In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Displaying 51-100 of 103 items.
Review: The Grammy-award-winning Phoenix Chorale explores the magnetic music of New York-based, Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjeilo, Northern Lights contains five world premiere recordings and three choral pieces which were either commissioned, composed, or dedicated to the Phoenix Chorale. When he first heard Gjeilo's Ubi caritas, Charles Bruffy was instantly hooked, finding the music refreshing and magnetic. Bruffy brought Gjeilo's music to the Chorale and its audiences, and the response was immediate. Soon after, Gjeilo was invited to be the Chorale's first Composer-in-Residence. Phoenix, a setting of the Agnus Dei, is dedicated to Charles Bruffy and the Phoenix Chorale in honour of its fiftieth anniversary. When Gjeilo first visited the choir in Arizona, he had never been to the desert before, and the 'quiet beauty and barrenness of the landscape' moved him deeply. He describes Phoenix as 'symphonic in nature... one of those pieces where the text is very much the servant of the music, not the other way around'. In contrast, Northern Lights takes its inspiration from Gjeilo's homeland, Norway, and the 'terrible beauty' of the natural phenomenon that may be observed there. The music reflects the powerful and electric quality of the northern lights, which must have seemed both mesmerising and terrifying to people in the past when no one knew what they were, and superstition prevailed.
Songlist: The Ground , Serenity, Ubi caritas, Northern Lights, Dark Night of the Soul, The Spheres, Tota pulchra es, Prelude, Phoenix, Unicornis captivatur, Evening Prayer
Review: What a milestone! This was the 100th annual Christmas Festival Concert at this venerated institution. This CD is from the PBS television special that broadcasts nationally and has become quite the Holiday tradition in many homes across the country. A magnificent way to get into the festive mood.
Songlist: Adagio "Nimrod" (Enigma Variations), As the Dark Awaits the Dawnz, Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers, Te Deum laudamus, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Twas in the Moon of Wintertime, O Day Full of Grace, Deepest Heart, A Hymn of the Nativity, God's Word is Our Great Heritage, O Come, All Ye Faithful, Shepherd's Pipe Carol, Today the Virgin, Infant Holy , This Little Babe, Christ the Apple Tree , The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy, Noel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing , Ring Gladsome Bells , Lullaby on Christmas Eve , Psalm 50 (Movement III), Ring Out, Ye Crystal Spheres , Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart, Stay With Us (Captive and Free), Beautiful Savior
Review: African vocal collective Ladysmith Black Mambazo is known all over the world for their characteristic style of choral singing. Their music captures the uplifting soul of the South African people, as the singers harmonize on songs of the spirit, love for the homeland and the struggles they have encountered. This two disc set features a collection of favorites from the band. Included is their collaboration with Paul Simon 'Homeless,' 'Long Walk to Freedom,' 'Rain, Rain Beautiful Rain,' 'Because I Love' and a stirring rendition of 'Amazing Grace.' Most of the songs feature the vocal talents of the band without accompaniment.
Songlist: Homeless, Music Knows No Boundaries, Wimoweh Mbube, Amazing Grace, Black Is Beautiful, Kangivumanga, Wenyukela Raise Your Spirit, Liph' Iqiniso, Long Walk to Freedom , Sisesiqhingini , This Is the Way We Do, Rain, Because I Love, Dlondlobala Njalo , Love Your Neighbor, Ngingenwe Emoyen, Nkosi Yami Ngabusiswa, Wawusho Kubani?, O Mmu Beno Mmu, Dona Nobis Pacem, Hello My Baby, Lelilungelo Elakho, Sanctus (Heilig, Selingelethu Sonke
Review: On this new album, Sweet Honey In The Rock's distinctive swirl of a cappella vocals, encompassing waves of imaginative five-part harmonies and occasional solo showcases, is heard unaccompanied, aside from the quintet's hand percussion, on about half of the songs. Adorned with new arrangements by Sweet Honey's members, there are jazz standards, gospel/civil rights anthems, Afro-centric songs, show tunes, blues, and a salsa-flavored original. Interwoven throughout the presentation are the understated instrumental contributions of the trio nicknamed "the Honey Men" - Stacey Wade (musical director/piano/keyboards), Parker McAllister (upright acoustic & electric bass), Jovol Bell (drums, percussion) - who augment Sweet Honey's exhilarating, soulful voices and confident, genre-crossing dexterity.
Songlist: Breaths, Sabumoya, Come Ye, Shuku Shuku (Choo Choo Song), See Line Woman, Can't Afford to Lose My Man, If I Should Lose You, Love Me or Leave Me, Trouble in Mind, Feeling Good, The Midnight Special, Pata Pata, Freedom Suite, Oh Freedom, Come and Go with Me to That Land, I'm on My Way, Another Man Done Gone, Abbey Lincoln Medley, Down Here Below, The Music Is the Magic, Tell Me More and More and Then Some , Wild Is the Wind, Run On, Let There Be Peace, N'Diarabi, Africa Is Where My Heart Lies
That's The Way (I Like It)
Review: All male, Boston-based Contemporary a cappella quintet Ball in the House used their memorable appearance at the 1998 Harmony Sweeps Finals as a springboard to an amazing career of dynamic live shows (over 250 live performances a year) and excellent recordings ('One Night Only' will be their fifth hot-selling album in the Singers.com catalog). BITH's sound features solid, driving beatbox, hot arrangements, and sweet leads & harmonies. 18 covers, some of our favorites are a rap-flavored take on Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition,' CSN&Y's 'Love the One You're With,' the Disco hits 'Ladies Night' and 'Oh What A Night;' the mainstream radio hits 'Nothin' On You' and 'Just the Way You Are;' the Motown standards 'Ain't No Sunshine,' and 'That's the Way I Like It,' the live cut 'Waiting,' Michael Jackson's 'Billy Jean' and 'I Want You Back;' and the Seals & Crofts' 70s anthem 'Summer Breeze.' It warms our hearts to watch a top-drawer group from the Sweeps Finals grow into one of the top a cappella touring groups performing today. 'One Night Only' is a party in a CD sleeve and we're invited!
Songlist: I Don't Wanna Be, Superstition, Love The One You're With, Ladies Night, Think About It, Nothin' On You, Waiting, Beat Box Solo, Just The Way You Are, Let You Lead, Ain't No Sunshine, That's The Way (I Like It), Oh What A Night, I Want You Back, Billie Jean, Summer Breeze, Set The Mood, Falling Slowly, Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Review: Breath of Soul, David, Jesse, Tony and Jake, is an all-male a cappella contemporary quartet who bill themselves as 'Nashville's Premier Vocal Band.' '4 the record' is their 3rd album, following 2009's 'Blue Christmas' and 2010's 'Breath of Soul,' to which we gave rave reviews on the Primarily A Cappella website, commenting, 'to be this good early in their careers promises great things for BOS.' '4' is the poised, finely-crafted album of a mature group who have paid their dues and are ready to join a handful of cappella's elite groups. Some of our favorites among the 10 cuts are beautifully arranged covers of Foster the People's 'Pumped Up Kicks,' Lady GaGa's 'Bad Romance,' a fine pair of originals by tenor & vocal percussionist Jake, 'Bee' and 'Give Yourself;' The Animals' 'House of the Rising Sun,' excellent takes on a pair by Cory Hosler, 'Fix You, Fix Me' and 'My Last Season;' an impressive, sweetly-segueing medley of 'Michael Jackson vs. Queen,' Adele's 'Rollin' in the Deep,' and a soulful, harmonic take on Jason Mraz's romantic anthem 'I Won't Give Up.' Don't miss this one--Breath of Soul is smokin' hot and '4' took our breath away!
