It's important to know the difference between twentieth century Christmas pop and European Christmas folk carols. While favorites like "Santa Claus Is Coming to Down," "Jingle Bells," and Mel Tormé's "The Christmas Song" are examples of American Christmas pop, Bright Star Day: Music for the Yuletide Season focuses largely on traditional European Christmas carols. Most of the songs the Baltimore Consort embraces on this CD date back to sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth nineteenth century Europe, although a few are American folk pieces that originated in Appalachia in the twentieth century. The European Yuletide carols or dance songs that the Consort (which has an engaging female soprano vocalist in Custer LaRue) chose for Bright Star Day range from Irish ("The Wren Song") and British ("Drive the Cold Winter Away," "Hey, For Christmas") to German ("Wir Singen Dir, Immanuel"). All of these songs are a product of Christian traditions, and yet, one needn't embrace the Christian faith to appreciate them. Just as one can enjoy Indian ragas without being a Hindu, listeners can appreciate this CD's richness whether or not they actually celebrate Christmas.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson