Essential Voices USA is one of New York’s premiere choral ensembles. Conducted by Judith Clurman, the ensemble performs regularly at Carnegie Hall and other famous music venues.
For Holiday Harmonies – Songs of Christmas, the group offers lush and vibrant arrangements of traditional Christmas songs and several interesting new compositions by contemporary American composers Nico Muhly, Jennifer Higdon, and Gene Gilroy.
The featured artists are mezzo soprano Jamie Barton, harp player Stacey Shames, soprano Maureen McKay, and piano player Tedd Firth. They are aided by other professional musicians and talented volunteers.
The traditional songs include a stunning version of “O Holy Night” and beautiful renderings of “Silent Night” and “Angels We Have Heard on High” as well as a charming “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and the lesser known “The Virgin’s Slumber Song.”
The new compositions are “Love Came Down,” “Merry Christmas Wishing Well,” and “Whispered and Revealed.” They fit very well with the beloved traditional songs with great charm and holiday spirit.
The sound quality is excellent as well. Everything is perfectly arranged, conducted, and performed. The voices of Barton and McKay are particularly well suited for holiday music with their warmth, richness, and perfect pitch. In all, the ensemble and its conductor have created a holiday jewel.
This album will be the perfect Christmas treat for lovers of choral music. The voices and arrangements are beautiful throughout and the feeling is as warm as a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider. If you cannot attend holiday choral events at Carnegie Hall or some other grant concert hall, you can bring a great choral ensemble to your own home to enjoy whenever you choose and without going out in the cold. This is the ultimate musical accompaniment for an elegant holiday party as well.
You can expect to return to it every season, so store it with Handel’s Messiah and your other choral and classical Christmas treasures. Buy copies for your favorite choir directors and choral and holiday music fans as well.
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