Bavarian Radio Chorus: Joy to the World (Famous Christmas Songs)

review joy to the world x1 cong

The title gives it all away — the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Choir to you post-Brexit Britishers) sings popular Christmas songs. It’s not Christmas carols, it’s Christmas songs and there’s a nice selection.

The sound is lush and big budget, and it’s warming and comforting, like a National Trust shop. It put us in mind of an Andy Williams (Alfie Boe for younger readers) Christmas special, all log fires, happy people smiling as they sing, colourful woollen jumpers, mulled wine (and gratuitous use of the splendid word rundfunks).

It opens with Randol Alan Bass’s Gloria, which is merely Christmassy, before moving onto Hark! The Herald Angels, originally Mendelssohn, then some Berlioz, a warming tune.

If you hate compilations of carols — or indeed want a Christmas album you can listen to all year round — this is a good one. Most of the music is unfamiliar — there is music from Russia, Poland, Greece, Italy, France, Great Britain, North and South America as well as Germany, — and it’s amiably sacred at its most serious, ranging as it does from classical to folk to popular.
There are some livelier tunes and the tone ranges from meditation at the birth of Christ to celebrations.

Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Puccini feature.

Out on BR Klassik 900521.

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