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4.9 out of 5 stars54
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2011
You can always tell when Christmas is approaching round our way. The shops that have been decorated since September, the light shows on the houses, the Christmas trees, the smell of mince pies...and the sound of 'Angel Voices 3' emanating from my house. Yes, this album of Yuletide songs by St Philips Boys' Choir (Libera in a previous life) has been an annual favourite of mine for many years and I couldn't imagine Christmas without it. Until now.

Because Libera have once again shown that it is possible to improve on perfection by bringing out this superb collection of carols and Christmas songs, some familiar and some not, but all with the traditional stamp of Libera quality. A brilliant blend of nostalgia and the contemporary, 'The Christmas Album' will make your Christmas complete.

So I'll now just lay my 'Angel Voices 3' CD to rest in the attic. Its work is done.

Additional notes added 26th November 2011: Having just read the laughable BBC review above, I'm just wondering if we're talking about the same album! The reviewer talks about over-production and compares this superb CD with Christmas contributions by other church choirs. What nonsense! That is like comparing champagne with petrol. They are completely different.

Libera has a unique style that is extremely popular with their fans worldwide. It may not be in the style of traditional cathedral choirs but that, surely, is the whole point. If he wants to listen to Christmas music done the way it has been done for decades, there is plenty to choose from. And he can keep it! Libera is the most refreshing phenomenon to hit the music industry in years in a style that I, for one, absolutely love!
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on 21 November 2011
I've long been a fan of Mr Prizeman's "Libera",the best Choir on the planet!
Last year, I posted that I wish they would release a Christmas album; well,
they just did, so thanks so much for listening to your fans:-)
As always, the vocals are awesome,a very good and generous mix of secular and
sacred songs; I love it so much I'm ordering additional copies to give as gifts;
I listen to it all the time; the addition of beautiful pictures of the band with
the words from the songs,as well as the extra Christmas tree ornament is a nice touch!
Get the Deluxe Edition, it's a must!
The quality presentation of this deluxe edition is a much appreciated
addition to my Christmas music collection; congratulations on this new Masterpiece
and Happy Holidays to all Libera members, past and present, you guys bring so much
joy and inspiration in my life; Cheers from Canada!

and Thank You,Thank You,Thank You!!

(P.S.: you can listen to samples on Amazon.com)
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on 9 December 2011
I totally agree with Jeff Carter's review above. I must have listened to a different album than the BBC reviewer.

Quote: "However, under Prizeman's pen, a programme that on paper looks stylistically wide-ranging has become a homogenous mass of smooth, sweet, limp sentimentality, heavy on the keyboards and unable to shake off an all-pervasive air of being over-produced." It's as though they've been told, "Sing as you imagine a chorister should sound, but with a hint of boyband, too. It's soft, occasionally breathy, sweet and smooth, with the odd portamento thrown in for good measure. It lacks the clear, true, crisp boyish exuberence produced by the trebles of top UK cathedral choirs such as Westminster Abbey, King's College, Cambridge or Wells Cathedral choirs, whose own Christmas discs will provide much longer-lasting listening pleasure."

What utter rubbish, Libera are Libera. That is what I and many thousands more like about them. They have their own sound and style which is unique. That surely is something to be commended, not scorned upon. They have taken choral music into the 21st century and given it popular appeal.

I presume this is the same BBC reviewer as the one that derided their Peace album (must be one of the - The only music is classical music brigade). I just cannot see the point in reviewing an album when you so blatantly do not like them, it just seems pointless.

I do not like 99.9% of classical music - it is dull, dreary, and goes on far to long. So what would be the point in me reviewing the vast majority of classical albums - none!

Now I have that rant out of the way on to the album. It is superb like the rest of their albums, beautiful harmonies and stunning solos. Stand out song for me is Veni, Veni Emmanuel, wonderful, spine tingling stuff.

If you are unsure about buying the album, don't be, it is fabulous.

Just for the record I do not work for EMI!
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on 11 December 2011
[...]

