New York Polyphony

Sing Thee Nowell

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Sing Thee Nowell Review

by James Manheim

The holiday season generally abounds with similar-sounding releases, but the year 2014 brought an unusually fresh crop including this release from the vocal quartet New York Polyphony, excellently recorded by BIS at a boychoir chapel in Princeton, New Jersey. The group follows the common procedure of including music from the Middle Ages to the present day, but they push the boundaries at each step with a distinctive sound that flirts with, but does not adopt, the textures made famous by the Swingle Singers. This has a revelatory effect in Philippe Verdelot's Gabriel Archangelus, a work that does not sound like much when dutifully sung by a cathedral choir. Many pieces are grouped by Christmas subtheme -- Annunciation, Epiphany, Advent, and Nativity -- and the program is cannily put together to show ideas refracted through the music of various periods. For many, though, the chief attraction will be the impeccably close harmonies of New York Polyphony, and that kind of sheer skill rarely coexists with such programming sophistication. An ideal gift for someone who likes a cappella, small group polyphony.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 New York Polyphony 03:18 Amazon
2 New York Polyphony 01:33 Amazon
3 New York Polyphony 04:26 Amazon
4 New York Polyphony 02:14
5 New York Polyphony 02:20
6 New York Polyphony 02:25
7 New York Polyphony 03:18 Amazon
8 New York Polyphony 01:38 Amazon
9 New York Polyphony 03:18 Amazon
10 New York Polyphony 03:02
11 New York Polyphony 03:37 Amazon
Five Carols
12 New York Polyphony 02:46
13 New York Polyphony 01:48
14 New York Polyphony 01:23
15 New York Polyphony 02:29
16 New York Polyphony 01:36
17 New York Polyphony 01:41 Amazon
18 New York Polyphony 03:40 Amazon
19 New York Polyphony 02:41
20 New York Polyphony 05:57 Amazon
21 New York Polyphony 02:13
22 New York Polyphony 04:01
23 New York Polyphony 06:43
24 New York Polyphony 02:58
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