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Album Review: Crystalline Christmas
Richard Carr
Cover image of the album Crystalline Christmas by Richard Carr
Crystalline Christmas
Richard Carr
2002 / Rec'D Music
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I REALLY enjoyed Richard Carr’s first Christmas album, Christmas Fireside, and was looking forward to his second collection of seasonal standards and original pieces. I’m not sure why, but, for me, the newer album doesn’t have the same sparkle. It could be that I’m just tired of Christmas music at this point. Carr takes pride that his recordings are presented just as they were recorded - without edits or corrections - but I think even a little polishing would have made this a much better album. Carr performed several selections on a Kurzweil keyboard. This is the most effective on “O Come, Little Children,” a rather wistful carol from Germany. The medley of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Deck the Halls” isn’t quite as successful. It’s an interesting arrangement, and it sounds like Carr is having a great time playing it, but the bass line is too monotonous and the piece sounds a bit like a merry-go-round. Meanwhile, back at the piano, “The Holly and the Ivy” is given a simple, direct treatment that is charming. “Silent Night” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” are paired in an interesting medley with a gently rolling left hand accompanying the familiar melodies. I really like that Carr has introduced several less-familiar songs of the season. “Gaudete! (Rejoice!)” is a 16th century Finnish song that is dark and somber with a feeling similar to “The Coventry Carol” - Carr does a really nice job on this one. “Noel Nouvelet” is also dark and mysterious, with a beautifully plaintive melody. Aside from a few questionable notes and a heavy pedal foot, this is a gem. The closing track, “Lulajze, Jezuniu (Lullaby, Baby Jesus)” is my favorite piece. A traditional Polish carol, I’d never heard it before. Performed on the Kurzweil with a breathy flute-like sound and sweet and gentle accompaniment, this piece embodies the peace and innocence of the true Christmas spirit. Although somewhat uneven, the good tracks are really good and a few are great. Crystalline Christmas is currently available from www.richardcarr.com.
December 1, 2002
This review has been tagged as:
Holiday Albums
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