It seems that nothing ushers in the Christmas season and promotes holiday spirit quite like choral music – witness the prevalence of annual choral concerts in most communities at this time of year. Two of the works heard most often are, of course, G. F. Handel’s mighty Messiah and Benjamin Britten’s ever-popular Ceremony of Carols – and Delos is pleased to offer recordings of each that are among the best in the business! Another less-commonly heard work appropriate to the season is Alan Hovhaness’ mystic-toned Magnificat, centered around the Advent text recounting the Angel Gabriel’s annunciation to the Virgin Mary. Then there are the many holiday collections of beloved and familiar holiday choral songs and carols. Just about any competent choir has one … but one of Delos’ collections showcases the magnificent Roger Wagner Chorale: NOT just “any” choir. Check these select releases out below!
Handel: Messiah (1741 version)
American Bach Soloists
Delos is proud to present the new American Bach Soloists recording of Handel’s Messiah, featuring the rarely performed Autograph Score of 1741, the score just as Handel originally conceived it before he put down his pen and traveled, music in hand, to the Dublin premiere in 1742. Highlighting the renowned quality period performance one has come to expect from Jeffrey Thomas and the American Bach Soloists, this exceptional new recording includes four outstanding soloists: Arianna Zukerman, soprano; Daniel Taylor, countertenor; Steven Tharp, tenor; and William Sharp, bass.
Ceremony of Carols
Etherea Vocal Ensemble
“Throughout the entire disc, the vocal purity, harmonic balance, and angelic beauty of the group were superb. The soloists all sang with clear, focused, voices. Particularly memorable was the modal “There is no Rose” from Dancing Day featuring soprano Amanda Sidebottom and Derek Greten-Harrison in an impressive duet, their voices intertwining and blending perfectly. It was only one of many, many moments that left me utterly transported…Their Ceremony of Carols is the perfect antidote to the winter blues and is sure to remain a seasonal favorite year after year.” — Lauren Alfano, I Care If You Listen
The Choirs and Orchestra of St. John’s Cathedral
“Following its premiere in 1959, Alan Hovhaness’ “Magnificat” for four soloists, chorus, and orchestra enjoyed a long period of popularity, especially among college and community choirs. Its accessible yet “modern” idiom melodic passages, big chords moving in parallel, and sections where rhythm and melody were liberated from the confines of meter and tempo, brought the singers in touch with identifiable new music that also was audience friendly…the Delos recording is far superior…Donald Pearson and his St. John’s performers take a more refined, even reverent approach that revels more in the sheer sound of the harmonies and the spin and spiral of the melismatic passage.” — Robert Whitney, The Choral Review
…to catch a Christmas Star
Christmas with Roger Wagner
Roger Wagner Chorale
“This recording my stimulate a new golden age of choral singing” — The Los Angeles Times
“Definitely a holiday season pick.” — Los Angeles Daily News
“…exquisitely recorded…” — Chicago Tribune