Songlist: Pumped Up Kicks, Bad Romance, Bee, House of the Rising Sun, Fix You, Fix Me, Michael Jackson vs Queen, Give Yourself, Rollin' in the Deep, My Last Season, I Won't Give Up
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Review: Of course you know Face's record, placing 2nd at both the 2005 and 2007 Harmony Sweeps Finals, and making the Finals in 2008's The Sing-Off, its first smash year. Well, we hold in our hands 'I Hear the Bells,' this elite Denver, CO-based all-male sextet's freshly-released first Christmas album, and it's wonderful! There are nine finely-crafted tunes here, the tone is set with the title tune, an original by Face tenor Stephen Ross, a rich, complex, rhythmic anthem with depth and power; another original, 'If I Think,' by Face baritone Ben Lunstad, a deeply touching hymn to peace and personal change with hypnotic African rhythms, which asks and answers a very important question: 'Am I a child of this world, can I change my ways?;' a surprising medley that seamlessly blends 'We Three Kings' and 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.' Lunstad & Ross also lend marvelous arrangements that transform 'Do You Hear What I Hear,' 'O Holy Night,' 'Little Drummer Boy,' 'Silent Night/The River Runs Slow' and 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel/On the Turning Away' medleys, and an incongruously juicy manic, live rendition of 'You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.' Each of these cuts is very special, 'I Hear the Bells' needs to be savored a number of times to fully appreciate them. The members of Face, reflecting on their 10 years together: 'each of us is humbled. A magic was created that we still can't explain-we simply enjoy it and nurture it.' We can only add, 'one of the best Christmas albums we have heard!'
Songlist: I Hear The Bells, Do You Hear What I Hear?, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, O Holy Night, If I Think, O Come O Come Emmanuel, On The Turning Away, Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night / River Runs Slow, You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch
Review: Winners of the 2013 Boston Harmony Sweepstakes this group is the latest addition to the Contemporary A cappella league. Inspired by the wealth of new talent in the a cappella world, they have worked hard to find their voice and put a unique stamp on the Boston a cappella scene. They pride themselves in creating many original arrangements. Full review to come shortly.
Songlist: Seven Nation Army, Stereo Hearts, Dreaming With a Broken Heart, Lazy Song, People Get Ready, Forget You, Geek in the Pink, Settle Down, Circus
Review: Formed over 30 years ago and one of the very early contemporary a cappella The Flying Pickets are still going strong today and continue to tour extensively across Europe. The group members have changed over the years but the level of excellence has stayed consistent and it easy to tell listening to this fine recording why they have remained popular for all these years. Each one of these Christmas tunes is creatively arranged along with the strong voices makes for a delightful holiday treat. This recording deserves to be in your collection.
Songlist: 2000 Miles, Ding Ding Merrily On High, Shine, Little Drummer Boy, I Believe In Father Christmas, Christmas Present, Very Good King, In The Bleak Mid Winter, Christmas Lullaby, Alleujah, Silent Night, Frosty The Snowman, Only You
Review: Groundbreaking southern California winners of NBC's The Sing-Off, season 3, mixed (1 woman, 4 men) quintet Pentatonix has re-addressed the a cappella envelope with their transformation of pop hits and innovative arrangements. Just in time for the season, the group ducked into the recording studio and left this brightly-wrapped all a cappella 6-song EP under our tree, and we have to say, PTX has re-invented the Christmas album! Cut 1 is a stunning, beatboxed, hip-hopped, driving version of 'Angels We Have Heard On High' that is unlike any carol we've ever heard; #2, 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel' is a powerfully dramatic, rhythmic arrangement with roaring wind effects; #3 'Carol Of The Bells' drives and soars like Santa after a few drinks on the Interstate, #4 'The Christmas Song' is a bluesy finger-popper with a sweet tenor lead and even some faux trombone; #5 'O Holy Night' is more traditional, harmonic, soaring and sweet, and #6 'This Christmas' is a romantic, driving pop hit that promises big changes in the relationship this season. Pentatonix clearly has the vocal chops, arranging talent and the (circular Christmas tree ornaments) to use them. Watch out, Santa!
Songlist: Angels We Have Heard on High, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Carol of the Bells, The Christmas Song, O Holy Night, This Christmas
Review: Stunning a cappella renditions of classic movie themes from Psycho to Taxi Driver to The Social Network. A one of a kind opportunity to experience some cinematic soundtracks in an extraordinary new way. Epic and evocative scores have been ingeniously recreated utilizing layers of remarkably inventive vocals. Far from a mere novelty, these interpretations retain every bit of emotional resonance and inspirational might as the originals.
Songlist: Rebel Without A Cause, God's Lonely Man, Cool Hand Luke, Cinema Paradiso, A Fistful Of Dollars Theme, Psycho Main Title, Goldfinger, Carlotta's Galop, It Might Be You, The Planet Krypton, Superman Theme, My Bodyguard, Pascal's Walt, Calling You, Hand Covers Bruise, This Is Not America
Review: How does an a cappella legend sound? Judging by Rockapella's 'Motown & More,' more sweet, tight, soulful and rockin' than ever! Having grown up 50 miles from the Motor City, this reviewer was weaned on the Motown sound, which dominated the top 40 airwaves with wonderful artists like the Temptations, the Supremes, the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder. So here come the hits on 'Motown & More,' and they are to the original tunes like little Michael Jackson was to himself on 'Thriller.' Tight Vocal Percussion replaces drum sets, of course, but Scott Leonard's arrangements of standards like 'Brick House,' 'Papa Was A Rollin' Stone,' '(Stop) The Love You Save,' 'My Cherie Amour,' 'Dancing In The Street,' 'Use Ta Be My Girl,' 'My Girl,' 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg' and 'Just My Imagination' (which segues smoothly into a sample of John Lennon's 'Imagine'), is the '& More' here! Let's be frank, Scott, Jeff, George, John & Steven could sing rings around most of the early Motown vocalists, and we're hearing exactly how amazing so-called 'covers' can be, when re-invented by one of our favorite, and still one of the premier a cappella bands in the world, Rockapella. We loved this album from start to finish, especially because we have loved Motown ever since we were big enough to reach the faux-chrome radio knob on our '64 Comet. Great stuff!
Songlist: Blame It On The Boogie, Brick House, Papa Was A Rollin' Stone, (Stop) That Love You Save, Dancing Machine, Pretty Much You, My Cherie Amour, Dancing in the Street, Use Ta Be My Girl, My Girl, Ain't To Proud to Beg, Just My Imagination
Review: This is the debut album from the adventurous and renowned vocal octet Roomful of Teeth. From the neo-alpine yodel on Rinde Eckert's "Cesca's View" to Caleb Burhans's stirring post-minimalist take on bel canto singing in "No", the album breathes fresh life into the a cappella landscape. One of this generation's most dynamic vocal talents, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, contributes two electrifying songs that explore a range of world-inspired grooves. African pygmy yodels, Inuit rhythmic pulsing, Appalachian hymn tunes, and bracing Eastern European belting all filter through Garbus's powerful compositional voice. For her Pulitzer Prize-winning four-part composition Partita for 8 Voices, Caroline Shaw uses her insider vantage as a Roomful of Teeth vocalist to create a sonically exquisite and emotionally charged journey through the ensemble's soundworld.
