Music B.V.
Recorded: Skywalker Sound, San Rafael, California, US, December 2014

December holds in its hands many worlds of celebration as the month unfolds with Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas and the eve of the New Year. Over the centuries a great deal of music has marked this time of year, but very little has been added to the canon in recent decades. Gordon Getty inspired us with his composition of delightful new Christmas carols to invite a group of American composers to celebrate the season in music.
The result is a rich and tuneful recording of new holiday classics for you to share with your friends and families. We hope that you enjoy this festive and joyous music throughout the season and for many years to come.

Here is an interesting and refreshing CD for the holiday season. The disc is a cornucopia of new music by active and well-known composers. The sound, to start with, is pure Pentatone multichannel splendor, and Gordon Getty, one of their house composers, is to be congratulated for compiling this set of lovely music. This is not blow-you-away Christmas music; it’s not even all Christmas, but “seasonal”. Mostly it is reflective and rather sentimental, and I’ll admit to being a little disappointed with Adamo’s The Christmas Life and Heggie’s On the Road to Christmas. The latter especially, being one of the most gifted lyrical composers I know of, seems to put the gears in neutral in his cycle of interesting texts (including those by Frederica von Stade and Emily Dickinson!) with songs that circle the so-so wagon, devoid of real punch. The Joan Morris and William Bolcom piece is cute and makes a nice filler.

Things really pick up with the Luna Pearl Woolf song for baritone, treble chorus, harp, percussion, and string orchestra. This is a sparkling bit of musical poetry (having to do with the winter solstice) that far surpasses the rather bloated text. Getty’s own contribution, for women’s chorus and chamber orchestra, dominates, quality-wise, everything on this disc, even though David Garner’s gorgeous Three Carols for soprano, baritone, oboe, frame drum, and strings contains a substantial and intricate O magnum mysterium that is superlative in every way. Though I liked it, Corigliano’s Christmas at the Cloisters proves a tad jarring with its loud use of a Hammond organ, but a balm is quickly applied with Getty’s fine arrangement of Silent Night that closes out the disc. All in all, this is easily assimilated new music of a very high quality, perfect for this time of the year. —Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

Mark Adamo (1962)
1. The Christmas Life 03:12
Jake Heggie (1961)
On the Road to Christmas
2. No. 1. The Night is Freezing Fast 02:14
3. No. 2. The Car Ride to Christmas 02:32
4. No. 3. Good King Merrily on High 02:24
5. No. 4. I Wonder as I Wander 03:34
6. No. 5. The Road to Bethlehem 01:40
7. No. 6. Christmas Time of Year 03:01
William Bolcom (1943), Joan Morris (1938)
8. Neighbors, on this Frosty Tide 01:46
David Garner (1954)
Three Carols
9. No. 1. Posada 02:58
10. No. 2. O magnum mysterium 07:05
11. No. 3. Jesus’ Song 04:20
Luna Pearl Woolf (1973)
12. How Bright the Darkness 07:11
Gordon Getty (1933)
Four Christmas Carols
13. No. 1. Call the Children 01:43
14. No. 2. The Snow Child 01:41
15. No. 3. Candles on the Tree 01:43
16. No. 4. Run to the Window 03:11
John Corigliano, Jr. (1938)
17. Christmas at the Cloisters (version for voice and piano) 02:36
Franz Xaver Gruber (1787-1863)
18. Silent Night (arr. G. Getty for mixed chorus and chamber orchestra) 03:42

Lisa Delan, Soprano
Lester Lynch, Baritone
Volti Chorus
Musicians of the New Century Chamber Orchestra
Steven Bailey, Piano & Hammond Organ
Conducted by Dawn Harms