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Merry Christmas - Carols from North America and Europe

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Album Review

The Vienna Choir Boys (known more colloquially to most of the world as the Vienna Boys Choir) has now been in more or less continuous existence for over 500 years, so you'd naturally expect them to sound pretty good, and so they do. Consisting of roughly 100 boys divided into four choirs of 22 to 25 voices each, all four of which are represented on this disc, the groups have a uniformly sweet and rich choral sound and amazingly smooth blend. This program of Christmas songs both familiar ("Adeste Fideles," "O Tannenbaum," "In Dulci Jubilo," etc.) and relatively obscure (the Austrian shepherd's carol "Heissa Buama," the German folk song "O Du Stille Zeit") is a perfect showcase for the boys' preternaturally lovely voices and the surprisingly sympathetic acoustics of the, er, Casino Zögernitz in Vienna, where the album was recorded. Accompanied by the excellent Ambassade Orchester Wien, the boys perform arrangements that vary from spare and simple ("Maria Durch'ein Dorchwald Ging") to lush and elegant ("Il Est Né le Divin Enfant"), sometimes within a single song ("Joy to the World"). In several cases, notably a wonderful setting of "Joy to the World," the arrangers take advantage of the choirs' sublime treble voices by writing gorgeous, soaring descants over the primary melodies. Very highly recommended.

Merry Christmas - Carols from North America and Europe, Vienna Choir Boys
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