Magazine article The American Organist

Spirit of the Season

Magazine article The American Organist

Spirit of the Season

Article excerpt

SPIRIT OF THE SEASON. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square; Sissel, soprano; Bells on Temple Square, Thomas Waldron, bellmaster; Shane Warby, baritone; Daron Bradford, pennywhistle; Julie Bevan, violoncello; Meredith Campbell, violin; Richard Elliot, organ; Craig Jessop and Mack Wilberg, conductors. Mormon Tabernacle Choir CFN0711-2. www.mormontabernaclechoir. org. This stunning Christmas concert was recorded live between December 14 through 17, 2006, during the annual Christmas concerts, enjoyed by some 80,000 people. The featured artist is Norwegian soprano Sissel. Her elegant stage presence, lauded in the program notes, is matched by her engaging, beguiling, expressive singing. The 360-voice choir achieves the impeccable vocalism that we have come to expect from them. This enchanting program includes holiday favorites dressed in flashy new arrangements and orchestrations, as well as lesser-known European carols and songs, particularly from Norway. Many of the choral arrangements are virtuosic, executed with unanimity and clarity. Most of the music in which Sissel performs is more contemplative and highly expressive. Highlights include the opening Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella, arranged by Mack Wilberg. A quaint woodwind introduction gives way to the rollicking rhythm from full orchestra and chorus, gradually building in volume and intensity. The inexorable energy drives the full forces to a joyous conclusion. Kjetil Bjerkestrand, who provides several arrangements, creates a magical setting of Reger's lovely Maria Wiegenlied. …

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