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91
It's gorgeous - and almost exactly what I have hoped for! It's, in a way, the third sort of Christmas album. The first was silvery and gentle, like magical winter forest, with frost and sparkles and stars, somehow ethereal. The second was rich and heavy, reds and golds, a grand celebration, lush and glamourous. This is jolly and cheerful, and a bit rustic, yet at times very thoughtful and at others dramatic - a warm, cosy Christmas at home, completed with visits to Church and walks (and rides) in the snow. It's more down-to-earth for the most time, yet it ascends very high, very suddenly, and it has a great sort of intimacy. There's also a sort of gentle humour to it, the arrangements being intricate and almost playful. Some of them sound a sort of miniature version of English choral music, others have a few very modern elements, and then some are very different altogether, all with some sort of twist to them, no song goes down quite as expected, there's always something to it. It's also very balanced - I like that all girl has one solo, except Tara who has, well, one and a half. I prefer group songs for the Christmas albums, yet it's good that all of them had their moment to shine with perfectly fitting solos. I also like that Tara had the most solo time, so to speak, since the first two Christmas albums and dvds are slightly lacking in variety for the fiddler, who was, of course, Máiréad back then. I also like the way they included Silent Night - it's a sort of traditon to have it on a Celtic Woman Christmas album, but since there's already three full vocal versions, they have found a very to put it in a smaller, subtler, and yet completely original place. And I love the balance of traditional and modern, done-before, long-wished-for and unexpected songs!
92
This is going to take a lot of thought and I'll probably change my mind frequently! How do I choose 3 favorites from 15 perfect, amazing, gorgeous songs? I'll get back to this!
93
calendar / Re: 2020-05-05 Celtic Woman: Celebration (San Diego, CA)
« Last post by CWazyTom on October 25, 2019, 01:28:27 AM »
I cannot even imagine how crazy spring is going to get once the solo shows start getting announced. Lol.
94
What are your favorite tracks from the Celtic Woman: The Magic of Christmas album and why?
95
Órlagh Fallon / Re: Album: A Winter's Tale
« Last post by CWazyTom on October 25, 2019, 01:21:48 AM »
The album has released!

I just finished doing a writeup for Celtic Woman: The Magic of Christmas and it's almost 2:30 AM here on a work night, so I'll be listening to this one after work on Friday.
96
I finished listening to Celtic Woman: The Magic of Christmas!

Track List

1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas  (Group)
2. Angels We Have Heard On High  (Group)
3. Do You Hear What I Hear  (Megan)
4. Deck the Halls  (Group)
5. O Come, O Come Emmanuel  (Mairead)
6. Amid the Falling Snow  (Group)
7. O Holy Night  (Group)
8. Sleigh Ride  (Group)
9. Greensleeves  (Tara)
10. Dia Do Bheatha  (Eabha)
11. Carol of the Bells  (Group)
12. Wexford Carol  (Group)
13. Silent Night  (Tara with choir)
14. Auld Lang Syne  (Group)
15. Feliz Navidad  (Group)

Reactions

Wow!

That was fresh and really fun to listen to!

The arrangements were totally different from the ones they've been performing on the Christmas tours. I've never heard the songs performed this way before by any artist and that in itself is quite an achievement. This album is definitely going to stand out from the other Christmas music that's available this year.

Celtic Woman's previous Christmas albums were all on the classical side of the spectrum. This album is what I'd refer to as a "pops" style. Like Voices of Angels, there's a lot of orchestration and choir to back the girls and their gorgeous harmony. But unlike Voices of Angels, which featured a lot of smooth, sweeping sounds, this album features a lot of short sounds, almost a staccato (I'm too far removed from my music theory, 25+ years, to remember the correct term). But whatever the style is called, the album has a lively feel and the songs have a skip in their step. That certainly makes the songs fun to listen to.

I enjoyed every song on the album. There weren't any songs I didn't like. There were a few instances where I thought the arrangements got a little too goofy for parts of the Celtic Woman fan base (the end of Deck the Halls, for instance). Hopefully the playfulness and personality will be appreciated and doesn't put people off. For fans dead set on hearing a classical style of music, I'm not sure if they'll enjoy this. But on the other side of the spectrum, this style will probably appeal more to a mainstream audience than anything Celtic Woman has previously recorded.