Once again Libera have proved that whatever they turn their attention to, they make it absolutely perfect in all respects. The BBC review above is pure trash. Don't believe a word of it! I guarantee you, listen to this album (or any other Libera album) and you will be instantly hooked on their unique blend of voices and instrumentation. Robert Prizeman's musical genius has made art out of Christmas Carols in this particular album. Anyone who thought Carols were boring and old-fashioned - get this album. You will never look back and you families will be glued to the speakers or headphones or whatever listening method they use!
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on 23 December 2011
This purchase was my first Libera CD, bought mainly because I wanted a recording of Carol of the Bells. I'd decided to put up with some of the other carols on the disc, titles that I usually avoid due to having heard them way too many times in the same old traditional format to still like them, so I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that Prizeman had managed to reinvent and quite frankly drastically improve them with his more imaginative musical style and harmonies. There is not a single song on this CD that I do not like, and like more every time I hear. Through this CD I have actually rediscovered the joy of hearing some of these carols again. The songs on this disc capture the spirit and wonder of Christmas together with the celebration of it. Old and modern songs sit side by side, each complementing the other. The singing is great and the arrangements magnificent. "Unique celestial sounds for the modern age" and "shimmering, mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies" sums it up nicely in my opinion. In his arrangements Prizeman demonstrates a real talent for knowing how to build layers of harmony to create particular effects, and the recordings continually bring out different voices and therefore colours. The more I listen to this CD the more layers of musical colour I hear and the more I admire what Prizeman and the choir have achieved. Ms Gardner says of the choir, "their vocal delivery has been developed to complement Prizeman's compositional style". Well guess what, throughout history composers have made use of the performing capabilities of the musicians of their day to bring new and wonderful experiences to audiences and that is precisely what Prizeman is doing in bringing his arrangements to life through the very talented group of boys under his direction.
This CD is fabulous. Ignore the BBC and buy it. You won't be disappointed. I've already bought a copy for my dad for Christmas and am now a Libera fan!
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on 7 January 2012
Did the person from the BBC who wrote the review for Libera`s Christmas Album, have a bad day, or did they give him the job because he always talks rubbish?, This album is fantastic, it was number one in the classical charts, the boys sang wonderfully and the music was superb, I would recommend this Album to every one, and I think the BBC can and should get someone else to do there reviews for them, as he obviously knows nothing about music, or are all those people who bought this Album and made it number one wrong? and he is right I do not think so. Well done to Libera for making another excellent CD.
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on 28 May 2012
I really enjoyed this album. It has the distinctive sound of Libera,singing classic Christmas carols in their own beautiful style. There were one or two songs I did not know, which made it all the more pleasurable. I purchased the deluxe edition,which contains 16 lovely prints with the lyrics to each carol on the reverse. An attractive Christmas decoration was also included! Very good value for the money.
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on 28 May 2013
the BBC review, it's simply not worth it. No reviewer in hundreds of years called Gregorian chants monotonous. Sorry, I promised not to mention the review.

Once again the Libera boys have done a terrific job with this Christmas album. From the first to last note you feel that they love singing and bringing us joy. I bought this album in May because I expected it to be wonderful and didn't want to wait until Christmas. Any time I listen to it, it makes me feel better. Over the years Libera presented its music with such beauty and enthusiasm and I hope this will continue for centuries to come. These boys spend a good part of their spare time to prepare all this just to give us a chance to forget our daily routine for a moment.
I have a fair amount of Christmas music but this one is definitely an enrichment for my collection.
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on 4 December 2011
This is simply Beautiful.
A great mixture of mostly traditional carols mixed with a few standard favourite Christmas songs. The voices are sublime. Highly recommended.
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on 29 December 2011
In a time when just about every recording artist cuts a "Christmas" album, the London-based boy choir Libera offers us a fresh and new, truly Christmas-like, selection which should become a favorite in years to come. If you are familiar with the group, this will come not as a surprise; their glorious harmonies are all there, in new arrangements by the brilliant Robert Prizeman. If you are not familiar with them, do yourself a favor and buy this album; you may find yourself buying another, to give as a present. I did.
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