REVIEW POTPOURRI – Composer: Berlioz; Xmas quote from Borge; Band: Abba

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Berlioz: L’Enfance du Christ

Andre Cluytens conducts Paris Conservatory Orchestra with chorus and soloists. EMI, Recorded 1964, 2 CDs.

Hector Berlioz

André Cluytens

Composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) left a Christmas oratorio, the above-listed Birth of Christ and quite exceptional in its own sublime beauty. The work focuses on three episodes of the Christmas story- Herod’s dream and massacre of the innocents; the flight of Joseph, Mary and their infant into Egypt; and the hospitality provided by an Ishmaelite family in the Egyptian town of Sais.

Its vocal solos and choruses abound in melodic richness. The baritone aria, depicting the evil Herod’s dream and sung by Ernest Blanc, is an eloquent one with Berlioz’s matchless orchestral scoring. The harp and flute duet and a capella chorus; Roger Soyer’s Joseph; Victoria de los Angeles’s Mary; and Nicolai Gedda’s Narrator add up to a work that, for me, has sustained numerous rehearings throughout the years.

Andre Cluytens’s 1964 set has been nicely remastered and reissued a number of times. It is available through Amazon and its vendors at inexpensive prices .

Xmas quote from Victor Borge

Victor Borge

“Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year. “

Abba: Arrival

Polydor 2344058, LP, recorded 1976.

The quality of Abba’s songs is wide ranging, from good to sublime, as it was 40 years ago when I first heard them. Arrival is one of eight albums released before they disbanded in 1982. The marriages of the two couples comprising the group, Benny and Anni and Bjorn and Agnetha, ended becau

se of the pressures from their phenomenal worldwide popularity.

This album’s 10 songs included Dancing Queen, Money Money Money, Why Did It Have to be Me, and the title song, while the arrangements, range of musical instruments and sheer sound contributed to a major ‘70s pop classic.



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