This album is strange and wonderful. It is a recording of Christmas Revels sung by two very contrasting choirs, a Russian one and an African American one. There is occasionally a children's choir and some other ensembles joining the performance.
What I found most interesting and thrilling about it was that the two main choirs were not entirely "academic" in style but had a rather folklore wildness to them, and they sang sometimes individually and sometimes together juxtaposing their contrasting carols in a surprising mixture. The result (sometimes powerful, sometimes ethnic and wild) gives you a sense of celebration, spirituality, and a joining of cultures that is hard to describe, and all of it with a Christmas flavor on top. I warn you, there is occasional foot stamping, and howls, and some autochthonous instruments, all of which I found rather exciting. Many of the Carols are sung in Swedish or in Scandinavian languages, others in some African language I couldn't identify (but I loved it) and a few in English. I'm personally familiar with Swedish carols(some of them are hauntingly beautiful) because I once conducted a Santa Lucia Choir in the year 1995; so my love and curiosity for Scandinavian carols was the first thing that led me to this recording.
This CD is not for those who are looking for recordings of the same old traditional carols. It is rather a departure from that to a different Christmas realm, a far more spontaneous one. Don't take me wrong, I love Christmas recordings of the King's Singer, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and other more traditional choirs. But the originality of this album was rather refreshing.
To Drive the Dark Away
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, 26 August 1997
The Christmas Revels
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product dimensions : 12.45 x 1.02 x 13.97 cm; 105.46 Grams
- Manufacturer : Revels Records
- Original Release Date : 1997
- Label : Revels Records
- ASIN : B000009MF6
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
5 out of 5
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Jorge Bennett, composer.
Different and Refreshing Christmas AlbumReviewed in the United States on 4 December 2009
6 people found this helpful
A Standout!Reviewed in the United States on 26 February 2018
Unique and fascinating winter/Christmas music for people who want something traditional but different. I love it. It's a great addition to any holiday music collection.