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The Mystery of Christmas (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos: 8.554179) CD

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Product details

  • Performer: Michael Bloss
  • Orchestra: Elora Festival Singers
  • Conductor: Noel Edison
  • Composer: Traditional, Robert Evans, Healey Willan, Arthur Honegger
  • Audio CD (6 Nov 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0000014GZ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,141 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. The Huron Carol, "Jesous ahatonhia" (arr. for choir): The Huron Carol (arr. R. Anderson)Noel Edison 2:38£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Ring-a the NewsNoel Edison 2:37£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Adeste fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful) -: O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)Noel Edison 4:06£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. In the Bleak Mid-Winter: In the Bleak MidwinterMichael Bloss 4:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The 3 Kings: The Three KingsNoel Edison 2:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. King Jesus hath a GardenNoel Edison 2:29£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Silent Night (use): Silent NightNoel Edison 3:08£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (use): Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day (arr. D. Willcocks)Noel Edison 2:06£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Une cantate de Noel: Laudate DominumMichael Bloss 2:19£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. 4 Motets pour le temps de Noel: O Magnum MysteriumNoel Edison 3:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. 4 Motets pour le temps de Noel: Quem Vidistis Pastores DiciteNoel Edison 3:03£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. 4 Motets pour le temps de Noel: Videntes StellemNoel Edison 3:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. 4 Motets pour le temps de Noel: Hodie Christus Natus estNoel Edison 2:10£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Ding, Dong Merrily on High (arr. D. Willcocks)Noel Edison 2:08£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Jesus Christ the Apple TreeNoel Edison 3:45£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. What sweeter musicNoel Edison 4:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. The Linden Tree CarolMichael Bloss 1:41£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. A Hymn to the VirginNoel Edison 3:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Star in the South: Star in the South (arr. Malcolm Sargent)Noel Edison 3:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Hark! the herald angels sing (arr. N. Edison): Hark the Herald Angels Sing (arr. Noel Edison)Noel Edison 3:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen21. God is with us: God is with us: A Christmas ProclamationNoel Edison 5:01£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

CD Description

An ideal collection of Christmas Carols for the Festive season


Noel Edison and his fine professional choir have already made some excellent recordings for Naxos and here now is a splendid collection of Christmas pieces. The chosen programme is well balanced between tried and trusted favourites such as In the Bleak Midwinter, The Linden Tree Carol and Silent Night I m not sure whose harmonies are used in the latter and less familiar fare. A brace of popular Christmas hymns is included and Noel Edison has furnished effective descants to both. Indeed, his descant for O Come All Ye Faithful is the best I've heard since the deservedly popular version by Sir David Willcocks. In both this hymn and Hark the Herald Angels Sing Edison adds majestic organ harmonies for the concluding verses as well. It s good and appropriate that this crack Canadian choir gives us some music from their own country. The Huron Carol was written in about 1641and is one of the first known examples of North American Christmas music. The present arrangement is very nice and it s beautifully sung. The inclusion of The Three Kings by Healey Willan (1880-1968) is even more appropriate: though Willan was English by birth he spent most of his working life presiding over the music of the very church in which this recording was made. I hadn t heard this particular piece of his before but I found it to be most enjoyable, exhibiting Willan's habitual sensitivity in his writing for voices. Another welcome discovery for me was Honegger s Laudate Dominum. This is a festive piece, tuneful and jolly. It builds to an exuberant Amen underpinned by full organ. Much better known is the music that forms the centre of gravity of the programme, Poulenc s wondrous Christmas Motets. These masterful settings are beautifully performed here. The singers capture just the right note of sensuousness in O Magnum Mysterium - my own favourite in the set. They also convey the mystery of Videntes Stellam very well while the concluding Hodie Christus Natus est is buoyant but splendidly controlled. In this last piece, especially, I was struck by the excellent balance of the choir, which allows Poulenc s piquant harmonies to register amid the rejoicing of the setting. It s rare that one finds a Christmas disc that doesn t contain a setting by John Rutter. Here the choice falls upon What Sweeter Music. This carol, with it s lovely melody, winning even by Rutter s standards, is one of his best Christmas pieces and Edison and his choir perform it very well indeed. It was an imaginative touch to end the recital not with the obvious choice, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, but with John Tavener s arresting God is with Us. The unnamed tenor soloist is terrific, really proclaiming the message of his solo with burning conviction and the ending, with its huge organ chords, is simply stunning. This is a quite splendid disc. The singing is superb throughout, the programme is imaginative and enterprising and the performances are captured in excellent sound. This will make an excellent Christmas present for a musical friend. Better still, buy two copies and treat yourself too. Happy Christmas! --MusicWeb International, November 2006

