Snowflakes - A Classical Christmas
O Come All Ye Faithful (Å, kom nå med lovsang)
When You Wish Upon a Star; Ave Maria
Ding Dong Merrily on High
Eatnemen Vuelie
Betlehems stjärna (Star of Bethlehem)
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
O helga natt (Cantique de Noël)
Jul, jul, strålande jul (Christmas, Radiant Christmas)
Snøfnugg (Snowflakes)
Fantasi over Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker (Fantasia on My Heart Forever Roams)
Mary’s Boy Child
När det lider mot jul (Christmas Draws Nigh)
St Stephen’s Holiday; Silent Night (Glade Jul)
Deilig er Jorden (Fairest Lord Jesus) Øystein Baadsvik (tuba)
Cantus Women’s Choir
Trondheim Symphony Orchestra/Torodd Wigum
rec. May 2011, Frikirke, Trondheim, Norway. DDD
BIS-CD-1885 [65:00]

Here is a classy Christmas miscellany setting off Nordic traditional and modern with cheesy North American commercialism. Baadsvik plays the amorous troubadour amid Jack Frost delicacy and inglenook warmth. He counterpoints with the orchestral brass at 2:19 in O Come All ye Faithful. The tart Nordic flavours tone down the saccharine Hollywood shimmer in When You Wish Upon a Star - sentimental overload avoided. A stickily soulful Ave Maria follows but to free us from the agreeable treacle comes a clean pair of heels in Ding Dong Merrily on High with plenty of kinetic cheeriness. Eatnemen Vuelie is a Sami Yoik with the drum providing a varied pulse and sweet vocal lines interweaving with bassier material. Star of Bethlehem, this time, is nothing to do with Rheinberger. Instead we hear an adaptation of the Swedish carol of that name written by Alice Tegner in 1893. Its Sibelian undulations are distinctive. God rest you has bubbling Vltava-like woodwind. The stern yet placid accents of O helga Natt set us up nicety for Jul Jul - a lovely silvery thing. Snøfnugg is Baadsvik’s sock to the system with noises of didgeridoo, beat-box and speaking through the tuba – pretty modern. The Fantasia on My Heart Forever Roams is a traditional piece rife with pilgrim sounds to warm shivering souls. Mary’s Boy Child is a calypsoid sibling sporting a central cantorial role for tuba making play with the ladies who sing mithril bright. När det lider mot jul (Christmas Draws Nigh) is an essay in unassuming sentimentality. St Stephen’s Holiday is Salvation Army grand with a slice of Walton trimmings. Silent Night (Glade Jul) moves along well. We end with the sweetly rising Deilig er Jorden (Fairest Lord Jesus).

This disc is better annotated than your run-of-the-mill Christmas parcel. It makes some ingratiating passes at familiar popularity but we can forgive it for that! Variety is there including one or two real jolts. Everything here has a toffee apple sweetness. The chewy melted sugar crackles and crazes to match the fireside cheer and smiling family values.

Rob Barnett

Toffee apple sweetness including one or two real seasonal jolts.

Baadsvik on Bis

BISCD1875 Ferry Tales

BISCD1625 Prelude, Fnugg and Riffs

BISCD1585 Danzas

BISCD1285 Tuba Carnival

BISCD1515 20th Century Tuba Concertos