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The Birth of Christ

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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The Birth of Christ - Andrew T. Miller, classical music CD review.

The Birth of Christ - Andrew T. Miller

Sony BMG

The Bottom Line

For me, new recordings often take a couple of listenings before the music really takes root and begins to make sense. However, Andrew T. Miller's The Birth of Christ had me in its opening minutes. Its sound is far more tonal than a lot of 20th century works I come across. The recording itself is surprisingly without distraction, as the performance was recorded live. The soloists sound amazing, the choir was balanced and well rehearsed, and though Liam Neeson is no Patrick Stewart, his narration was articulate (but slightly mechanical).
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Pros

  • Fantastic performances by soloists, choir, and instrumentalists
  • Great live recording
  • Music is beautifully written, invigorating, and inspiring

Cons

  • They didn't include the libretto in the cover notes

Description

  • Released - November 2007
  • 1 Disk, 13 Tracks
  • Total Play Time - 60:12

Guide Review - The Birth of Christ

Andrew T. Miller's The Birth of Christ was recorded live in Ireland. His historic premier joined together two choirs of different faiths, one Catholic and one Protestant, under one roof to sing about the central core of their faith. The Birth of Christ is a wonderful composition full of mystery and awe. Miller's melodic lines and harmonies are to the ears as milk and honey are to the soul. Miller captures the magnitude of Jesus' birth within the musical lines while maintaining the suppleness of the small babe.

The soloists Amy Bils (soprano), Kelley O'Connor (mezzo-soprano), Robert McPherson (tenor), John B. Coopoer (baritone), Robin Tritschler (tenor), and Owen Gilhooly (baritone) sing with warmth and beauty, and their voices are clear and bright. Amy Bils in particular arrestingly performs "Mary's Canticle."

I would like to see this work live, as long as it's rehearsed and well put together as this recording's live performance. I would also like to see it become a staple of Christmastime traditions. Andrew T. Miller's The Birth of Christ is that good.

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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Transcendent and Glorious, Member mrswehrxian

I first happened upon the production of ""The Birth of Christ"" on PBS late Christmas Eve 2008 while wrapping the last of my gifts. It was actually Liam Neeson's voice that caught my attention, but the first shimmering chords of the music captured my ear and held me captive - no longer wrapping, just listening. I am a choral conductor, singer and teacher as well as a lifelong devotee of Handel's ""Messiah."" I think a comparison of the two works is actually unfair and unproductive, but ""The Birth of Christ"" definitely moved me in a way similar to ""The Messiah."" The chords written for the choir remind me of modern choral composers such as Morton Lauridsen and Rene' Clausen, a couple of my favorites. I love the way Miller has the soloists perform together a number of times and also the device of the soloists actually portraying the characters themselves as they sing. The soprano's vocal quality is pure and arresting and she is particularly lovely to watch in the DVD performance. The tenor soloist's voice is breathtakingly beautiful and moved me to tears more than once. His radiant clarity and effortless soaring up to impossibly high range is a perfect representation of at least my earthly idea of what an angel might sound like. Per the previous reviewer, ""The Birth of Christ"" has already become a yearly tradition in my house and I eagerly await the day the score is available to purchase and perform in my community.

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