A joyous listening experience for the holiday season, this refreshing and uplifting collection performed by the choirs and instrumentalists of the Church of the Transfiguration is perfect for celebrating with family and loved ones. Produced by director Rod Voss and the help of a plethora of engineers, the ensemble delivers this chosen assortment of Christmas music in engaging fashion, captivating the listener upon first listen. The album's sound is lush and fresh, filled with an eloquent group of instrumentalists and an articulate group of choir members. The album can be most remembered for its enchanting expression of harmonization by the four vocal groups within the choir, ranging from alto, tenor, soprano, and bass. Highlights consist of the charming and visceral "People Look East," the haunting "Hodie Christus Natus Est," a 12th century melody from Divinum Mysterium, set in mode V, arranged and brought to life by the directing talents of Voss. Soloist Jeanne Lyons is featured in the beautiful "Mary's Lullaby." "Arise, Shine" is most uplifting, a witty piece written and composed by contemporary artist Marty Haugen. "Still, Still, Still" is a popular Austrian carol that provides the listener a warm and welcome backdrop for this season of reflection. Perhaps the most forgotten and least-known piece is "Of the Father's Love Begotten," a mysterious and passionate piece, written in text by Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentis (348-413), and a song in 13th plainsong, expressed in a setting under Katherine Crosier's inception. The "Coventry Carol" is opened up with the timely and textured presence of a classical guitar, an introduction performed by David Fragale. "Stille Nacht," written by Franz X. Gruber and more commonly known as "Silent Night," is rich entangled in perfectly executed harmony among the vocalists. Solo vocalist Celia McDermott closes up the record in enlightening fashion, with the promising portrait of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
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AllMusic Review by Shawn M. Haney