Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas Vespers Colour, CD+DVD
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Sacrum Mysterium, Apollo's Fire's popular Celtic Christmas programme, arrives on CD together with a bonus DVD.
Long before Christianity took hold in Scotland and Ireland, the ancient Celts celebrated the Winter Solstice and the coming of light and hope. Jeannette Sorrell's celebration of Celtic artistic traditions interweaves selections from medieval Vespers with ancient pagan carols and popular tunes from 17th-century Welsh and Scottish manuscripts. Joyous fiddle tunes and Irish dances burst forth against the vivid backdrop of the unfolding Christ story. The colourful sounds of antiphonal bagpipes, archlute, harp, percussion, fiddles and recorders are blended in musical arrangements by Sylvain Bergeron and Sorrell. The Montreal-based early-music ensemble La Nef joins Apollo's Fire for this collaboration featuring the radiant Canadian soprano Meredith Hall. The CD is complemented with a bonus DVD featuring several songs from the album.
Personnel: Apollo's Fire, Jeannette Sorrell (harpsichord & conductor), Meredith Hall (soprano)
"A grand holiday stew made from deliciously blended sacred and secular ingredients...An affecting and exuberant gathering...From utter simplicity to heartfelt passion." - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Top Customer Reviews
This diversity, moreover, is endowed here with a natural and satisfying unity, firstly by means of thoughtful programming, and secondly by the infectious commitment and skill of the performers. The sequence is brought to us by the excellent early music ensemble Apollo's Fire based in Cleveland, Ohio, directed by an inspired Jeannette Sorrell, and the Montreal group La Nef led by Sylvain Bergeron. The vocal pieces are taken by the lovely soprano Meredith Hall and the choir of Apollo's Fire. As for instruments, in addition to the usual range of baroque violins, viola, flutes and keyboard, at various points we also hear bagpipes, Celtic harp, archlute and percussion.
Especially fine moments, for me, are Jeannette Sorrell's contemporary and beautifully judged Alleluia (track 6), starting solemnly but soon breaking out into an ecstatic, uplifting triple-time melody; it's followed by the first of several irresistible dance movements on the disc, in this case a swinging Irish jig "The Road to Lisdoonvarna".Read more ›
No better gift for music lovers and singers at Christmas!