Thursday, December 24, 2009


Händel's Messiah is arguably the most widely shared musical experience in our culture. Each year the oratorio is sung by tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands o people in choirs and choral societies across the globe. Händel's music is indelibly part of our musical consciousness, with the "Hallelujah" chorus eliciting a level of recognition and emotional respose perhaps only otherwise achieved by the opening bars of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. No other composition is so generally familiar or so well loved. - John Scott Organist and Director of Music Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue

Please on this eve of Christmas enjoy some samples of the Washington National Cathedral Choirs live recording of Händel's Messiah:

Sinfony (Overture)
For Unto us a Child is Born
Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
Glory to God in the Highest
"Hallelujah" Chorus
Chorus (revelation 5: 12-14)

Click to Purchase this album

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hear the Christmas Angels

"Christmas is maybe the most intimate of seasons. It taps something deep in the human spirit — a yearning to be connected to each other and to God. And it stirs an array of memories of home. We are nomads these days, but beneath our restless lives we often notice the longing to be with those we love, to have a sense that we belong, that there is a place in this universe for us. 'Our hearts are restless till they rest in You,' St. Augustine once prayed. Home is where love is, and where God is.

Christmas is one of the most profound and moving seasons of the year at Washington National Cathedral. During this holy time, the Cathedral welcomes visitors and worshipers from near and far, in person and online, who are seeking a home where they can celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, God coming in flesh to live with us. This event 2,000 years ago unleashed a movement of hope and peace that is still at work today. In the Christmas season more than a billion people will travel to churches across the globe to sing carols and songs of their own traditions as they tell this story again and experience its hopeful, liberating power.

The selections on this recording include some of our favorite hymns and carols. We hope that they will allow you to enter into the mystery and beauty of the Christmas season. And we hope too that as you listen to them, you will be touched by the spirit of this Cathedral and will be reminded that here you have a home, not only at Christmas but throughout the year." - The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III

Hear The Christmas Angels is a spectacular selection of favorite Hymns and Carols from the Washington National Cathedral featuring: The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, The Cathedral Choir of Men and Girls, Cathedral Voices, The Cathedral Orchestra and members of the Washington Symphonic Brass.  Michael McCarthy and Scott Hanoian, directors and Erik Wm. Suter, organist.

Take a listen to these samples from Hear the Christmas Angels:

O Come All Ye Faithful
Angels We Have Heard on High
O Holy Night
Joy to the World

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sing in Exultation

From late November through the early weeks of each New Year, the world is alive with music celebrating the feasts and holy days of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. In times of prosperity or famine, and during years of uncertainty, conflict or peace, the many songs, carols and hymns, as well as the great choral and instrumental works composed for this season, have given voice to this festive Yuletide, expressing the world's yearning for peace and joy. This festive recording of carols and other music for Advent through Epiphany is a musical tour of both the massive and the more intimate spaces of the cathedral.

Feel the spirit of Christmas by listening to these samples from Sing in Exultation: Carols from Washington National Cathedral:

Processional: O come, O come, Emmanuel
O little town of Bethlehem
Gloria in excelsis
Lullay, lullay: Als I lay on Yoolis Night

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dr. Christmas Reviews/Teaser

Today we thought we would share a short review of two of our Christmas albums with the Washington National Cathedral Choirs. More important than the actual reviews though, is the fact that they were included in the "Dr. Christmas" "Nice List" during his annual CD review!

Every year since 1989, in the week or so before Christmas, UW Oshkosh sociology professor Dr. Gerry Grzyb has become "Dr. Christmas", bringing his astonishing array of holiday music to the airwaves of WRST-FM. Sizeable samples of over 2000 Christmas CDs have been played (there are 7000 in his collection!), with 172 added in 2008 alone. The diversity of the program lies in the fact that there is almost no genre of Christmas music that Dr. Christmas won't play, the one major exception being chlildren's music since it is obviously made for a much younger audience. Dr. C. likes it all, and plays it all, and the playlists provide ample evidence of that.

The good doctor has been honored in a number of ways.
Kyle Munson, longtime music critic for the Des Moines Register, wrote that he was “perhaps the nation’s foremost authority on Christmas music."

In recognition of his commitment to independent music, the Association For Independent Music (now defunct) named him one of the five judges in the Seasonal Music category for its Indie Awards (which were the independent music version of the Grammy).

A variety of musicians cite his reviews of their CDs that appeared in the Appleton Post Crescent on their websites.

