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CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

December - Laudes
Hannah Holgersson; Anton Ravik (soloists)
Laudes Choir/Per-Henrik Holgersson
rec. 2007/2008, ToneZone Studios; Church of Odensala, Sweden.
PROPRIUS PRCD 2050 [38:48]
Experience Classicsonline

H.A. BRORSON Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker [3:52]; J. PIERPONT Jingle Bells [2:08]; J. HOLGERSSON Vinterland [4:10]; Medley [4:10]; B. LINDEBORG Hej mitt vinterland; F. KÖRING Nej se det snöar; W. ROLLINS/S. NELSON Frosty the Snowman; L. ANDERSON Sleighride; Traditional: Deck the Halls with Holly [2:40]; Traditional: Staffansvisan [2:00]; P.LEE/S.BURKE Bella Notte [ 4:08]; N. WAHINGTON/L.HARLINE When you wish upon a Star; J.RUTTER Nativity Carol [3:48]; Candelight Carol [3:39]; A.NYBERG Den Signade Dag [2:27]; M. PREATORIUS/T.KNÖS Det Är En Ros Utsprungen [2:12]; F. GRUBER/ J. MOHR Stilla Natt [2:19]; C. BÅÅTH-HOLMBERG Härlig Är Jorden [2:37]; E.KÖHLER Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus [3:08]

The Festive Period means different things to different people and we all enjoy it in various ways. Those who experienced a white Christmas in childhood and then migrated to another hemisphere, never really adapt to a Christmas Day of 30 degrees Celcius.
The review disc is a compilation of music selected by the Laudes Choir of Stockholm, Sweden to mirror their impressions of Christmas. This choir consists of some thirty choristers from various parts of Sweden who are now all based in Stockholm; many of them have attended music colleges. Since the inception of the choir in 1990s, there has been a conscious effort to avoid any specific musical genre. Over the years the choir has collaborated with numerous popular vocalists and musicians; they continue that initiative on this disc.
Audiophiles active in the 1980s will be very familiar with the Proprius Music label from Sweden. This company produced such masterpieces as Cantate Domino and Jazz at the Pawn Shop. Such was their quality that these recordings were used to demonstrate high-end stereo equipment. Originally produced on vinyl, the CD versions remain favourites today. The review disc exhibits these same outstanding sonic qualities, the result of meticulous attention to all links in the recording chain. Massed voices are a challenge to record and reproduce, often sounding muddled and diffuse; not so on this recording. It gives the impression of almost ‘being there.’ This effect will be most conspicuous on high quality reproducing equipment but evident to anyone who cares to listen.
The music is an eclectic mix from several genres. Some of the arrangements are standard, others rather jazzy; irrespective all are very musical and their version of Silent Night (11) is particularly memorable. While massed voices predominate, soloists are accommodated on several tracks. Some pieces are sung in Swedish, others in English. One gets the same impression that Fado imparts: sometimes the spirit of the music is more important than understanding the lyrics and to sing the native Portuguese in English would take away more than it contributes. For those emphatically preoccupied with exactly what the Swedish lyrics mean, there is regrettably no English translation of the texts.
Christmas has become a rather commercialized activity and the recording industry embraces the opportunity with alacrity, providing plenty of alternatives if recorded music with a Christmas theme is your penchant. One could assign an element of that endeavour to this disc but the sonic quality, excellent singing and entertainment value far outweigh any commercial component. Impressed with its overall quality, I played all thirteen tracks consecutively without a break and have since repeated the exercise several times. With a recording time of just under forty minutes, some may feel they have been short-changed; in this instance it’s a little of ‘less is more’.
If the aforementioned attributes are important in your choice of Christmas music, then put this disc at the top of your shopping list.
Zane Turner
Outstanding sonic qualities and an enjoyable programme, well sung … see Full Review


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