Thursday, December 10, 2009

Be Merry!

“Be Merry!”, the latest offering from Gloriae Dei Cantores, offers the joy associated with the Christmas season as well as the reverence for music that this great choir, whose name, appropriately, means Singers to the Glory of God, always brings to its recordings and performances. The songs vary from simple and powerful to gloriously magnificent. Elizabeth C. Patterson directs.

Several of the 24 selections are new to me, which is itself a treat because the same holiday music is always recorded again and again because it is so beautiful. One of these, the dramatically rendered Renaissance carol “Gaudete” (Latin for “Rejoice”), will really engage your soul. The songs that are familiar are given new twists; I love the jolly handbell version of “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” and the spirited, multilayered harmonizing of others. The spiced-up accompaniment throughout includes the Gabriel V Brass and Extol Handbell Choir, plus fifes, piano, organ, harpsichord, flute, recorder and percussion. A beautiful 24-page booklet allows the listener to sing along and provides background on the songs.

The complete listing is:

What Cheer?
Adam Lay Ybounden
Noel Nouvelet
Down in Yon Forrest
Today the Virgin
Go, Tell It on the Mountain
All This Time
Immortal Babe, Who in Thine Own Way
Shepherd’s Pipe Carol
In a Humble Cattle Shed
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
What Child Is This?
A Boy was Born
My Dancing Day
Joys Seven
Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow
Go, Tell It on the Mountain
The Snow Lay on the Ground
Ah, Bleak and Chill the Wintry Wind
We’ll Dress the House
Caroling, Caroling
Deck the Hall

Listening to Be Merry! is a blessing. It’s quite a big blessing, actually. Add it to your holiday collection.

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