Songlist: Passacaglia, Amid the Minotaurs, Montmartre, No, Courante, AEIOU, The Orchard, Cesca's View, Allemande, Quizassa, Sarabande, Runaway, Ansa Ya
Review: The 2012 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions are one of the most exciting groups to have won the event in several years. Dynamic performances, creative arrangements and powerful vocals combine to make them one of the a cappella groups most likely to break into the mainstream. A full review will be coming shortly.
Songlist: Circle of Life, Listen to the Music, Keep Your Head Up, Little Black Dress, Not Over You, Ordinary People, Not Over You, Do I?, Your Man, On Your Love, I Will Survive, And So It Goes
Review: Under The Influence sees the acclaimed a cappella group reimagining a selection of their all-time favorite songs alongside many of the superstar artists and undisputed music icons that made them famous. Produced by Mark Kibble, founding member of the legendary a cappella group Take 6 and one of Straight No Chaser's primary influences, the album includes unprecedented collaborations with some of popular music's best and brightest - including Phil Collins, Dolly Parton, Rob Thomas, Seal, and Jason Mraz - as Straight No Chaser put their distinctive and inimitable spin on songs known and loved the world over.
Songlist: I Want You Back, Rolling In The Deep, Against All Odds , Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours), Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Some Nights/We Are Young, I Won't Give Up, This Is How A Heart Breaks, Kiss From A Rose, Jolene
Since U Be Gone
Review: Set in the world of collegiate a cappella the hit new movie Pitch Perfect features made-for-movie a cappella groups The Treblemakers, The Barden Bellas and the BU Harmonics. This well-produced CD includes all the a cappella singing from the movie and loaded with new takes on old favorites, to hits of right now that are seamlessly mixed together, mashed-up and fabulously arranged.
Songlist: Don't Stop The Music, Let It Whip, Since U Be Gone, Cups, Riff Off, Micky, Like A Virgin, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, S&M, Let's Talk About Sex, I'll Make Love To You, Feels Like The First Time, No Digerty, The Sign, Eternal Flame, Turn The Beat Around, Right Round, Just The Way You Are, Just A Dream, Party In The USA, Bright Lights, Bigger City, Magic, Price Tag, Don't You (Forget About Me), Give Me Everything, Just The Way You Are
Bollywood Jingle Bells
Review: Pride of Orlando, FL since their beginnings there as a barbershop act, and close friends of Mickey 'The Mouse,' all-male quintet VoicePlay, formerly calling themselves 42Five, brings us 'Peppermint Winter,' their joyous new Christmas CD! There are 17 songs here, with a handful of standards such as 'Deck The Halls,' 'I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas,' 'Santa Clause Is Coming To Town,' a hip, swingin' 'Here Comes Santa Claus,' 'Christmas Island,' 'Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,' 'The Christmas Song,' 'Silent Night' and 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.' All these are made to sound new by innovative arrangements and 'altered' lyrics, such as 'Fat Man's Comin', Fat Man's Comin'...,' and faux horns & whistles on 'Christmas Island,' for instance. Other songs are new to us, 'Holiday Road,' the bouncy 'Season's Greetings,' the manic, silly 'Bollywood Jingle Bells,' the title tune, 'Somewhere In My Memory' 'Santa and I Know It,' ''Zat You, Santa Claus' and a Hanukkah tune, 'Left to Right.' VoicePlay knows all about thrilling audiences and bringing holiday cheer, so pick up 'Peppermint Winter,' a happy gift to yourself and your whole family!
Songlist: Deck The Halls, Holiday Road, I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming To Town, Christmas Island, Season's Greetings, Here Comes Santa Claus, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, Left To Right, Bollywood Jingle Bells, Peppermint Winter, The Christmas Song, Silent Night, Somewhere in My Memory, Santa And I Know It, 'Zat You, Santa Claus, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Review: Formerly known as 42Five, Orlando, FL-based all-male a cappella quintet Voiceplay began singing together as a streetcorner barbershop act in 2000 has now evolved into an internationally acclaimed touring sensation! Earl, Layne, Geoff, Tony and Eli have individually and collectively been singing and performing for 'The Mouse' as he is affectionately known around the Magic Kingdom since growing up in Orlando, and now they have re-imagined their act as a full-blown stage show, using nothing but the human voice! Wonderful arrangements, tight, roller-coaster harmonies, humorous on-stage theatrics-these shows, and recordings of them like 'Once Upon an Ever After' have delighted audiences across the country. There are 8 'songs' here, which is in quotes because the second cut , for instance, 'The King Has Returned,' contains marvelous renditions of 'Circle of Life,' 'Hakuna Matata,' 'Just Can't Wait to Be King' and 'Be Prepared;' and cut 4, 'Tale as Old as Time' has 'Be Our Guest,' 'Gaston' and 'Beauty and the Beast.' Other song/collections are 'Pumpkins, Poppins and Sorcerers' and 'Diamond in the Rough.' Single songs include 'Celebrate You,' 'Grim Grinning Ghosts,' 'This is Halloween,' 'When You Wish Upon A Star' and bonus track 'Rango.' If you and/or your children love these movies, you will certainly love 'Once Upon an Ever After! And if you're into cutting-edge a cappella and entertainment, please 'Be Our Guest!'
Songlist: Celebrate You, The King Has Returned, Grim Grinning Ghosts, Tale As Old As Time, Pumpkins, Poppins & Socereres, Diamond in the Rough, This Is Halloween, When You Wish Upon A Star, Rango
Just the Way You Are
Review: We've loved Utah's own all-male a cappella sextet Eclipse since their strong performances at the 2001 and 2002 Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael. Since then the group has toured extensively in the US and Asia, released 6 strong, award-winning CDs, and gained many fans with live performances on YouTube. After recording 'It's Christmas Time,' their second Christmas album, the group was quickly back in the recording studio to record this beautiful 5-song EP, 'Got It Covered,' all covers wonderfully arranged by Patrick Rose. Mat Kearney's 'Ships in the Night' is a soaring a cappella masterpiece; Ed Sheeran's poignant 'Lego House' shows off Eclipse's wealth of musical talent; Jason Mraz's powerful 'I Won't Give Up' is as deep and richly harmonic as we've ever heard it; Art Levine and Bruno Mars' joyous' Just the Way You Are' is a feel-good winner; and Michael Buble's 'Haven't Met You Yet' is a sunny musical walk in the park, guaranteed to chase whatever blues you may have. Consider 'Got It Covered' as a tasty best-of sampler of Eclipse, who we consider to be one of a cappella's elite performing and recording groups. Don't miss this one!
Songlist: Ships in the Night, Lego House, I Won't Give Up, Just the Way You Are, Haven't Met You Yet
Review: Bobby McFerrin brings it all back home with his new album, spirityouall, re-imagining Americana with beloved spirituals and original songs. Bobby invites us along on his everyday search for grace, wisdom, and freedom, embracing bluegrass and the baroque, heartfelt lyrics and wordless melodies, joy and sorrow. He throws some unexpected new ingredients into the melting pot and invites us to sing together through life's trials and triumphs. Across genres, across boundaries, across generations, spirityouall raises the roof with joyful grooves.