His show has been written about in newspapers from Morro Bay, CA to Erie, PA, and it was listed as one of the distinctive ways people celebrate Christmas in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Munich's largest quality paper (roughly the equivalent of our New York Times).

In 2008 he was featured on WNYC, the public radio station in New York City. He took part in a debate about Christmas music as part of WNYC’s Soundcheck program.

Dr. Christmas is also heard on WRST's web stream. Last year, he had listeners around the country; click here for a map of them all! Stream listeners were also recorded in Toronto and its metro area, Dublin, Ireland, and even Hong Kong, China!

So here is Dr. Christmas' short blurb on our albums:

An equally big sound emanates from the multiple choirs, organ, orchestra, and brass ensemble assembled for “Hear the Christmas Angels” at the Washington National Cathedral. The fare is mostly familiar arrangements of favorite carols, including five from modern carolmeister John Rutter. “Sing In Exultation”, featuring the Cathedral Choirs of Men and Girls and of Men and Boys, aims to provide a musical tour of carols as well as the different acoustical spaces of that same D.C. landmark. There’s plenty of musical diversity here, including instrumental and organ pieces that make for a welcome freshness....Click to Read the full list of Christmas Reviews

It's an honor to be included in a list full of top-notch ensembles and labels.

Here's a quick teaser - We will be featuring select samples and information on these two albums plus one more throughout this week!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wanamaker Organ and the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble

Since our recent Christmas release Christmas in the Grand Tradition features both Peter Richard Conte on the Wanamaker Organ and the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble, we thought we would give you a hint to what they sound like when playing together! Here is a video of the PBE & Mr. Conte as well as a chorus performing America the Beautiful during "Wanamaker Organ Day 2009!"

Click to purchase Christmas in the Grand Tradition

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wanamaker Organ and Peter Richard Conte

One of our Christmas albums this year is Christmas in the Grand Tradition and features the organist Peter Richard Conte on the Wanamaker Organ. So today we thought we would share this video of Peter Richard Conte being interviewed by CBS about the Wanamaker Organ:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tidings of Joy

Under the artist direction of Douglas Mears, this massive musical ensemble of 300 singers with full symphony orchestra has created a beautifully produced recording with imaginative orchestrations and arrangements.  Herald in the season with the Fairfax Choral Society and Orchestra’s first release on Gothic Records!

Music for Christmas: Tidings of Joy is a program that follows the cycle of the Christmas season beginning with four Advent pieces, then five Nativity focused pieces, followed by six pieces of Celebration, and ending with five pieces of Adoration!

"Music has always been an integral part of Christmas. The glorious announcement of Christ’s birth by a choir of angels, the gentle lullaby of a mother to her newborn child, the jubilant rejoicing of shepherds as they returned from Bethlehem—virtually every aspect of the Christmas story has inspired poets and composers for centuries, and generations of singers have raised their voices in celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Each December since its founding forty-six years ago, the Fairfax Choral Society has joined in this annual tradition, presenting Christmas concerts that have gained in popularity over the years and have grown to include performances by over 300 singers of all ages with a full symphony orchestra. In addition to the extraordinary variety of instrumental and vocal color these musicians can create, Christmas music itself offers a vast array of contrasting styles and moods.

Recorded live, this concert of sacred and secular favorites weaves a rich tapestry of carols from fourteenth-century England to twenty-first-century America. As diverse as these carols are, they all share in the wonder and delight of the Christmas season as they bring to the world tidings of joy." -Douglas Mears

1. Berceuse - Jean-Michel Vaccaro
2. Lost in the Night - traditional, arr. by Kyle S. Haugen
3. Spašéñiye sodélal - Pavel Grigorievich Chesnokov
4. Here is Joy for Every Age - from Piae Cantiones, arr. by Stephen Mager

5. Gloria - Randol Alan Bass
6. A Manger Carol - Douglas Mears
7. Fantasy on What Child is This? - traditional, arr. by Barlow Bradford
8. Ding Dong! Merrily on High - traditional, arr. by Stephen Mager
9. The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy - traditional, arr. by Mack Wilberg

10. Kling, Glöckchen, Kling - Benedikt Widmann, arr. by Stephen Mager
11. Three Little Birdies - Edmund Walters
12. Wassail - traditional, arr. by John Currie
13. Danse russe Trepak - Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky
14. The Very Best Time of Year- John Rutter
15. I Saw Three Ships - traditional, arr. by Mack Wilberg

16. Night of Silence - Daniel Kantor
17. Lux Aurumque - Eric Whitacre
18. Jesus Christ the Apple Tree - Elizabeth Poston
19. Il Est Né, le Divin Enfant - anonymous, arr. by Donna Gartman Schultz
20. Carol to the King - James C. Christian, arr. by Mack Wilberg

Click to purchase Music for Christmas: Tidings of Joy

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in the Grand Tradition

A new recording on the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.  Under the dazzling finger of organist Peter Richard Conte, the world’s largest instrument teams up with the Philadelphia Brass in this program of Christmas favorites.   Selections include Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella, O Tannenbaum, Silent Night, For unto us a Child is Born, and many others.

