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ALLA BREVE

November 09, 1986

"A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION." Kathleen Battle, soprano; New York Choral Artists; Boys' Choir of Harlem; Orchestra of St. Luke's conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Angel CDC-7 47587 2 (compact disc). Battle animates 19 carols and other seasonal miniatures in sterling fashion, walking a comfortable path between sentiment and sentimentality. Michael Gibson's arrangements exhibit imagination without recourse to fulsome yuletide overkill. Virtually every singer of renown these days must make a Christmas record, if only to preserve self-respect, but this one, which ranges as far afield as Czechoslovakia, Catalonia and Appalachia for its repertory, is something special. Texts and translations; 62 minutes running time.

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