Christmas Recordings Review – A Christmas Story

Caroline Léonardelli, harp: Ottawa Bach Choir,
Lisette Canton, conductor (Centaur Classics)

This is one of the most refreshing and delightful Christmas CDs to come along in years. Ottawa harpist Caroline Léonardelli joins forces with the female voices of Lisette Canton’s Ottawa Bach Choir and vocal soloists Kathleen Radke, Julie Nesrallah and Dayna Lamothe, as well as percussionist J.S. Lacombe, in a program drawn from traditional and modern sources.

The centrepiece is Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, op. 28. Originally intended for boys’ voices and harp, it works even better when the singers are women and sing with the purity and lightness that the women of the OBC bring to this enterprise.

Caroline Léonardelli’s harp is an almost constant presence, and her solos, like Marcel Tournier’s Trois Noëls pour harpe, op. 32 are among the most exquisite offerings. Even better is her version of the Appalachian carol I wonder as I wander.

This CD is as good a stocking-stuffer as you’ll find.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005

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