Royal Rhymes and Rounds is the King's Singers' contribution to the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne in 2012. There are ballads, part songs, madrigals, rounds, and anthems written during the reigns of (and some also in honor of) Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Elizabeth II. The music from the times of Henry and Elizabeth I is especially strong since it was the era of a flowering of English song, which then lay relatively dormant for several centuries. The composers include such luminaries as William Cornysh, Orlando Gibbons, John Dowland, and Thomas Weelkes, as well as Henry himself, whose rousing ballad Pastime with good companie opens the album. It's in this transparent repertoire that the group sounds its absolute best. The singers' immaculate intonation, focused tone quality, and sensitive musicianship are remarkable.
A mere 16 years after Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops recorded their now-classic Christmas with the Pops, Christmastime Is Here is their 2006 follow-up. It sticks to the same basic formula: a mix of orchestral, choral, and solo numbers performed by the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers (a Kunzel favorite, succeeding the original's May Festival Chorus), the School for Creative and Performing Arts Children's Choir (who sang on the original, though presumably with a different roster), and an entirely new crop of soloists. While the original relied on classic veterans such as Rosemary Clooney and Doc Severinsen, Christmastime Is Here makes use of hip jazz vocalists (and, not coincidentally, Telarc recording artists all) Ann Hampton Callaway ("I Wonder as I Wander"), Tierney Sutton ("I'll Be Home for Christmas"), Tony DeSare ("The Christmas Song"), and John Pizzarelli (""Silver Bells") as well as British sextet the King's Singers ("Silent Night").
The Gipsy Kings are never going to have the kind of critical acclaim that Paco de Lucia has, but their popularization of poppy rumba flamenca among non-Spanish speakers is nothing to be ashamed of. Nonetheless, here on Roots, the octet turns back to the tradition while making their own imprint on it. Having the band record in an old farm house, producer Craig Street, it seems, simply told them to sit down to play their bittersweet songs. Without electric instruments or a drum set to clutter the mix, brisk acoustic guitars will sweep listeners up in the driving rhythms as lead guitarist Tonino Baliardo soars overhead, particularly on the instrumental songs. When Nicolas, Canut and Patchai Reyes take turns on lead vocals, Street adeptly captures the timbre and nuance of the singers' voices while also delicately balancing the guitar, hand percussion and bass. No pop songs or bombastic rock beats:here's one that purists cannot argue with.
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are a band perfectly willing to wear their enthusiasm on their collective sleeve. After all, the project that brought Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden, and Tom Wilson together and gave them their group name was a tribute to Canadian singer/songwriter Willie P. Bennett, and they've never been hesitant to cover songwriters they look up to or bring in guest artists they admire…
Considering the amount of quality music the ad hoc Canadian singer/songwriter "supergroup" has released under the Blackie & the Rodeo Kings moniker – five albums, including a double from 1996-2007 – this 14-song, 55-minute set should have used the extra 20 minutes of its CD playing time to better advantage. The trio – Colin Linden, Tom Wilson, and Stephen Fearing, all solo artists with well-regarded catalogs of their own – began life by covering the songs of journeyman Canadian songwriter Willie P. Bennett before expanding into original material…
Peter Cornelius was born to actor parents and destined from early life to have a career centred on words and music. He had early contact with the stage and dramatic literature, and like others of the time (such as Schumann), Cornelius immersed himself in German literature at an early age. At the same time he developed an interest in music. After early influences from Beethoven and Schubert, and studies of form and the composition of sacred music in Berlin, Cornelius's musical style matured under the tutelage of Liszt in Weimar.
Six CD holiday box set. Christmas is a holiday filled with magic and wonder. One of the many things that make it more special are the beautiful Christmas carols that have become a part of the holiday season. So, this year when you gather family and friends together or when you spend time decorating the house, it's time to throw on this marvelous collection containing 100 of the best holiday carols around. Let your heart sing along to glorious musical moments like 'Away In A Manger', 'The First Noel', 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem' and many, many more. EMI.
A Garland for Linda is a benefit album for the cancer-fighting organization the Garland Appeal. It is also a tribute album to Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998. Her husband, Paul McCartney, contributes one selection, but it's not a pop song – it's a classical piece. It is one of ten classical pieces, all written for Linda McCartney, by such modern classical composers as John Tavener, Judith Bingham, David Matthews, John Rutter, Roxanna Ranufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne, and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The pieces are all similar in tone – gentle, sometimes somber, yet always sweet. There may not be any major works here, but everyone's heart is in the right place, and the result is a sentimental mood piece that floats charmingly on its affection.