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Aug 2000
Format: Audio CD
This choir is based in the village where I used to live and where I was married. The songs are not traditional "FA-la-la-la", "Jingle Bells" fare, giving a spark of variety to Christmas music. This choir has a wonderful reputation and recently was named the principal choir for the Toronto Mendolsohn choir. A great addition to any choral music (or Christmas music) lover's collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Crimp on 11 Dec 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Elora Festival Singers, from Ontario, present us with a very attractive programme of Christmas music, most beautifully sung. They are a very fine choir with a growing reputation. This is probably a CD that will particularly interest choir members, as the content is mostly a very good selection of carols written for choirs rather than congregations. These include a lovely arrangement of The Huron Carol, the 4 Christmas Motets by Poulenc, What Sweeter Music (Rutter), The Linden Tree Carol, A Hymn to the Virgin (Britten), Laudate Dominum (Honegger), Ding Dong Merrily on High (arr. Willcocks) and Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (Poston).

I have no hesitation in recommending this lovely Christmas CD to you.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Herts Review on 22 Dec 2008
Format: Audio CD
Not reviewing the CD, but great english christmas music.

I have checked on the composer Robert Evans and the link goes to a get rich quick website.

Dont you check??
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A very lovely Christmas disc 29 Aug 2000
By Patrick A Daley - Published on
Format: Audio CD
According to the notes, the Elora Festival Singers is a professional chamber choir founded in 1980 by their director, Noel Edison. The name comes from a musical festival given every summer in Elora, Ontario. They have performed on the Canadian Broadcasting System, and given concerts in Eastern Canada and the United States. They are now the professional core group of the famous Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
They are a very competent choir, singing everything on this disc with ease and beauty. Most of the carols are pretty well known, and include some from Canada, England, France, Holland and Poland. There are the 'Huron Carol,' 'O Come All Ye Faithful,' 'Harold Darke's 'In the Bleak Mid Winter," "Ding Dong Merrily on High,' 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing,' and some less common ones. The less usual items include Honegger's 'Laudate Dominum' and Poulenc's 'Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël,' which are performed very simply and effectively.
The Elora Festival Singers is not apparently a very large group, but the reverberant recording makes them sound larger. Their excellent diction is not obscured, and the sound is very smooth.
The organ accompaniment by Michael Bloss are very effective, and include some room filling bass, although it is not super low.
The music ranges from the more peaceful and meditative to the more dramatic, and the choir conveys the varying moods of the music. The recording is quite lovely.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Best Christmas album ever 27 Dec 2006
By Global Mom - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I found this album quite by accident in a college bookstore in a small town outside of Toronto. We played it (June!) on our way to Northern Ontario, gasped at its beauty, read the liner notes, and discovered that we were actually passing by Elora! On our return trip, we stopped in at Elora and learned more about the singers and the festival. This album is so remarkable in its clarity, sensitivity, and variety, that it ranks as my all-time favorite Christmas album. The family members and friends to whom I have since given this CD share my enthusiasm for this magical Christmas tour.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
LOVELY!!!! 24 Feb 2006
By Ace - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Maybe I'm a LITTLE bit prejudiced in favor of this fine album because it contains some of my favorite Christmas songs, or because it also has some of the beautiful songs my choral group sang last Christmas -- whatever -- The Elora Festival Singers, with Noel Edison and Michael Bloss and everyone else involved in creating this CD, do a wonderful job of transmitting the holy, joyful, festive AND secular air of that special season.

I especially loved "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" and will probably wear out that track long before I wear out the rest of this fine CD.

It is almost March, and I'm still playing this CD. I may end up getting a second copy.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A perfectly delightful Christmas recording 20 Sep 2007
By Richard A. Hendry - Published on
Format: Audio CD
In my search for a Christmas CD that would be suitable for a gift, I came across this recording. After reading the previous reviews and listening to the excepts of the 20 provided tracks, I decided that this would be the recording. My CDs arrived today and I can say that I was not disappointed. This is one of the most beautiful Christmas CDs that I have heard. The Elora Festival Singers under the direction of Noel Edison and with organ accompaniment by Michael Bloss have put together a compilation of hymns and carols that cover the range of the familiar to the less known. If you purchase this CD it should be one of your favorites for many years.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful music 27 Nov 2012
By BK - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love it. Very peaceful and soothing and contains all of the classics you look for in a choral Christmas CD.
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