MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews


Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World


all Nimbus reviews



all tudor reviews


Follow us on Twitter


Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Christmas Bells
Maria Krushevskaya (harp), Margarita Petrosian (piano). Maksim Paster (tenor), Anna Aglatova (soprano)
Bolshoi Theatre Children’s’ Choir/Yulia Molchanova
rec. 2009
MELODIYA MELCD1002357 [42:19]

The documentation with this disc states that it was made sometime in 2009, but the somewhat one-dimensional quality of this analogue recording seems to look back to an altogether earlier age in recording technology. And the fact that the CD is designed to look like an old Melodiya LP (complete with the 33 rpm insignia), and is closer to the playing time of a full LP than a full CD, adds to the sense that this is something of a blast from the past; although its unashamed focus on music of the western Christmas tradition belongs very much to post-Soviet Russia.

The principal work here is Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Recording limitations aside, this is a splendidly vigorous and vital performance which magnificently matches the energy of Britten’s writing. That this very large children’s choir – individual singers are not named, but a photograph shows over 50 children in the line-up - has strong connections with the ballet is evident from the fleet-footed way they dance around the athletic “This Little Babe”, confidently enunciating their English words with an ease of delivery which would be the envy of a choir half the size and twice the age. Yulia Molchanova exercises tight control over her musical charges and draws from them a very open and vigorous sound which, for all its obvious discipline, has that wonderful freshness which is unique to enthusiastic children singing. Maria Krushevskaya’s harp has a pleasing gentleness and discretion to it, which ideally complements the unfettered vitality of the singing.

The remainder of the disc is given over to a motley selection of short songs, not all of which seem immediately relevant to Christmas, but all of which are delivered with the same combination of enthusiasm and tight choral discipline. Intriguing arrangements (uncredited in the booklet) of Ding! Dong! Merrily on High, Jingle Bells and We Wish you a Merry Christmas give the choir a wonderful opportunity to have fun, aided and abetted by some sparkling piano accompaniments from Margarita Petrosian. More reflective moments come with delicately poised accounts of Stille Nacht and Linda Spevacek’s gently swaying Sing a Joyous Alleluia.

The presence of two principal singers from the Bolshoi Opera adds considerable distinction to the disc. Maksim Paster offers up a beautifully elegant account of Panis Angelicus simply oozing with pious sincerity, while his boisterous delivery of Funiculi, FuniculÓ is almost more idiomatic than a true native Neapolitan tenor – and the crisp interjections from the children’s choir add a wonderful touch of youthful vigour to this most buoyant of songs. Anna Aglatova’s voice has a deliciously ethereal quality in the Mozart Alleluia, and she presents such a sumptuously lyrical interpretation of Vavilov’s Ave Maria that one cannot help but think of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise. The booklet notes point out that this setting of the Ave Maria was for many years thought to be the work of an Italian composer of the 17th century. Only the relaxation on Russian composers producing music for the Christian Church allowed Vavilov’s work to be properly recognised.

Marc Rochester

Contents

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
A Ceremony of Carols, Op.28 [21:46]
CÚsar FRANCK (1822-1890)
Solemn Mass, Op.12 - Panis Angelicus [3:06]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Exsultate, jubilate K165 – Alleluia [3:03]
Linda SPEVACEK (b.1945)
Sing a Joyous Alleluia [2:14]
Vladimir VAVILOV (1925-1973)
Ave Maria [2:39)
Thoinot ARBEAU (1519-1595)
Ding! Dong! Merrily on High [2:15]
Anonymous (16th century)
We Wish You a Merry Christmas [1:46]
Luigi DENZA (1846-1922)
Funiculi, FuniculÓ [2:06]
James PIERPONT (1822-1893)
Jingle Bells [1:19]
Franz Xaver GR▄BER (1787-1863)
Stille Nacht [1:51]

 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount