Revel Players - The Christmas Revels: Traditional & Ritual Carols CD
Personnel: John Fleagle (tenor); John Langstaff (baritone); Marshall Barron (fiddle); Brian Holmes (accordion, horns); Elizabeth Poston, Ralph Vaughan Williams (accordion); Jermone Epstein (concertina); Lisle Kulbach (recorder); Hildur Colot (dulcian); Fred Holmgren, Ken Pullig (trumpet); Kevin Henry, John Hildebrand (trombone); Janet Fuchs (sackbut); Frank Epstein (timpani).
Liner Note Author: Susan Cooper.
Recording information: Sanders Theater, Harvard University (1978).
Director: John Langstaff.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble; Hildur Colot; Henry Chapin; Robbie Dawson; Gerret Warner; Katherine Valentine; Cynthia Shauer; Jesse Saletan; Sarah Wickett; Janet Fuchs; Peter Clark; Darrin Leverett; Pegeen Valentine; Nina Saletan; Megan Thomas; Naila Wissa; David Gay ; Corinna Snyder; John Burkhardt; John Fleagle; Mike Fraser; Susan Robbins.
Arranger: Marshall Barron.
There are Christians who refuse to celebrate the season because of its pagan origins, grounded in Solstice revels. These origins were made abundantly clear when John Langstaff first staged the Christmas Revels in New York City's Town Hall in 1957. The Revels, then, were a celebration of the rebirth of the New Year, but Langstaff added a twist. He would also enfold Christ -- the "Lord of the Dance" -- into his pageant, arguing that His death and rebirth fit perfectly into ancient pagan ritual. This 1978 version of The Christmas Revels offers but one version of the ever-evolving procession, featuring Langstaff as lead baritone on favorites like "The Boar's Head Carol" and "Lord of the Dance." A large cast, performing choral vocals, spoken parts, and instrumentals, brings an energetic dignity to a mixture of traditional songs, dances, ritual, and poetry. While the spoken portions of the Revels probably work better in a live theater experience, its important to remember that the program is meant as a community celebration. While some people will find this music a bit eccentric, the sort of thing one might hear on public radio on Christmas Eve; The Christmas Revels breaks away from yet another version of "Silent Night" and offers a refreshing way to celebrate the season. Pagans of all stripes will also be glad to have a holiday album to call their own. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
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