“Opera star Angelika Kirchschlager sings the most beautiful and beloved Christian carols from around the world”
Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo-soprano)
Helmut Deutsch (piano)
Venice Baroque Orchestra
Recorded 12-15 September 2007 in ORF Radiokulturhaus, Vienna
Reviewed by: Greg Harvey
Reviewed: December 2008
CD No: SONY CLASSICAL
Duration: 59 minutes
The quotation lifted from this release’s presentation probably says it all. In short this very attractive selection of Carols – which lasts a little longer than Sony Classical’s information suggests – of which some are ballad-like (“The Huron Carol”, for example), finds in Angelika Kirchschlager not only a singer with a beautiful voice but also an interpreter with a sensitive approach. Not that her approach is too ‘arty’ for the settings’ essential simplicity and universality is respected; nor are John Lenehan’s orchestrations too clever.
The first nine tracks are with orchestra – a fine and colourful accompanist – and include “What Child is this”, which turns out to be the tune of ‘Greensleeves’. “Away in a Manger” needs no introduction anymore “Gloria in excelsis Deo” or “In the bleak Midwinter” (by Holst) do.
Helmut Deutsch accompanies the remainder of this recital, firstly in some of Peter Cornelius’s carols and then a couple by Engelbert Humperdinck (the original – he who created the operatic version of the Grimm brothers’ “Hänsel und Gretel”. Of course, “Silent Night” is present – here with two guitars (it seems a bit mean not to credit these musicians in the annotation).
An excerpt from J. S. Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” (with the Vienna Baroque Orchestra, recorded in 2002) completes the bill of fare, a collection of familiar and lovely pieces sung and played with love and style. Very good sound, too.