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Noel: Music for the Season by Charpentier, Fauré, Gounod, Poulenc, Langlais et al.

Audio Samples

>Charpentier, Marc-Antoine : In Nativitatem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Canticum
>     Preludium / Récit de l'historien / L'Air des ang
>Traditional, Christmas : Quelle est cette odeur agreable? (Whence is that goodly fragrance?) (French)
>Traditional, Christmas : Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella ("Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle")
>Traditional, Christmas : Guillo, pran ton tamborin (Guillo, ome, and Robin too)
>Traditional, Christmas : Dans cette etable (Cradled all lowly) (French)
>Büsser, Henri : Le sommeil de l'Enfant-Jesus
>Fauré, Gabriel : Requiem
>     Sanctus
>Fauré, Gabriel : Noel d'enfants (Les anges dans nos campagnes), for children's chorus & organ
>Gounod, Charles : Noel, for soprano, alto, female chorus & piano with organ ad lib.
>Gounod, Charles : Le ciel a visite la terre, song for voice or unison chorus & piano (or organ)
>Poulenc, Francis : Motets pour le temps de Noël
>Langlais, Jean : Poèmes évangeliques (3) for Organ, Op. 2
>Desprez, Josquin : Ave Maria... virgo serena, motet for 4 parts
>Traditional, Christmas : O come, o come, Emmanuel (Veni, veni, Emmanuel), carol

Album Summary

>Charpentier, Marc-Antoine : In Nativitatem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Canticum
>Traditional, Christmas : Quelle est cette odeur agreable? (Whence is that goodly fragrance?) (French)
>Traditional, Christmas : Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella ("Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle")
>Traditional, Christmas : Guillo, pran ton tamborin (Guillo, ome, and Robin too)
>Traditional, Christmas : Dans cette etable (Cradled all lowly) (French)
>Büsser, Henri : Le sommeil de l'Enfant-Jesus
>Fauré, Gabriel : Requiem
>Fauré, Gabriel : Noel d'enfants (Les anges dans nos campagnes), for children's chorus & organ
>Gounod, Charles : Noel, for soprano, alto, female chorus & piano with organ ad lib.
>Gounod, Charles : Le ciel a visite la terre, song for voice or unison chorus & piano (or organ)
>Poulenc, Francis : Motets pour le temps de Noël
>Langlais, Jean : Poèmes évangeliques (3) for Organ, Op. 2
>Desprez, Josquin : Ave Maria... virgo serena, motet for 4 parts
>Traditional, Christmas : O come, o come, Emmanuel (Veni, veni, Emmanuel), carol
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Praised by American Record Guide as the "gold standard for American academic choirs," the Westminster Choir has performed and recorded with virtually every major orchestra of the past 80 years. Larmore is the most-recorded mezzo-soprano of our era. This season she performs in Europe and America. Cowan is one of the most sought-after organists in America. Noel was recorded at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and St. George's Stuyvesant Square in New York, April 2010.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and St. G (04/2010).



Reviews

Lovely new holiday choral music that is not "more the same"
The Westminster Choir at Rider University of New Jersey has been around for a long time and may be for many a bit of a secret well worth discovering. This new choral album breaks the mold a bit for Christmas programming, which I find quite refreshing. There a few of the "top ten" that show up in seasonal programming with regularity: "A torch, Jeanette, Isabelle", bits from the Gounod "Noel" and, of course, O come, o come Emmanuel" There are, however, some wonderful surprise inclusions in this delightful all French (mostly French) program. The set opens with excerpts from the Charpentier "In Nativitatem Domini Nostri", Busser's "Le Sommeil de L'Enfant Jesus" and the Poulenc "O Magnum Mysterium" It was nice to hear some fairly obscure traditional melodies beside "Emmanuel" too, such as the lovely "In this stable" or the perky little late Renaissance "What is that wonderful aroma (smell)?" Aside from the charming nature of the programming, the Westminster Choir, under Joe Miller's direction, sings wonderfully with crisp, clean diction, pure intonation and a very nice balance. The size of the group is very appropriate to this kind of repertoire as well. Too often, delicate music such as this gets performed by the "mega-choir" and Maestro Miller has chosen rep and forces at his disposal very well! An added pleasure is the appearance of Metropolitan Opera soprano Jennifer Larmore, herself a Rider-Westminster graduate. Now a Paris resident, Jennifer's solo line in the Faure and the Gounod is prominent and beautiful! All roles in this recording are very well done! Organist Ken Cowan is a terrific player and gets to show off a bit in the Langlais and plays with sensitivity and a sense of wonder and mystery throughout this program. There are nice moments for violinist Lisa Cowan and harpist Anna Reinersman in the Busser and Faure as well. All in all, this is a very nice holiday recording that represents a different approach to programming. It's beauty and clarity of both programming and performance makes it well worth having in your collection with a sincere Joyeux Noel!
Submitted on 12/12/11 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Charpentier, Marc-Antoine : In Nativitatem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Canticum :: Preludium / Récit de l'historien / L'Air des ang
  • Performers: Alexandra Batsios; Amy Carruth (Recorder); David Edmonds (Tabor); Hank Heijink (Theorbo); Jennifer Larmore (Mezzo Soprano); Felecia Moore; Loretta O'Sullivan (Cello); Adriane Post (Violin); Beth Wenstrom (Violin)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Ensemble: Westminster Choir
  • Running Time: 7 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1684

