If ever a season called for music in the home, it is Christmas. In the days before recordings, members of the household, invariably proficient on one instrument or another, would play music together - both for their own enjoyment and to set a festive mood. The arrangements in this audiophile set from Arturo Delmoni, meticulously produced by John Marks, hearken back to those earlier days. And in that tradition of music-making, the modern household may well be inspired to sing along.
"A three-disc set that features excellent performers, including violinist Arturo Delmoni and cellist Nathaniel Rosen, and a huge chunk of holiday fare. These recordings were available separately in years past, but are gathered together now in a neat package... This is a perfect product for anyone wanting to bring it down a little -- in this case, a whole lot, really -- and focus purely on the melodic beauty inspired by Christmas Time... The arrangements are sensitive, the playing really first-class. To vary the sonic flavor of a string quartet, there are occasional appearances of harp and organ. There are two dozen or so carols and other items per disc, covering many centuries and mixing the well-known with the rare and surprising. Among the surprises is an arrangement for violin and organ of the haunting Adagio from Alessandro Marcello's Oboe Concerto, which, somehow, takes on a reverential, Christmas Eve-like feeling in this context. " -- Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun
"A first-class string quartet plays tasteful arrangements … in refreshingly ungimmicky style. Warmly recommended for those who like the tunes better than the words." -- The Washington Post
"A simple string quartet breathes new life into Christmas classics … brings out the natural beauty in the songs of Christmas. This album will substitute nicely if you won’t be having a live string quartet at this year’s Christmas party." -- The Christian Science Monitor