Whether the style they chose suits your tastes or not, the harmony is intricate and unquestionably beautiful.

A few moments that stood out from my first listen...

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" If you hear Megan's strong and beautiful voice and can't help but be amazed, then yes, I hear what you hear.

Deck the Halls was fantastic! I'm not sure if everyone will like the ending, but if you liked how Time to Say Goodbye (from Voices of Angels) concluded, you'll probably enjoy the end of Deck the Halls as well.

Mairead's O Come, O Come Emmanuel is by far my favourite version of the song I've heard. This isn't typically one of my favourite Christmas songs to listen to, Mairead, her heart, and her lovely voice make this song so easy to enjoy.

Tara's performance in Greensleeves was breathtaking! She draws emotion out of every note like nobody else can.

I thought that with Mairead and Megan, they could have gone for a bigger climax with O Holy Night. It was a really pretty arrangement overall though.

How did they make Sleigh Ride work so well? This might be the first time I've actually liked listening to an arrangement of this song. It was really well done, both fun and pleasant.

The way Dia Do Bheatha was performed was reminiscent of Garden of Eden from Ancient Land. I absolutely love it!

Auld Lang Syne most closely resembles what was performed over the past few Christmas tours. The combination of the sweeping orchestration and harmony is sooooo good!

Overall, I loved this album. The unconventional arrangements came a surprise, but it was a pleasant one. It was certainly fun to listen to and felt very fresh. It's always a risk changing something that people absolutely love already (case in point, Voices of Angels). But there's also risk in stagnating and continuing to perform the same songs the same way. Even if some people don't agree with me, I think performing the songs in this new and intriguing way was a better choice than slightly-tweaking familiar arrangements, although either approach would have sounded great.

I love all of Celtic Woman's previous Christmas albums (except for maybe "A Celtic Family Christmas" which was a bit hit and miss for me). I'm hesitant to pick a favourite because they're all so different. A Christmas Celebration had a deliberate pace at times, but the harmony was sublime. Home for Christmas was powerful and spectacular! The Magic of Christmas will probably be the most polarizing for the fan base, but I really enjoyed listening to it and I think it was the most fun! I hope you love it too!
97
calendar / Re: 2020-05-02 Celtic Woman: Celebration (Costa Mesa, CA)
« Last post by Tracie on October 25, 2019, 12:22:02 AM »
Since we're now going to the San Diego show from Gregg's impulsive purchase today, I think it's highly likely that we'll go to Costa Mesa too. The cities are fairly close to each other and our friends will be there! How can we pass that up!?

Plus there's a chance (my fingers are crossed) you might get to meet my California singer friend Mary Bee and possibly even Dani Carter and Kate Steinway!

Sweet!
98
The Magic of Christmas 2019 Tour / Re: Album: The Magic of Christmas!
« Last post by Tracie on October 25, 2019, 12:21:16 AM »
Oh my goodness, I just listened all the way through The Magic of Christmas in stunned awe with my jaw on the floor! The entire album is so gorgeous and incredibly fresh and fun! I am completely in love with every song! So excited to see it live in just 6 weeks!
99
calendar / Re: 2020-05-02 Celtic Woman: Celebration (Costa Mesa, CA)
« Last post by CWazyTom on October 25, 2019, 12:08:22 AM »
Since we're now going to the San Diego show from Gregg's impulsive purchase today, I think it's highly likely that we'll go to Costa Mesa too. The cities are fairly close to each other and our friends will be there! How can we pass that up!?

Plus there's a chance (my fingers are crossed) you might get to meet my California singer friend Mary Bee and possibly even Dani Carter and Kate Steinway!
100
calendar / Re: 2020-05-02 Celtic Woman: Celebration (Costa Mesa, CA)
« Last post by Tracie on October 24, 2019, 09:40:57 PM »
Since we're now going to the San Diego show from Gregg's impulsive purchase today, I think it's highly likely that we'll go to Costa Mesa too. The cities are fairly close to each other and our friends will be there! How can we pass that up!?
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