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Midwinter Carols: Fourteen Selections On Glass Harmonica

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Album Review

The crowded sea of yearly holiday releases rarely yields a pearl. Everyone from the Muppets to Mariah Carey feel inclined to waste consumers' time and money with endless renderings of songs that fall like artillery during each Christmas shopping season, so it's cause for celebration when someone speaks in a voice that's both reverent of the material and unique enough to avoid the novelty tag. Glass harmonica player Donal Hinely treats the 14 songs on Midwinter Carols like children being protected from the truth about Santa Claus. There's a refreshing innocence to the otherworldly sounds emitting from his assorted cocktail glasses that say more about the season than Harry Connick, Jr. ever could. With the melody floating effortlessly over a drone of delicate chords, his haunting version of "Silent Night" sounds like it was written just for him, and the wistful strains of the English mass standard "In the Bleak Midwinter" are unbelievably lonely and powerful. Hinely is such a tasteful interpreter of these songs that the listener eventually forgets their oversaturation, and calmly submits to the season like a second glass of brandy.

Midwinter Carols: Fourteen Selections On Glass Harmonica, Donal Hinely
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