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Sacred music continues to thrive in the church and concert halls and 2012 brings a wealth of stellar releases. Here are 10 of the year's best—instrumental and choral, classical and modern, recorded in studios and in cathedrals. There's a little ...

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DAVID PORTER

January 02, 2013  4:48pm

I can heartily commend your recommendation for Phoenix Chorale, Charles Bruffy, Northern Lights: Choral Works by Ola Gjeilo (CHANDOS). I downloaded the album from iTunes about a week ago and highly recommend it. I particularly enjoy "O Magnum Mysterium" (Serenity). Here's this from the album jacket: "Gjeilo’s setting of the ancient text ‘O magnum mysterium’ is generally performed under the alternative title Serenity – an allusion to the composer’s verbal instruction at the top of the score. The chant, a responsory for the Matins service on Christmas Day, evokes all the wonder and fascination of the incarnation of Christ, a pageant of veiled power and majesty, yet one unfolded before lowly farm animals unable to sing his praises. Accompanied by a solo cello, this lush setting brims with what Gjeilo describes as a passionate peacefulness – a peacefulness that is not passive, but filled with warmth, faith, passion, and gentle intent."

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DAVID SWANSON

December 14, 2012  7:27pm

Good going. Right on. I've yet to listen to any of the selections above, but I'm familiar with many of these organizations and groups and I'm certain any of the above CDs would be well worth owning . . . and very much unlike the selections you recommended in that previous Christianity Today piece, which included Rod Stewart singing "Merry Christmas Baby."

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