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Christmas Music (Bright Day Star - Music for the Yuletide Season)

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Album Review

It's important to know the difference between 20th century Christmas pop and European Christmas folk carols. While favorites like "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Jingle Bells," and Mel Tormé's "The Christmas Song" are examples of American Christmas pop, Bright Day Star: Music for the Yuletide Season focuses largely on traditional European Christmas carols. Most of the songs that the Baltimore Consort embraces on this CD date back to 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th century Europe, although a few are American folk pieces that originated in Appalachia in the 20th century. The European Yuletide carols or dance songs that the Consort (which has an engaging female soprano vocalist in Custer LaRue) chose for Bright Day Star range from Irish ("The Wren Song") and British ("Drive the Cold Winter Away," "Hey, For Christmas") to German ("Wir Singen Dir, Immanuel"). All of these songs are a product of Christian traditions, and yet, one needn't embrace the Christian faith to appreciate them. Just as one can enjoy Indian ragas without being a Hindu, listeners can appreciate this CD's richness whether or not they actually celebrate Christmas.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Baltimore Consort is a small ensemble of instrumentalists and singers whose major focus has been early music, taking into account both the classical and folk realms, often blurring the distinction between the two. In the early years, its main focus was English music from the Elizabethan period, but the group soon branched out into Irish, Scottish, French, Spanish, and Italian early music. The chronological range of the repertory has generally fallen into Renaissance era, roughly spanning the...
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Christmas Music (Bright Day Star - Music for the Yuletide Season), Baltimore Consort
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