Songlist: Everytime, Swing Low, Joshua, Fix Me Jesus, Woe, I Shall Be Released, Whole World, Gracious, 25:15, Wade, Glory, Jesus Makes It Good, Rest / Yes Indeed
The Christmas Song
Review: We will never forget the way these two men and two women from Australia, members of Vocal Jazz group The Idea of North, whose reputation as the best a cappella group in Australia preceded them, strode onto the stage of the 2003 Harmony Sweeps National Finals in San Rafael. They would be the very last to perform a 12-minute set, and the regional winners from around the country, many of whom had performed to standing ovations by the sold-out audience, had set the bar incredibly high. But their first sweet notes were a revelation, and after ION's own roaring standing O, it was obvious to all who the audience favorite and National Champions were. There are 12 tunes here, some of our favorites are a bluesy, finger-popping take on 'The Christmas Song,' 'Christmas Medley,' which blends 'Once in Royal David's City,' 'God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen' and 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' with innovative arrangements; a gentle lullaby new to our ears, 'The Silver Stars are In the Sky' touched and moved us; 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a big-band accompanied celebration; two Salsa band-accompanied versions of 'Mary's Boy Child,' one featuring James Morrison, and a pair of lovely, soaring, orchestra-accompanied songs, 'Candlelight Carol' and 'A Child is Born.' The Pop-flavored title tune is also new to us, a joyous, Jazz band-accompanied greeting to the season. The a cappella 'Angel' with its powerful 'in the arms of the angel' chorus underscores the probable meanness of the nativity. We hold The Idea of North in a special place in our hearts and relate to 'This Christmas' as a gift from this extraordinary quartet!
Songlist: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song, Candlelight Carol, Mary's Boy Child, This Christmas, Angel, The Silver Stars are in the Sky, Once in Royal David's City, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, A Child Is Born, Poverty, I'll Be Home For Christmas
One Minute More
Review: 'Extraordinary Tale' is a marvelously packaged CD that underscores why we love CDs over downloaded mp3s or such. The jewel case folds out to 6 panels, which are all decorated with moody, lowbrow children's book illustrations of mechanical birds, patchwork metal whales, and the group as children in a red-striped boat on a curly-cued sea. Inside a slot is a folded treasure map, where we see an old victrola, spouting fishes, the mechanical birds are singing, and the whale spouts a microphone-a metaphor on the group's experience as the top a cappella group in Australia, perhaps? The different islands on the map have the names of the 13 songs on them, plus the running times. On the flipside of that are the names of the singers, Sally, Naomi, Nick and Andrew, plus the welcome disclaimer: 'This is an a cappella recording. All the sounds on this album were produced by the voices and/or bodies of the ION.' For those not familiar with mixed Vocal Jazz quartet ION, they blew in from Down Under and won the 2003 Harmony Sweeps, and we joined everyone in the sold-out audience in becoming their fans for life. Our favorites among the 13 cuts? Their bluesy, scattish take on Chick Corea's 'Armando's Rhumba,' an understated, deliciously melodic, jazzy hit on the Swing tune 'Don't Wait Too Long,' a heartbreakingly fine soprano lead and background harmonics on Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now,' Sting's 'La Belle Dame Sans Regrets' riffs into an unbelievable lovely scat tapestry; Lennon and McCartney's 'In My Life' fits perfectly into the poignant mood. Group member Andrew Piper gives us a rare, wonderful original, 'One Minute More,' Duke Ellington's 'It Don't Mean A Thing' has a vocal muted trumpet and a vocal percussion solo that you should hear; Ray Charles' 'Hallelujah I Love Her So,' Stevie Wonder's 'Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer,' Sinead O'Connor's 'In This Heart,' Aretha Franklin's 'Since You've Been Gone' and Peter Allen's 'I Still Call Australia Home' are all amazing but this review has gotten absurdly long. Treat yourself to 'Extraordinary Tale,' and thank us later!
Songlist: Armando's Rhumba, Don't Wait Too Long, Both Sides Now, La Belle Dame Sans Regret, In My Life, One Minute More, It Don't Mean A Thing, Hallelujah I Love Her So, Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer, Give Me The Simple Life, In This Heart, Since You've Been Gone, I Still Call Australia Home
Almost Like Being in Love
Review: The Grammy Award-winning vocal group New York Voices celebrates its 25th anniversary presenting their first full live album with New York Voices Live offering a collection of past favorites and brand new arrangements. A live recording from a concert at the Kolner Philharmonie in Cologne, Germany with the world famous WDR Big Band Cologne, this long-awaited release opens the group's 2013 celebratory year with a bang. New to their repertoire are a jazz rendition of the Annie Lennox pop tune 'Cold,' Darmon Meader's cappella vocal arrangement of the classic Lerner & Lowe standard 'Almost Like Being In Love,' and a swinging take of the Broadway staple 'Love Me or Leave Me.'
Songlist: Baby Driver, Stolen Moments, Love Me or Leave Me, Cold, The World Keeps You Waiting, I Do It For Your Love, Darn That Dream, Almost Like Being in Love, The Sultan Fainted
Let It Snow
Review: A sublime present from one of our favorite groups of all time, Sweden's veteran, groundbreaking mixed-voice Vocal Jazz quintet the Real Group. 'The World for Christmas' is their second holiday album since the critically acclaimed and heavily awarded 'En Riktig Jul.' What we particularly love about this CD is that they've divided the 13 tunes into two parts, 'a relaxed part and an upbeat part, so you can easily choose the Christmas feeling you want to experience! Many of the songs have a little of both, like Mel Torme's 'The Christmas Song' and the sexy, funny, jazzy 'Santa Baby' with some lovely faux horns. Other favorites are, in the relaxed group, Joni Mitchell's sweet, poignant 'River,' group stalwart Anders Edenroth's wonderful, thought-provoking title tune, 'Silent Night' and beautiful Swedish Christmas songs 'Nu Tandas Tusen Juleljus' and 'Glans Over Sjo Och Strand.' Favorites in the upbeat section are a marvelous arrangement of Sammy Cahn's 'Let It Snow,' a bluenote, laid back rendition of 'Sleigh Ride,' the traditional Swedish carol 'Drang-Stalle,' bright, sweet 'Julen Ar Har,' and 'Fina Paket,' all arranged by Anders, and the ringing, infectious round,'Julfemman.' with extensive, colorful liner notes with shapshots showing the group members celebrating Christmas as children and finally together as a group. 'The World for Christmas' is like 13 gifts in a single jewel box-simply give the box to your loved ones, and join them for any number of Christmases opening and marveling at each gift at your leisure!
Songlist: Nu Tandas Tusen Juleljus, The Christmas Song, River, Silent Night, The World For Christmas, Glans Over Sjo Och Strand, Santa Baby, Let It Snow, Drang-Stalle, Sleigh Ride, Julen Ar Har, Julfemman, Fina Paket
Nobody But Yourself
Review: We loved New York City's own 3 men, 2 women Vocal Jazz quintet West Side 5 at the 2010 Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael, their first self-titled EP album, and 'West Side 5,' this remarkable 12-cut debut CD! The 5 have the kind of sophisticated, buttery jazz harmonies, sweet original arrangements of jazz, pop, show tunes and bossa nova songs and some of the best faux horns we've heard. Some favorites are Billy Strayhorn's 'Take the A Train,' the Disney standard 'Someday My Prince Will Come,' Sammy Cahn's 'Call Me Irresponsible' and 'I Fall In Love Too Easily;' George Shearing's 'Lullabye of Birdland,' Jones/Schmidt's poignant 'Try to Remember,' Hupfeld's 'As Time Goes By,' Tim Eller's bright, scattish 'Self-Absorbed, and Newley/Bricusse's 'Pure Imagination.' 'If they can make it there, they'll make it anywhere' is absolutely true, and Lara, Sara, John, Eric & Steven are commonly compared to such elite groups as the Real Group and New York Voices. Great jazz, album and group, don't miss this one!
