Saint-Saëns: Christmas Oratorio, Op. 12
Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes
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||Christmas Oratorio: I. Prelude||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||3:57||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: II. Recit Et Choeur||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||5:54||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: III. Air - Expectans||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||3:25||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: IV. Air - Domine, Ego Credidi||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||3:35||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: V. Duo - Benedictus Qui Venit||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||3:50||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: VI. Choeur - Quare Fremuerunt Gentes?||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||3:53||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: VII. Trio - Tecum Principium||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||4:39||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: VIII. Quatuor - Alleluia||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||2:12||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: IX. Quintette Vocal Et Choeur - Consurge Filia Sion||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||5:59||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Christmas Oratorio: X. Choeur - Tollite Hostias||Tim Keyes Consort & Tim Keyes||1:59||$0.99||View in iTunes|
Wonderful, Truly wonderful!
This is one of my favorite Christmas works so I have many good (and not so good) recordings of this piece. This recording reminds me of many of the recordings I have that were recorded in NYC worship spaces. This is a live recording and there is apparent room tone. However, this exciting performance far outshines this minor flaw. This group's efforts (Tim Keyes Consort) breathes life into every movement . I especially enjoy the soloists chosen for this recording. Most notable is the tenor and soprano soloists who are clear and soaring in their effortless delivery of the Latin. The chorus is also especially fresh in its interpretation of the work. I give this recording an A+ and recommend it to fans of this beautiful Christmas Oratorio!
I enjoyed listening to this recording very much. If you are the type of listener who uses headphones, the ambience of this recording transports you right into the audience, and you feel as if you are there for the live event. It may be just my preference, but I've always felt that many classical recordings sanitize the live nature of the music too much, and pull the music too far away from the reality of the performance experience. Producers of live rock albums continually add more "crowd" while many times live classical music recordings "erase" them - and in doing so, remove a primary dynamic of the live experience. I also find myself appreciative of the musicians and the aspirations of this unique group to deliver such an inspired performance. This recording proves that living, breathing, music exists in the domain of the classical and that an honest and ambitious performance can be just as profound as technical perfection.
Not really a success, I'm afraid
I rarely write reviews, but after having purchased this recording, I feel I have to. I'm a professional choral director and I was looking for a recording to recommend to my choir, since we are about to sing this piece (the Christmas Oratorio) with orchestra. Sadly, I wish I hadn't bought this recording now that I've heard it. This is a live recording, with a fair amount of audience noise and hum (there are other audio problems here and there). That's not in itself a huge problem, but that's just the beginning. In spite of the professional-sounding word "Consort" in the group's name, the overall effect is basically that of a volunteer-choir with a pick-up orchestra doing the Saint-Saens in church together. Which is what most of us are doing, but probably not what most of us want to buy! The organist is often behind the beat, the choir and orchestra have occasional rough patches in terms of ensemble. I'm really not trying to slam the efforts of the musicians here -- if I heard this in my church on a "special music" Sunday, I'd probably be thrilled and thankful to have such a great local music program. But that's just the problem with iTunes and Internet-dissemination of music in general: there's no real way to filter the truly professional performances from the only-just-pretty-good. In the days of big record companies, this performance never would have made it to the record store. But nowadays you can record a performance, put some attractive artwork on the cover, and sell it on iTunes. Oh well!
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