|L.A. Guitar Quartet: Dances from Renaissance to Nutcracker
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All of the arrangements on this album were made by LAGQ members. Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite was arranged by Andrew York, who explains in the booklet notes that he first arranged part of the suite for two guitars, which worked musically but was hard to play. So, as he explains: "The ideal solution was to redo the work for guitar quartet, allowing a more complete translation of the complexities of the orchestral score, which could be balanced among four guitars. Two dances remain as duets -- the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," played here by Bill Kanengiser and Scott Tennant; and "Arabian Dance," in which John Dearman and I are the players."
- Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
|Dream a Dream (North American Version)
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Includes O Come, all Ye Faithful; Little Drummer Boy; Mary's Boy Child; Winter Wonderland; The Christmas Song ; the title track, and more.
Everybody's favorite precocious sprite of a soprano comes out with her third album in Dream a Dream. It's only been two years since Charlotte Church's smash debut, Voice of an Angel, but that's a big chunk of the Welsh singer's life span so far. This latest is basically a Christmas album, so full of festive cheer you'd never guess it was recorded in the summer. Even the glummest of moods will disappear when you hear Charlotte's infectious take on chestnuts such as "Winter Wonderland" and "Little Drummer Boy" (and having the London Symphony Orchestra as your backup band doesn't hurt either). And on top of that is a really special treat: the title song (borrowing an unforgettable classical melody) which blends Church's soaring vocals with the tender voice of young country prodigy Billy Gilman. --Sarah Chin
|Christmas with Thomas Hampson
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|Christmas With The Vienna Choir Boys
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Well, if you can't spend your Yuletide in the snowy Alps, here's an excellent-and affordable-substitute: 23 favorite carols and classical songs from the Vienna Boys' Choir, some with Placido Domingo or Hermann Prey! Selections include Adeste Fideles; O Tannenbaum ; Franck's Panis Angelicus; Deck the Halls and more.
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|Christmas With the Tallis Scholars
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A longtime seasonal favorite for those into holiday releases by John Rutter and other like-minded classical artists. ''I am delighted to recommend this seasonal selection. Over the years we have recorded many different types of Christmas music - carols, chant, chorales, hymns, motets and masses - but this is the first time they have been put together in one collection." Peter Phillips
|The Holly and the Ivy: Carols from Clare College
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Initially released in 1979, this album built on the success of the legendary Carols for Choirs volumes in establishing John Rutter's name with the wider public, and it gave a strong hint that he was more than just a talented composer-arranger. As the many subsequent releases on the Collegium label have also shown, Rutter is a deeply sensitive and musical conductor, alive to the color of words, always allowing phrases to breathe naturally. The accomplished Clare College Choir features male and female voices, the latter providing a more rounded alternative to those world-famous neighbors in Cambridge. Included are many of Rutter's own easy-listening carol arrangements ("King Jesus Hath a Garden" and "Wexford Carol," for example), plus others by the likes of Vaughan Williams and David Willcocks, while "Donkey Carol" and "Mary's Lullaby" are quintessential Rutter originals. Only a few numbers can be classed (statistically) as all-time Christmas faves--the likes of "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Ding Dong Merrily on High"--but this needn't deter anyone from snapping up what is the perfect album to accompany Christmas pud mixing (preferably by candlelight, imagining the twilight scene in Ely Cathedral's Lady Chapel, whose glorious acoustic graces the sound). --Andrew Green
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Evensong by Adagio Trio
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|Catholic Christmas Classics
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Catholic Christmas Classics (Volume 8) by The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx (conductor)
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|Best of L.A.G.Q.
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