One of the radiant joys of the commercial production of CD box sets is the steady
issue from musically dedicated companies of priceless material
[listen -- CD1 track 22, 0:01-0:51].
It rests on the
choice, perhaps, of a single composer, or, in this case, an anthology. Yes, there's
also a pop side to this market which can scoop up lashings of general favourites
in a box set for gift hunters.
In this case, however, the purpose is essentially musical: a discerning collection
of 'Carols and Chants for Christmas'
[listen -- CD4 track 20, 5:00-5:57]
exquisitely presented by a celebrated group
(Anonymous 4). The presentation is scholarly, inclusive of a 150 page book which
contains all the original texts (plus translations) with extensive and illustrated
Anonymous 4. Photo © Christian Steiner
Maybe I'm a simpleton amongst dedicated bargain hunters, but I still feel elated
with such care
[listen -- CD3 track 10, 0:02-1:06]
lavished on something utterly musical in an area specifically so
adventurous. The purchaser receives a treasure chest
[listen -- CD2 track 18, 1:39-2:44].
One might add, after endless
tub-thumping, that readers hopefully remember before rushing to place an order --
this production forms a dedicated service to Music, completely free of any
commercial inducement. The realisation of 'Carols and Chants for Christmas' is
exclusively from medieval sources. To me a welcome accomplishment, to others,
sadly, a little austere for a joyful occasion.