robert shaw chamber singers – o come, emanuel

i grew up listening to opera, classical and big band until i discovered music that appealed to my more youthful appetites (like zappa and hendrix).

now, i listen and have great respect for all that music. at the time, i had little appreciation for most of it — expect the wide array of christmas music that my dad trotted out at thanksgiving — and played through the end of the year.

it’s probably why i’m doing a blog of christmas music that doesn’t suck.  i’ve always loved choral music — especially at christmas. it just seems to set the proper reverent mood that should come with the birth of our savior.

anyway, when most people hear the name robert shaw, they think of the english actor from the sting, jaws and the taking of pelham 1,2,3 (among other great films).
however, when it comes to christmas music, robert shaw is an american composer responsible for some of the most beautiful music known to man.
i feel his cd “songs of angels” is his best work although this version of ‘o come, emanuel’ is from the subsequent cd, “angels on high” (they actually perform this song on both cd’s — i think this version is better).
angels on high misses the mark on a few tunes and includes A Ceremony of Carols, for treble voices (or chorus) & harp, Op. 28″ by benjamin britten. i always have to reach for the mute button when britten comes on — not sure why, it just doesn’t work for me.
(although honestly, they’re both outstanding vocal cd’s.)


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