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Medieval Christmas Music

Choose Renaissance and medieval Christmas music from the Britian, the Celtic countries and some European chants and sacred music - wonderful medieval Christmas music CDs to warm your heart and make your spirit soar!

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On Yoolis Night - Anonymous 4
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On Youlis Night (1993)
Anonymous 4

"The 23 works--plainchants, carols, songs, and motets--invoke various aspects of the Christmas story: the visitation of the angel Gabriel, tributes to the Virgin Mary, gifts of the Magi, and hymns of praise for the birth of Christ. The sound is stunning: resonant yet intimate, warm yet vibrant. And while you can hear the individual character of each voice, together these four women make a sound of uncommon purity and beauty. The technical facility is evident with each closing phrase, each perfect unison. Critics are advised to jealously reserve such words as outstanding, excellent, and superior. But this is one of those recordings that deserve all those descriptions." --David Vernier for amazon.com
Legends of St. Nicholas
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Legends of St. Nicholas (1999)
Anonymous 4

"The contemporary world has turned Santa Claus into an icon of consumerist mania, but the historical figure from whom he ultimately derives was a uniquely inspiring religious figure to medieval Europeans. Anonymous 4 has culled together music from the liturgy of the hours and other sources originally produced to celebrate the legends associated with the fourth-century St. Nicholas. As with their earlier Christmas celebration, On Yoolis Night, the quartet ethereally blends their seamless, unaccompanied vocals in this collection of chants, hymns, and readings recounting the saint's life and miracles on behalf of those in need. In addition to Latin settings, the program includes one of the oldest known English-language hymns ("Sainte nicholaes," by a contemporary of Hildegard) and a number of verse-refrain pieces thought to inspire dancing in church. And it is all captured in a warm, ambient church acoustic that is balm for modern ears." --Thomas May for amazon.com
The Virgin's Lament
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The Virgin's Lament (Caoineadhi Na Maighdine) (1998)
Nóirín Ní Riain and the monks of Glenstal Abbey

Ní Riain's soaring soprano, in Gaelic and Latin, flies over the deep voices of the monks, as they sing ancient Celtic sacred songs and Gregorian chant in the sean nos or "old style" tradition. Recorded at the Abbey, this album must be heard to be believed. Her voice is absolutely amazing.
Noels Celtiques
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Noels Celtiques: Celtic Christmas Music from Brittany (1998)
L'Ensemble Choral du Bout du Monde

Their name means "Chorale Ensemble of the World's End" and their wonderful goal is to preserve Brittany's culture heritage. Here they perform a variety of Breton sacred Christmas songs. The music has a distinct, yet uniquely Breton, Celtic flavor performed using flutes, claviers, bagpipes, guitar, and organ with singing in French. This is a lovely, lovely CD.
Wolcum Yule : Celtic and British Songs and Carols
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Wolcum Yule: Celtic and British Songs and Carols (2003)
Anonymous 4

"This offbeat disc of seasonal songs and carols by the Anonymous 4 will delight their fans and please everyone else. The 19 selections include traditional folk melodies and texts, some of which date back to the Middle Ages, interspersed with fitting selections by contemporary composers including John Taverner, Benjamin Britten, and Peter Maxwell Davies, whose ethereal a cappella A Calender of Kings gets its first recording. Andrew Lawrence-King, playing Irish harp, Baroque harp, and psaltery with his accustomed finesse, is a major reason for the disc's success, accompanying most of the vocals and contributing three lovely solos. The disc is crammed with highlight tracks, like the lilting Cornish Wassail song and the Irish Good people all, and haunting numbers like "Flight into Egypt," sung in Gaelic, and "Behold, here is the best morning," sung in Welsh. Excellent sonics and Harmonia Mundi's typically fine production values also help make this a Christmas disc that will give joy in July. --Dan Davis for amazon.com
Sing We Christmas
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Sing We Christmas (1995)

"Christmas is the season for whipping out those holiday-specific standard recordings. This splendid gift by Chanticleer should top the list, for one will never tire of this a cappella choir's interpretations. With selections spanning the last five centuries of Latin, German, English, Spanish, and French festive fare, this recording exemplifies the sacrifice of the ego to the higher form of choral sound. Jacob Handl's "Mirabile Mysterium" takes you on a trip into the chromatic wonderlands, where you temporarily lose tonal balance. Victoria's eerie and dissonant "O Magnum Mysterium" treats us to rich voices swelling out of one organic whole. The phenomenal blend and perfect intonation elevate this recording above others in its category." --Barbara Eisner Bayer for amazon.com
English Medieval Christmas
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English Medieval Christmas (1997)
Musica Antiqua

A collection of 15th Century Christmas carols performed by the critically acclaimed Primavera Singers of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua, directed by group founder Noah Greenberg. The group formed with the purpose of faithfully presenting the neglected works of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music, and this 1956 recording is the perfect soundtrack for your next medieval Christmas bash.
The Little Barley-Corne
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The Little Barley-Corne
Winter Revels from the Renaissance (1999)
The Toronto Consort

Twenty widely varied Renaissance Christmas selections, both vocal and instrumental, festive and sacred, including The Little Barley-Corne, All you that are good fellowes, Greensleeves and pudding pies, Ave maris stella / Noël nouvelet, Now when Joseph and Mary, Guilielmus Messaus: O salich heylich Bethlehem, Lady Catherine's Ogle / The Scotchman's Dance, Drive the cold winter away / Come follow follow me, Jésus naît, tendre et blême, L'Annonciation de l'Ange Gabriel à la Vierge Marie, Now Candlemas is come at last, more.
A Winter's Night
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A Winter's Night; Christmas in the Great Hall (2002)
Ensemble Galilei, Sue Richards

Celebrate the holidays, the winter solstice, traditional music, and all the best things about Christmas. From conservatory rehearsal rooms to all night sessions at Irish pubs, a montage of Early Music, Celtic, and traditional tunes blend and a glorious new sound is born. With crackling energy and brilliant performances Ensemble Galilei delivers a virtuosic display of lush sounds and joyous music-making for the Holiday season in a wondrous mix of timeless Christmas classics, Celtic carols from Galicia, Spain, and the Isles of Scotland and Ireland, Medieval and Renaissance dance tunes, and original compositions to celebrate the winter solstice. Recorded in the historic Great Hall of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, Ensemble Galilei captures the intimacy, warmth and joyous energy of Christmas in a small town.