Songlist: Take the A-Train, Someday My Price Will Come, Nobody But Yourself, Wave, Call Me Irresponsible, In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Lullaby of Birdland, As Times Goes By, Try To Remember, Self-Absorbed, I Fall In Love Too Easily, Pure Imagination
Review: Other year, another great contest! Showing how this wonderful musical form is spreading across the world this year both the gold winners (Ringmasters - Germany) and silver Musical Island Boys (New Zealand) were from overseas. Bronze went to A Mighty Wind.
Songlist: So In Love (From Kiss Me Kate), If I Can Dream, The Curtain Falls, This Can't Be Love, Old Fashioned Girl/Sweet And Lovely (Medley), Between You And The Birds And The Bees And Cupid, Fit As A Fiddle, What Do I Need With Love? (From Thoroughly Modern Millie), Born To Be Blue, Medley: When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again/Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree, Little Pal, Nothing Can Change This Love, Hard Hearted Hannah (The Vamp Of Savannah), The Sweetheart Of Sigma Chi, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, Play That Barbershop Chord, The Very Thought Of You, Ride Red Ride, Love Me, Seventy-Six Trombones
Review: Many men sang very well! Must of been that Pacific Northwest rain loosening up the vocal chords. Ambassadors of Harmony won top honors, Great Northern Union took silver and Kentucky Vocal Union claimed bronze.
Songlist: No Other Love, I Heard You Cried Last Night, Footloose, You Are So Beautiful , Cavemen #2 Medley, Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey, I Have Dreamed, Peter Pan Medley, Small Fry, There Is Nothin' Like A Dame/Honey Bun Medley, 'Cross That Mason Dixon Line, Runnin' Wild! , Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue, West Side Story Medley, Requiem For A Pal, Just A Kid Named Joe, Fit As A Fiddle, Royal Garden Blues, All The Way, Love Walked In
Mary, Did You Know?
Review: How do you create a Sweet Adelines Supergroup? Take Nancy and Jeannine from Gold medalists City Lights, Karen of Gold winner Jubilation and Debbie, wearing her Showtime Gold, add a cool motto: 'Four Parts, One Voice,' pick an ultra-cool name, stir vigorously and turn up the heat in top-drawer competition in Indianapolis in 2004. Wow judges, who name you 2005 Queens of Harmony, then continue to stir audiences and make hot recordings! 'Jingle BUZZ' is a 12-song Christmas Album, some of our favorites would include standards 'Jingle Bells,' 'I'll Be Home For Christmas,' 'Mary Did You Know,' 'I Wonder As I Wander' (featuring a wonderful guest lead from Jim Henry), 'Merry Christmas, Darling,' 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,' and 'What Child Is This.' Surprise winners are the rarely recorded Swing tune, 'Everybody's Waiting for the Man with the Bag' and the very funny 'Diddly Squat,' in which a 'naughty' girl bemoans her letter's response from Santa. Classic leads and harmonies, well-chosen tunes, ringing, angelic chords-this is holiday cheer from the first cut to the last. 'Jingle BUZZ' is great entertainment by one of Sweet Adelines' true Supergroups, sure to bring a welcome buzz to your house!
Songlist: Jingle Bells, I'll Be Home For Christmas, A Quartet Christmas, Mary, Did You Know?, Fa-La-La, I Wonder As I Wander, Everybody's Waiting For The Man With The Bag, Mary Had A Baby, Diddly Squat, Merry Christmas Darling, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa, What Child Is This?
Review: Bettys tenor Joan, lead Lynda, baritone Heather and bass Cori placed 7th at the 2004 Sweet Adelines Internationals in Indianapolis, 3rd in Detroit in 2005, 2nd in Las Vegas in 2006 and finally won Gold in 2007 in Alberta, Canada! 'Betty Holidays' is a generous Christmas collection of 17 tunes, including three nice Hanukkah songs, 'Eight Candles,' 'Hanukkah Medley' and 'Chanukah, O Chanukah.' There's a lot of favorite carols here, 'Joy to the World,' 'Coventry Carol,' 'Carol of the Bells,' 'Carol Medley,' 'Pat-a-pan' and 'Go Tell it on the Mountain.' Pop favorites include 'Winter Wonderland,' 'Do You Hear What I Hear,' 'Jingle Bell Rock' and 'Peace on Earth/Drummer Boy Medley.' The Bettys are all about sweet harmonies and great entertainment, and there's something on 'Betty Holidays' for everyone - enjoy!
Songlist: Joy To The World / O Come All Ye Faithful, Winter Wonderland, Coventry Carol, Eight Candles, Carol of The Bells, Do You Hear What I Hear?, Merry Christmas Darling, Jingle Bell Rock, Veni, Veni Emmanuel, Hanukkah Medley, Carol Medley, Chanukah, O Chanukah, Peace on Earth / Drummer Boy, Pat-a-pan, CHRISTmas, Christmas Chopsticks, Go Tell It On The Mountain
All The Glory
Review: Four sweet-harmonizing young Christian men - Brandon Guyton, his brother Chad, Lester Rector and Jayson VanHook, otherwise known as Four Voices, have put their hometown of Cleveland, TN on the Barbershop map. First singing together in Lee University's acclaimed Voices of Lee, the newly-formed quartet turned quite a few heads by winning SPEBSQSA's 1996 Collegiate and 1999 Dixie District Championships and singing well at the Nationals, their first step into the International top ten was winning the Gold at the 2002 convention in Portland! Since then the popular group has toured extensively, taking their distinctive, smoothly blended sound, passionate delivery and exciting arrangements to delighted audiences in concert halls, corporate venues and churches across the globe. 'III' follows 'Four Voices' and 'Four Voices II' not just in order, but in feeling, quality and pure musicality. Favorites among these 12 tunes could easily include them all, but we'll arbitrarily pick the soulful 'I Believe,' poignant 'Nearer My God to Thee,' triumphant 'How Great Thou Art,' Lennon/McCartney's 'Oh Darlin',' a light-hearted 'Sesame Street' and, in further tribute to their 16-member Collegiate group, 'For God So Loved the World,' sung with Voices of Lee (lightly guitar accompanied). 'III' is simply a beautiful, inspirational album - don't miss this one!
Songlist: I'll Live in Glory, Oh Darlin', Nearer My God to Thee, South, How Great Thou Art, Sesame Street, Great Day, Bless This House, All That Jazz, All The Glory, I Believe, For God So Loved the World
Review: Sweet Adelines 2012 International Quartet Champions, also known as 'Queens of Harmony' Martini is actually an international voices across the border phenomenon, with Bass Shannon Harris and tenor Corinna Garriock hailing from Canada, and lead Michelle Shoemaker and baritone DeAnne Haugen from the United States. The group first got together in 2007 with a different tenor and lead, and placed 8th in the world 2008 in Honolulu. Michelle joined the group in early 2010, and Martini placed 5th in Seattle after just a few months of rehearsal. Then in January 2011, Corinna joined the group, and 6 rehearsals later, created magic in Houston, being crowned Queens! 'Shaken, Stirred & Crowned' is a 13-song 'best-of' collection that celebrates Martini's remarkable rise. Favorites are a pair of live standards, 'How Are Things In Glocca Morra' and 'My Baby Just Cares For Me' (with some very funny asides); a nice arrangement of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah,' the Mancini brothers' 'Sometimes,' M. James' pop hit 'Hooked On A Feeling,' C. McVie's 'Songbird,' Lerner & Lowe's 'If Ever I Would Leave You,' George Gershwin's 'Somebody Loves Me,' a nice cover of J. Lynne's 'Mr. Blue Sky,' R. Gaylord's 'I Will Never Pass This Way Again' and the lovely traditional tune 'The Parting Glass.' Martini has the song selection, tight harmonies, sweet leads, powerful stage presence and ringing chords of which champions are made. Don't miss this 'best-of' by Sweet Adelines' Best!
