It's a pleasure to be able to recommend a collection of Christmas music without reservation. This album (as the title suggests), features favorites from the German-speaking world, so some songs may be unfamiliar to English-speaking audiences, but the arrangements are so tasteful and charming and the performances are so sophisticated while being natural and unmannered that only the most unadventurous traditionalist is likely to find fault with the selection. The CD features an attractive mix of familiar sacred songs, chorales, and carols, such as "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen," "O du fröhliche," "Still, still, still," "Zu Bethlehem der Engel sprach" (The First Noel), "Bethlehem, du kleine Stadt" (O Little Town of Bethlehem), "Hört der Engel helle Lieder" (Angels We Have Heard on High), and "Stille Nacht" (Silent Night), in addition to the less well-known fare. The arrangements, by a variety of composers, respect the character of each piece while avoiding clichéd conventionality. Eckhard Weyand leads the chamber ensemble Collegium Instrumentale Stuttgart and the Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben, a choir of men and boys, in performances that are warm, pure, and unaffected, ideally suited to the folk-like nature of the music. Haenssler's sound is clean and nicely atmospheric.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Singt und klingt, cantata|