>Traditional, Christmas : Quelle est cette odeur agréable? (Whence is that goodly fragrance?) (French)
  • Performers: Amy Carruth (Recorder); Trey Davis; David Edmonds (Tabor); Fiona Gillespie; Hank Heijink (Theorbo); Loretta O'Sullivan (Cello); Adriane Post (Violin); Scott Purcell; Beth Wenstrom (Violin)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Notes: Composition written: Circa 1717.
  • Running Time: 3 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: circa 1717

>Traditional, Christmas : Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella ("Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle")
  • Performers: Amy Carruth (Recorder); David Edmonds (Tabor); Hank Heijink (Theorbo); Loretta O'Sullivan (Cello); Adriane Post (Violin); Beth Wenstrom (Violin)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 2 min. 5 sec.
  • Written: 18th Century

>Traditional, Christmas : Guillô, pran ton tamborin (Guillo, ome, and Robin too)
  • Performers: Amy Carruth (Recorder); David Edmonds (Tabor); Adriane Post (Violin); Beth Wenstrom (Violin); Jackson Williams; Justine Aronson; Hank Heijink (Theorbo); Loretta O'Sullivan (Cello)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 1 min. 51 sec.

>Traditional, Christmas : Dans cette étable (Cradled all lowly) (French)
  • Performers: Amy Carruth (Recorder); David Edmonds (Tabor); Hank Heijink (Theorbo); Chris Jackson; Megan Larson; Brandan Motz; Loretta O'Sullivan (Cello); Adriane Post (Violin); Beth Wenstrom (Violin)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 2 min. 9 sec.

>Henri Büsser (1872 - 1973) : Le sommeil de l'Enfant-Jésus
  • Performers: Lisa Cowan (Violin); Anna Reinersman (Harp); Ken Cowan (Organ)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 7 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924) : Requiem :: Sanctus
  • Performers: Lisa Cowan (Violin); Anna Reinersman (Harp)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 2 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1887-1900

>Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924) : Noël d'enfants (Les anges dans nos campagnes), for children's chorus & organ
  • Performers: Ken Cowan (Organ); Jennifer Larmore (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 2 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1890

>Gounod, Charles : Noël, for soprano, alto, female chorus & piano with organ ad lib.
  • Performers: Ken Cowan (Organ); Jennifer Larmore (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 3 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Gounod, Charles : Le ciel a visité la terre, song for voice or unison chorus & piano (or organ)
  • Performers: Ken Cowan (Organ); Jennifer Larmore (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 4 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Poulenc, Francis : Motets pour le temps de Noël
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 3 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1952

>Langlais, Jean : Poèmes évangeliques (3) for Organ, Op. 2
  • Performer: Ken Cowan (Organ)
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 5 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1932

>Desprez, Josquin : Ave Maria... virgo serena, motet for 4 parts
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 5 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1497

>Traditional, Christmas : O come, o come, Emmanuel (Veni, veni, Emmanuel), carol
  • Conductor: Joe Miller
  • Running Time: 5 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 12th Century