Songlist: Mr Blue Sky, Somebody Loves Me, If Ever I Would Leave You, Songbird, Hooked On A Feeling, Sometimes, One By One, Charmed Life, Hallelujah, How Are Things In Glocca Morra?, My Baby Just Cares For Me, I Will Never Pass This Way Again, The Parting Glass
Nice & Easy
Review: Rob, Patrick, Alan and Brett have all enjoyed great success with other Barbershop groups. Tenor Rob Menaker graduated from the UCLA Men's Glee Club to a number of groups, culminating in a 1996 International Championship with Nightlife. He also won 6 chorus championships with The Masters of Harmony. Lead Patrick Haedtler sang with 2007 International Chorus Champs The Westminster Chorus, and with 2009 International semifinalists The Crush. Baritone Alan Gordon also sang with the Masters, which led to his joining Gotcha!, 2004 Quartet Champions. Bass Brett Littlefield anchored Nightlife's 1996 Championship with Rob, and sang with the Masters for 20 years. Brett and Rob are among the few men who have won a Barbershop Quartet and Chorus Championship on the same day! Now singing together as Masterpiece, the new group attracted a lot of attention by placing fourth at this year's Portland Convention, and they celebrated by releasing their debut album, 'Nice & Easy.' Every one of these 12 songs, including favorites 'Nice & Easy,' Blood, Sweat & Tears' 'Hi-De-Ho,' 'Deed I Do,' 'Stormy Weather,' 'San Fernando Valley,' 'Tennessee Waltz,' 'Sweet Pea,' 'Joyfully I'll Travel On' and 'At the Crossroads;' is masterful, if you will--funny, poignant, nostalgic, powerful and filled with unbelievable ringing chords and harmonies. It adds up to great entertainment-don't miss this one!
Songlist: Bang Goes the Drum, Nice & Easy, Deed I Do, The Heather on the Hill, Stormy Weather, Hi-De-Ho, San Ferdando Valley, Tennessee Waltz, Where've You Been?, Sweet Pea, Joyfully I'll Carry On, At The Crossroads
59th Street Bridge Song
Review: Beautiful, blonde Stacey, Jennifer, Gretchen and Amy, Moxie Ladies (we love that name!), won the Gold at the Sweet Adelines International Quartet Championship for 2009 in November 2008 in Honolulu Hawaii against very strong competition. This is their first album of 10 songs, which one critic described as 'fun, fresh and exciting,' and we can only add, 'sweet harmonies, strong leads and ringing chords that make the hairs on the back of our neck stand up!' Some favorites are Barbershop standards 'Top of the World,' a live cut, 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love/L-O-V-E Medley;' Hanley & Buck's 'My Man,' Paul Simon's '59th Street Bridge Song,' and Delugg & Stein's 'Orange-Colored Sky. We also loved Jim Connor's 'Grandma's Feather Bed' and Dottie Rambo's 'When I Lift Up My Head.' This is great entertainment by one of Sweet Adelines' finest quartets!
Songlist: Top of the World, Birth of the Blues, I Can't Give You Anything But Love/L-O-V-E Medley, It's You, Grandma's Feather Bed, My Man, Midnight Seranade, 59th Street Bridge Song, Orange Colored Sky, When I Lift Up My Head
Love Potion Number 9
Review: Pride of Branson, MO, 5-man a cappella band Cat's Pajamas has been sharpening their live show since 2005, and it shows bigtime! These 13 songs are pure entertainment, from soul hits like James Brown's 'I Feel Good,' pop hits like Del Shannon's 'Run Around Sue,' 'Love Potion Number 9' and 'Earth Angel;' Roy Orbison's 'Pretty Woman' and the Drifters' 'Up On The Roof;' Doo-Wop classics like 'Stand By Me' and 'Blue Moon;' and even a sweet reggae medley of 'Kiss the Girl' and Van Morrison's 'Brown Eyed Girl'-these are great covers and fun stuff. Enjoy!
Songlist: I Feel Good, Oh What A Night, Love Potion Number 9, Run Around Sue, Stand By Me, Pretty Women, Blue Moon, Kiss The Girl, When The Sun Goes Down, The Joker, Earth Angel, Up On The Roof, My Old Man
Review: Jackson, Paul, Kim, Joe, Gary, Dan and Rick have at least two things in common: they're all wonderful Doo-Wop singers, and they're earning a lot of fans in Arizona! 'Burgers, Shakes Doo-Wop,' contains 16 pretty straightforward covers of Doo-Wop standards like Bob Gaudio's 'Sherry,' Brian Wilson's 'Little Deuce Coupe,' Fred Parris' 'In the Still of the Night,' Hart & Rodgers' 'Blue Moon,' 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight…' this album might have been called 'Greatest Doo-Wop Hits of All Time!' These 7 guys (MC6 plus 1?) absolutely nail every song, and the additional voices add more richness and depth to the harmonies. Other favorites are 'Up on the Roof' and 'One Fine Day' by Carole King and Gerry Goffin; 'Runaround Sue' by Ernie Maresca and Dion Dimucci, Al Yankovic's very silly 'Since You've Been Gone,' Del Shannon's 'I Go to Pieces,' Billy Joel's 'The Longest Time' and the album closes with Harmony Sweeps audience favorite 'Goodnight Sweetheart' by James Hudson and Calvin Carter. MC6 clearly loves Doo-Wop and entertaining us, and, like the burgers and shakes we remember, it's all big fun and delicious!
Songlist: Sherry, 409 / Little Deuce Coupe, Come Go With Me, In The Still Of The Night, Blue Moon, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Surfer Girl, Up On The Roof, Runaround Sue, One Fine Day, Since You've Been Gone, Teenager In Love, So Much In Love, I Go To Pieces, The Longest Time, Goodnight Sweetheart
Review: Mesa, AZ's own all-male sextet MC6 brings us a sweet and upbeat Doo-Wop holiday CD of 11 songs, entitled 'Christmas.' 'Away in a Manger' is reinvented as a finger-popping Doo-Wop standard with soaring leads, 'Candlesong' is a romantic holiday torch tune perfect for slow dancing, and 'Feliz Navidad' and 'Sleigh Ride' are spirited, richly harmonic covers. Other favorites are 'White Christmas,' which channels Bing Crosby's droll, chocolaty baritone and sparkling tenor backup, 'Let It Snow' is as bright and romantic as a yule log on the fire, and we hardly recognized, but enjoyed the new arrangement of 'Silent Night.' 'Away in a Manger' is richly harmonic and traditionally beautiful, 'Mary Did You Know' is nicely arranged and thought-provoking, and 'He is Born' closes the collection with an inspiring, harmonic gem. If you love authentic Doo-Wop and Christmas, don't miss this one!
