“Christmas with True Concord: Carols in the American Voice” – True Concord Voices – Reference Recordings Fresh!

by | Dec 17, 2019 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

“Christmas with True Concord: Carols in the American Voice” – True Concord Voices and Orchestra/ Eric Holtan – Reference Recordings fresh! FR-734, 60:47 ****

True Concord has been around since 2004, hailing from the Tucson area, and made quite a mark in 2015 with the release of its album of Stephen Paulus music, Far in the Heavens, for which it garnered a Grammy nomination. This is its second album for Reference, and it is a splendid one. Though I might quibble a bit at not having it in the SACD format (Christmas albums rarely are, for some reason), the sound is still quite vibrant, and the performances even more so. The subtitle is Carols in the American Voice, yet the music is a mix of the international tradition in sometimes updated arrangements by Americans (which are excellent) and the newer that have become quite popular. They are all taken from the “Lessons and Carols by Candlelight” series that is presented every December in Tucson.

There are many wonderful choruses out there making seasonal albums, some so superb as to defy description, yet True Concord holds its own with exceptionally lovely singing, terrific phrasing, and a dynamic sense of powerful and radiant presentation that emanates from every bar. If this doesn’t put you into the true Christmas spirit, I can’t imagine what will!

On Christmas Night (The Sussex Carol) | Trad. English, arr. Gerald Near
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming | Praetorius, ed. Alice Parker and Robert Shaw
A Somerset Carol | Trad. English, arr. Dale Warland
Away In A Manger | William J. Kirkpatrick, arr. Mack Wilberg
Go, Tell It On The Mountain | Spiritual, harm. J.W. Work, arr. Stacey V. Gibbs
Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine | Trad. German, arr. Peter Rutenberg
Cradle Song | Trad. Welsh, arr. Gerald Near
Wexford Carol | Trad. Irish, arr. Mack Wilberg
O Come, Divine Messiah! | Trad. French, arr. Howard Helvey
Silent Night | Franz Gruber, arr. Stephen Paulus
Sing We Now Of Christmas | Trad. French, arr. Fred Prentice, acc. Carol Barnett
Fourteen Angels | Jeffrey Van
Ding Dong! Merrily On High | Trad. French, arr. C. Wood, descant P. Rutenberg
One Gift | Glenn L. Rudolph
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly | Trad. Polish, arr. Matthew Culloton
Love Came Down At Christmas | Howard Helvey
Midnight Clear | Russell Schulz­-Widmar

—Steven Ritter