Peter Richard Conte is the Grand Court Organist of the Wanamaker Organ in Macy's, Center City, Philadelphia. Appointed in 1989, he is the fourth person to hold that title since the organ was first played in 1911. As Choirmaster and Organist of St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia, Conte also directs an eighteen-voice professional choir in the Anglo-Catholic musical tradition.

Previous recordings by Conte on the Wanamaker include Midnight in the Grand Court, Magic!, and The Wanamaker Legacy. Conte appears under the management of Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists.

Formed in 1988, Philadelphia Brass is on the roster of Pennsylvania performing Artists on tour, and was sponsored by the U.S. State Department in a recent tour to Bolivia. Repertoire is chosen from an array of classical and popular music, including new works commissioned by Philadelphia Brass with composers Daniel Pinkham, David Diamond, J.A.C. Redford, Larry Lipkis, and Dick Hyman.

The ensemble consists of Brian Kuszyk (trumpet), Scott Mendoker (tuba), Lawrence Wright (trumpet), Anthony Cecere (horn), and Robert Gale (trombone). Previous recordings include Eternity Shut In A Span.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A VocalEssence Christmas!

Make your Christmas A VocalEssence Christmas with Welcome Christmas - Carols & Lullabies from Around the World!

Welcome Christmas
Carols & Lullabies from Around the World
Phillip Brunelle, director

From across the United States have come composers and arrangers whose work contributes to this collection of Christmas music. These are carols from around the world brought together in arrangements that reflect an inherently American diversity and spirit. From Virgil Thomson's camp meeting setting of "The Holly and the Ivy" and Steve Barnett's swing verson of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" to Randall Davidson's homespun "Christ Was Born on Christmas Day" and Conrad Susa's magnificent Carols & Lullabies, commissioned from Susa specifically for VocalEssence. Maestro Brunelle has chosen carols-both familiar and unfamiliar-tied to one another by their inventiveness, charm and beauty in one of the year's most exciting new holiday discs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

VocalEssence Target Commercial

Last month we shared our VocalEssence Thanksgiving music with you, and today we just couldn't help but share this video of VocalEssence doing a Target commercial for Christmas in Minnesota!

Click to view all of our VocalEssence recordings, including Christmas Music!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Händel's Messiah

As Christmas draws near, one of the most oft-performed classical works is Händel's oratorio The Messiah.

Recently, the Washington National Cathedral Choirs performed the oratorio, and so for those of us not fortunate enough to attend, there is a way to experience the magic of this choir in their magnificent space! The Gothic Catalog is very pleased to release a live recording of the 2007 performance of Händel's Messiah performed by the Washington National Cathedral Choir and Baroque Orchestra.

Washington National Cathedral Choir and Baroque Orchestra present Messiah

Please click to purchase at a special low price!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys - Washington National Cathedral Choirs

Since our Christmas albums are all performances by the Washington National Cathedral Choirs, we thought we would share a video with you of The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. This is one of the choirs on the Hear the Christmas Angels album.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Washington National Cathedral Choir Christmas Albums!

Check out our selection of new Washington National Cathedral Christmas releases available on NOW!

Hear the Christmas Angels - Washington National Cathedral Choirs

Hear the Christmas Angels
The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys
The Cathedral Choir of Men and Girls
Michael McCarthy, conductor

Cathedral Voices
Cott Hanoian, director
Erick Wm. Suter, organist

The Cathedral Orchestra
Members of Washington Symphonic Brass

A collection of favorite hymns and carols from Washington National Cathedral.

Sing in Exultation - Washington National Cathedral Choir

Sing in Exultation
Carols from Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral Choir

Michael McCarthy, conductor

Recorded at Washington National Cathedral for broadcast by Public Radio International, the classic collection of carols and organ solos includes Lullay (The Coventry Carol), Adeste fideles, Verbum caro, and other favorites.