Songlist: Away In A Manger, Candlesong, Feliz Navidad, Sleigh Ride, White Christmas, Let It Snow, Silent Night, Away In A Manger (traditional), Mary Did You Know, He Is Born
Review: Doo wop in Texas? You bet! Hailing from the San Antonio area these five guys are keeping the doo wop sound alive in the Lone Star state. Classic vintage harmony (with a twang).
Songlist: I Want To Be Loved, Little Star, This Boy, Diamonds and Pearls, Cruise to the Moon, Book of Love, A Thousand Miles Away, Sincerely, Lonely Guy, Little Girl of Mine
Review: Brian, Nate, Brad, Nathaniel, Mike and Nate are five-man a cappella band from Branson, MO who entered the national spotlight in 2005 when they placed in the top 10 while performing their Oreo Cookie Jingle for Randy Jackson. Since then they have been touring the world, and now perform over 200 shows per year in Branson and throughout the U.S. They have been seen on multiple TV shows, cruise ships and performing arts centers around the world, and were recently picked to compete on NBC's The Sing-Off! 'Purrfect…' is the group's first Christmas CD of 12 tunes. Favorites are a crazed, manic, very fun 'You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,' a very silly 'The Chipmunk Song' with perfect imitations of Alvin, Simon and Theodore; a jazzy, chord-bending, very Motown arrangement of 'Silver Bells;' a mellow 'White Christmas, Part 1 and jazzy, finger-popping, doo-woppy 'White Christmas, Part 2; a powerful, sweet take on 'Mary Did You Know,' 'Mustang Santa' is a big fun, soulful romp, and, after that, the incongruous but hauntingly lovely 'In the Bleak Mid Winter' features guest tenor George Dyer. We love a cappella groups who become great entertainers, and Cat's Pajamas is one of the best. Don't miss this one!
Songlist: Sleigh Ride, Winter Wonderland, O Holy Night, You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch, The Chipmunk Song, Silver Bells, White Christmas, Part 1, White Christmas, Part 2, Mary Did You Know, Mustang Santa, In The Bleak Mid Winter, Silent Night
Review: All the compositions on this CD may justifiably be classified under the noble seal of 'Romantic choral music'. Even though they are all, without exception, religious works: How multifarious were the composers' incentives, how diverse were the places and occasions, for which the Motets and Cantatas were composed! Religious music in the secular 19th century: for Anton Bruckner alone, this would have meant divine service and the cathedral. For Mendelssohn, by contrast, it would have meant festivals or concert halls as well - and for Brahms a personal dialogue with God. In the case of Joseph Rheinberger lastly, whose 'Abendlied' (Evensong) forms, from his home town of Munich, the final chord of this anthology, the Lutheran biblical text irrevocably transforms into a prayer full of genuine feeling, which would be sung in the home as well as by choral societies.
Songlist: Jauchzet Dem Herrn SAlle Welt, 100 Plam, Warum Ist Licht Gegeben, Dem Muhselgin, Lasset Uns Unser Herz, Sieha, Wir Preisen Selig, Mit Fried Und Frued Ich Fahr Dahin, Schaffe In Mir Gott, Ave Maria, Christus Factus Est, Locus Iste, Os Justi, Vexilla Regis, Virga Jesse, Abendlied
Review: A new festive release from the Choir of Jesus College Cambridge under their director Mark Williams – with additional performances from organists Robert Dixon and Timothy Lambourn, and trumpeter Rebecca Crawshaw. The programme is drawn from pieces for the festivals of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas: Of the annual Christian seasons, it is surely that from Advent to Epiphany which inspires believer and non-believer alike the most: the believer celebrates Christ's birth whilst the non-believer considers hopes for rebirth and renewal as a New Year approaches … If aspirations surrounding the arrival of a new born child are universal, the Christmas music chosen here reflects the season's inspiration through quite recent compositions, alongside music from the early part of the 20th century. -Mark Williams
Songlist: Jesus Christ the apple tree, We wait for thy loving kindness, I sing of a maiden, Advent Prose, There is no rose, Hymn to the virgin, Bright star carol, In the bleak midwinter, Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day, The shepherds carol, I Saw Three Ships, The little road to Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Sir Christemas, The Lamb, Paean on Divinum Mysterium , Epiphany, Here is the little door, Bethlehem Down, Nunc dimittis, Hymn to the Creator of Light
Review: The 2011 Christmas Concert was the 85th annual and is one of the nation's most dramatic choral Christmas celebrations.
Songlist: Nimrod from Enigma Variations, In the Beginning, God, Thou Who Wast God, Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming, O Magnum Mysterium, A Child Is Born, The Coventry Carol, The First Noel, Today Heaven Sings!, Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella, Let Our Gladness Have No End, The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy, Once In Royal David's City, Past Three A Clock, Away In A Manger, Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, Shout The Glad Tidings, Patapan, Our Father, It Is Well With My Soul, Compline
Review: Pure Elektra marks the Silver Anniversary of Elektra Women's Choir with a collection of highlights from several recent seasons of Elektra programming. All but four of the composers and arrangers are alive and well today, most of them Canadians, and all are worthy of being appreciated far and wide. This recording has two intended audiences: one of listeners who are attracted to exhilarating and moving sounds of fine choral music, and another of choral conductors who are looking to discover new repertoire for their own ensembles. Close your eyes, open your ears, and take a deep breath of Pure Elektra!
Songlist: Da Pacem, Ave Regina Coelorum , Lauda Sion, In the Gardens of Shushan, Cedit, Hyems, Magnificat, Early Spring, I Am Not Yours, Joy, Changed Forever, Un Canadien errant, The Garden of Dreams, Solitude, Le ruisseau, what i want, One Voice
Review: Few composers of any age have enjoyed the widespread admiration and unanimous praise of successive generations as Josquin Desprez. He is considered the greatest creator and innovator of musical composition during the Renaissance, and for some half a millennium his music has stood the test of time. He is remembered as much for his own works as for his lasting influence on those of his contemporaries and students, demonstrated in many of the compositions in tribute of 'the master' featured in this programme. The programme's centrepiece is Jean Richafort's Requiem mass (missa pro defunctis), a tribute that employs several of Josquin's compositional devices. The King's Singers once again demonstrate their versatility and trademark precision in this new programme devised by leading early-music scholar and conductor David Skinner.
Songlist: Musae Jovis a 4, Musae Jovis a 6, Salve regina, Dum vastos Adriae fluctus, O mors inevitabilis, Requiem in Memoriam Josquin Desprez, Introitus, Kyrie, Graduale, Offertorium, Sanctus & Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Communio, Nymphes, nappes
Review: Co-Conductors Beth Ann Bonnecroy and Rebecca Rottsolk specialize in healthy singing and development of singers' personal vocal technique, and this contributes to the free, beautiful sound their choirs achieve. Seattle's Mirinesse Women's Choir, founded in 2006, has thrilled audiences in and around northwest Washington with the lovely sound of healthy, classically-trained women's voices, singing a challenging and diverse repertoire of historic and contemporary tunes from around the world. 'Hope Sings Eternal' is the fourth excellent CD by Mirinesse, an auditioned group of women, ages 21 to 70, who were honored to perform at ACDA Conventions in Oklahoma City and Seattle, and at the 2012 Elektra Women's Tapestry Festival in 2012. There is a generous collection of 16 cuts here, some favorites are Eleanor Daly's 'A Hymn for St. Cecilia,' the traditional 'Peace Like a River,' Jaakko Mantyjarvi's lively 'Pseudo-Yoik Lite,' Nicola Porpora's 'Lauda Jerusalem,' 'Chant for Great Compassion' by Abbie Betinis, Antonio Sacchini's sweet, violin-accompanied 'Te Dum Laudamus, mvt 3,' Eric Whitacre's violin-accompanied 'She Weeps Over Rahoon,' Joan Szymko's 'The Peace of Wild Things,' David Sasso's flute and piano-accompanied 'Night' and a live cut, the clarinet and piano-accompanied Yiddish Folksong 'Ale Brider.' Most of the songs are lightly accompanied by piano and/or other instruments. 'Hope Sings Eternal' is a feel-good, soaring collection of perfectly sung tunes, and like us, we think you'll love Mirinesse!
