One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain
An Irish-Appalachian Celebration
Amanda Powell (soprano)
Ross Hauck (tenor)
Jeffrey Strauss (baritone)
Apollo's Fire, Apollo's Singers, Apollo's Musettes/Jeannette Sorrell
rec. 2017/18, First Baptist Church, Cleveland Heights, USA
AVIE AV2396 [68:22]

Apollo’s Fire is also known as the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, a lively and colorful ensemble that specializes in singing traditional Irish, British and Appalachian folk tunes and performing with traditional instruments. Jeannette Sorrell is the group’s founder and director. Sugarloaf Mountain is a wooded outcrop of quartzite left over from an ancient land mass, and is located in rural Maryland near the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This album is Jeannette’s tribute to this unique part of Appalachia and the Christmas season.

This album has a wide variety of holiday and seasonal folk arrangements. The opening medley features the lively traditional Irish ‘Christmas Eve Reel’ led by a team of fiddlers, followed by the New England favorite ‘Christmas in America’ and a banjo-driven ‘Old Christmas Eve’. Susanna Perry Gilmore is featured on fiddle, performing another medley: ‘Sheep Under The Snow’ ‘Apples In Winter’ ‘Little Christmas Reel’ supported by the full Baroque Orchestra with the stomping feet of dancers on stage adding to the fun. Apollo’s Fire also has its own children’s choir, known as the Musettes. They sing several numbers including an interesting arrangement of ‘Ships in Full Sail & I Saw Three Ships’. Those who admire a good hammered dulcimer will greatly enjoy Tina Bergmann performing the medley ‘Frost & Snow’ – ‘28th of January’ – ‘Dominion Reel’ with a fine accompaniment from strings and flutes. Two of the more unusual vocal numbers on this disc are ‘The Shepherd’s Star’ and ‘Star In The East’, a hymn from the early 1800’s which originated in shape-note notation, and was first published in 1835 in the shape-note hymnal The Southern Harmony. They are sung accompanied by a single heavy drum beat keeping time.

This music was recorded at First Baptist Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio on December 5-9, 2017 and July 28, 2018. Daniel Shores was the recording and mastering engineer, and Jeannette Sorrell and Erica Brenner were the recording producers. The sound quality is very good overall, however the instruments overwhelm the vocals on a few numbers. A 28-page booklet provides interesting background information, photos, and lyrics.

Bruce McCollum

Previous review: Mark Sebastian Jordan


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3