Chanticleer. Let it snowChanticleer, the virtuoso all-male vocal ensemble, has recorded a broad spectrum of pieces, from esoteric Baroque Mexican liturgical music to the avant-garde to pop hits. Perhaps their oddest foray into odd repertoire is among their most innocuous-sounding: “Holiday cheer, a suite of seasonal songs,” from their new album, Let it snow. The first item in the medley is “Jingle Bells,” one of the most blandly cheerful holiday selections. The listener is carried merrily along by the perky introduction until -- suddenly -- what are all these intensely dissonant crashing chords and whooping horn glissandi? The voices then enter over the orchestral cacophony happily singing a traditional version of “Jingle Bells.” The astute listener is compelled to ask, “Am I imagining things?” and hit the skip back button to replay the astonishing passage, and sure enough, there are the staccato, accented chords from the beginning of “Augurs of spring: Dances of the young girls,” from The Rite of Spring, overlaid with the horn whoops from the end of the section, and a harp glissando from who knows where. By the time the singers have gotten to “Bells on bobtail ring, making spirits bright …,” the accompaniment has morphed seamlessly into a traditional version. To let you know that you weren’t in fact hallucinating, the arrangers, Buryl Red and Joseph Joubert, throw in the Stravinsky again at the climax of the medley’s final song, “We wish you a merry Christmas.” What does it all mean? Maybe the arrangers want to remind you that spring is right around the corner (along with orgiastic dancing and sacrificial maidens.)

AMG’s 30-second sound sample unfortunately doesn’t capture this particular moment from the track, so to hear it you’ll need to get your hands on the CD yourself. You shouldn’t be disappointed, though -- some of the arrangements are traditional and some are almost as loopy as the medley, and the singing is terrific throughout.