Songlist: A Hymn for St. Cecilia, Da Pacem, Peace Like a River, Ritmo, Pseudo-Yoik Lite, Lauda Jerusalem, Tundra , A Witness to Majesty, Chant for Great Compassion, Heleluyan, Te Deum Laudamus, Magnificat, She Weeps Over Rahoon, The Peace of Wild Things, Night , Ale Brider
Review: A leading light in the world of youth choral music, the Rodolfus Choir is made up of choristers from ages 16-25 who are past and present participants of the Eton Choral Courses, begun by the choir's director Ralph Allwood in 1980. This new Christmas programme mixes the familiar with pieces not usually heard in carol services – such as Tomas Luis de Victoria's stunning eight-part 'Ave Maria' (from an edition prepared by John Rutter), and more recent works like Chris Chivers' 'Ecce Puer' and Eric Whitacre's 'Lux Aurumque'. Such a programme is well-suited to a group with the versatility and enthusiasm of the Rodolfus choir.
Songlist: Lully, lulla, The Oxen, Lullaby, my sweet little baby, The Lamb, Ecce puer, O magnum mysterium, The truth sent from above, Lux Aurumque, Lullay my liking, O magnum mysterium, O, Do not move, Alma redemptoris mater, Welcome, Yule!, Remember, O thou man, Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, Ave Maria, The Crown of Roses, Bethlehem Down, Today the Virgin
Review: The sublime new album from the star composer of the Royal Wedding. Performed by the Tenebrae Choir and also features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra the album includes the moving A Spotless Rose and Ubi Caritas, performed at the Royal Wedding. 'Paul Mealor has a deep connection with our choral heritage yet his works have immediacy and modernity. He has the rare gift of being able to create joyous melody within music that is both sincere and profound. This is an album with hints of Celtic mystery, moments of great solemnity, splendiferous singing and above all sumptuous tunes.' - Gareth Malone - Choir Master and BAFTA Award-winning BBC Presenter of The Choir
Songlist: Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal, Lady, When I Behold The Roses Sprouting, Upon A Bank, A Spotless Rose, She Walks In Beauty, O Vos Omnes, Stabat Mater, Salvator Mundi: Greater Love, Locus Iste, Ave Maria, Ubi Caritas
Review: Oslo's Trio Mediaeval presents a reconstruction of a 13th century votive Mass to the Virgin Mary, based on surviving manuscripts from a Benedictine Abbey in the English Midlands. Inserted amid the medieval music are a Credo and Benedicamus Domino specially composed for this programme by Gavin Bryars: the old and the new intermingle in the work of this vocal ensemble. Anna Maria Friman: 'The members of Trio Mediaeval feel that performing medieval music today gives us the freedom to let our imagination and ideas flow, as though we are creating contemporary music.'
Songlist: Salve sancta parens, Kyrie, Gloria, Munda Maria, Sponsa rectoris omnium, O sponsa Dei electa, O Maria virgo pia, Benedicta / Virgo Dei genitrix, Credo, Felix namque, Salve rosa florum, Grata iuvencula, Inviolata integra mater, De supernis sedibus, Dulciflua tua memoria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Beata viscera, Alma Dei genitrix, Benedicamus Domino
Review: What a wonderful collection by some of England's finest a cappella ensembles! Long-known for it's tradition of choral singing there are also smaller professional ensembles that having been performing world-class a cappella music in many cases for decades. Able to choose from the wide pool of harmony singers these ensembles have been able to maintain their excellence by replacing retiring members with new talent which also helps get the groups fresh and relevant. This budget priced CD should be a wonderful addition to your music collection.
Songlist: A Fifth of Beethoven, Hide and Seek, Weather Report, Apres un Reve, Slap that Bass, Helplessly Hoping, Steal Away, It's Sand, Man!, En Aranjuez con tu amor, This Marriage, From Russia with Love, When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease, After the Goldrush, Bachbeat, Andromeda, The Dying Soldier, Conceit, Swansongs 1, Smooth Criminal
Review: Veteran all-women septet, and one of our favorite World/Folk groups, we watched Solstice do the Bay Area proud by winning the Regional and placing 3rd in the 2007 National Finals. Urged by their friends and families to release a Holiday CD, the group finally and happily fulfilled this longtime dream, and Becca, Emily, Kim, Krista, Lark, Mari & Sara did it wonderfully! Choosing little-known, difficult classical tunes like Cortland Bender's lovely 'Rosa Mystica,' Francisco Guerrero's 'A Un Nino Llorando Al Hielo' and Thomas Weelkes' 'To Shorten Winter's Sadness,' from the 15th and 16th centuries; beautifully arranged traditional carols like Bernard de la Monnoye's 'Patapan,' 'Deck the Hall,' and Franz Gruber's 'Silent Night;' and popular Christmas songs like Vince Guaraldi's 'Christmas Time is Here,' Tommie Connor's 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' and Alfred Burt's 'Caroling, Caroling;' along with the rich traditional Hebrew song 'S'Vivon' and other favorites, make 'Winter Solstice' a very special 15-cut collection that is sure to brighten your holiday for years to come!
Songlist: Nowell, Nowell, Out of Your Sleep, Deck the Hall, S'Vivon, Rosa Mystica, Corpus Christi Carol, Patapan, Nova, Nova, Ave Fit Ex Eva, Christmas Time is Here, Tyrley, Tyrlow!, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, A Un Nino Llorando Al Hielo, Caroling, Caroling, Jul, Jul, To Shorten Winter's Sadness, Silent Night
Review: The first male a cappella Gospel quartet to call themselves The King's Heralds were four college students from Keene, Texas in 1927. 30 different singers have carried on the amazing legacy since then. 'Time's Windin' Up' features Don, Joel, Russell and Jeff , who have 5 wonderful CDs and 1 DVD that we have reviewed. There are 12 richly harmonic, deeply felt winners here: 'Time Conscious (Jingle 1),' 'A Little Talk with Jesus,' 'Here's One,' the title tune, 'Dry Bones,' 'Precious Memories,' the lightly accompanied 'On the Jericho Road,' 'Wicked Race,' 'My God is There Controlling,' 'O, You Better Mind,' 'We Pray to Thee' and 'Time Conscious (Jingle 2).' As we found in all of the King's Heralds recordings, this is lovely, inspirational Gospel music that will lift you up and make your day!
Songlist: Time Conscious, A Little Talk With Jesus, Here's One, Time's Windin' Up, Dry Bones, Precious Memories, On The Jericho Road, Wicked Race, My God Is There Controlling, O, You Better Mind, We Pray To Thee, Time Conscious