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Rich Brunner
Choral Journal, November 2015

As the title promises, they have brought a new life, a refreshing wonder, to some of the old stand-by tunes by infusing them with gloriously sung descants and a delightful re-imagination of color and texture… © 2015 Choral Journal Read complete review

Brian Wigman
Classical Net, February 2015

…the Elora Festival Singers prove worthy of their world-class reputation. Naxos has always repaid their artistry with sound of the highest order, and so it proves here. Noel Edison and his singers should be commended for giving us such a worthwhile Christmas gift, one which adds to a list of underrated holiday projects the label has generously given us over the years. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review

WQXR (New York), December 2014

Like your carols straightforward? The Elora Festival Singers, from Ontario, Canada, offer the most traditional option of the new releases, emphasizing the spiritual aspect of the season. Tracks including “Once in Royal David’s City,” “The Holly and the Ivy” and “What Child is This?” feature a crystalline, harmonically rounded sound. Compositions by Benjamin Britten and John Tavener add a more contemporary texture to the mix of popular tunes and early music. A surprisingly rousing “The First Nowell” ends the album on an up note. © 2014 WQXR (New York)

David Vernier, December 2014

…these singers embrace and elevate everything they sing—and their performances are imbued with a vivaciousness and joy that’s absolutely infectious. © 2014 Read complete review

Jason Victor Serinus
Bay Area Reporter, December 2014

The women’s voices are especially wonderful, with the recording achieving an ideal balance between clarity and church resonance. You may want to join in on “The First Nowell.” © 2014 Bay Area Reporter Read complete review

WCLV, December 2014

…one of the most varied and expertly sung holiday programs among this year’s Christmas releases! © 2014 WCLV Read complete review

Matthew Parsons
CBC, December 2014

The Elora Festival Singers’ new recording, The Wonder of Christmas, will transport you straight to every festive town square you’ve ever seen in a TV Christmas special—complete with decorated tree, happy shoppers and, of course, merry carollers. © 2014 CBC Read complete review

Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, December 2014

As I listened to this CD I was taken by the wonder of it all. And hey, that’s the title of the album…

This is refined singing by any standard…if you enjoy sitting by a roaring fire with a glass of brandy in your hand on a cold winter’s night, this is the music for you. Believe me, it will enhance and enrich your moments of quiet introspection. © 2014 Musical Toronto Read complete review

International Record Review, December 2014

This is of such a high standard as to give many famous English cathedral choirs serious competition in terms of intonation, internal balance and musicianship. …the quality of these performances brings out the freshness and immortality of [the] music. This most enjoyable CD is also outstandingly recorded… © 2014 International Record Review

BBC Music Magazine, December 2014

Christmas in Canada, courtesy of this silk-toned, impeccably mannered ensemble of adult singers. The Elora’s airiness and ease of voice production is very noticeable, with excellent enunciation. This enhances enjoyment of story-carols such as Paul Halley’s arrangement of What Child is This? and Bob Chilcott’s of Away in a Manger. With many less familiar items, and a dash of Americana—the Appalachian I Wonder as I Wander—this is a refreshing alternative to the English collegiate and cathedral tradition. © 2014 BBC Music Magazine

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, December 2014

A judicious mixture of adult and children’s voices is heard on this CD, with a variety of settings ranging from polyphony to more straightforward treatments of familiar favorites.

Mostly, the style of holiday favorites such as “What Child is This,” “Gabriel’s Message,” and “I Wonder as I Wander” is a lush blend of voices, augmented as is usual in modern chorale singing with wordless syllables as fits the needs of the music. A rich variety of voices suit the famous chorus “O Holy Night” (Cantique de Noël) by French operatic composer Adolphe Adam. © 2014 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

René-François Auclair
La Scena Musicale, December 2014

Considering the inevitable and useless Christmas CDs on the market, here’s a one worthy of our attention. The tradition and spirit of this religious holiday are preserved. The richness and at times brave harmonies of the Carols’ modern arrangements are especially appreciated. Rather than deprive the Carols of their essence…[the choir] add a stimulating note of freshness and renewal. Listening to this music allows us to understand how the human voice has enormous evocative power. Here’s a disc that awakens our greatest nostalgia and fascination for discovering how the Christmas repertoire continues to move us. Wonderful! © 2014 La Scena Musicale Read complete review

Ronni Reich
Newark Star-Ledger, November 2014

The Elora Festival Singers offer a still more traditional option with pristine choral singing that emphasizes the spiritual aspect of the season rather than the tinsel. A placid solo straight-toned soprano opens the recording in “Once in Royal David’s City,” and the purity of sound continues. The men are solid in “What Child is This?”, which features a simple but appealing descant. Greater harmonic variety than in the more pop-oriented albums can be heard particularly in the lush polyphony of “Neciens Mater Virgo Virum” and in “The Holly and the Ivy.” © 2014 Newark Star-Ledger Read complete review, November 2014

The reverence with which the works are performed, and the sheer beauty of the singing, make this a first-rate seasonal disc that attempts to show the universality of the traditional message of peace on Earth by exploring in some depth the notion of a loving divinity appearing in person, in human form…the joy and warmth of the performances are winning… © 2014 Read complete review

Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, November 2014

There’s a lot to love about this…choral disc from Naxos… © 2014 The Buffalo News Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2014

Eighteen tracks, fifteen composers, a sprinkling of lesser-know music for Advent and a timely reminder that this is the commemoration of a religious birthday. Once in Royal David’s City, O Holy Night, The First Nowell, What Child is This and Gabriel’s Message, are all long serving reminders of that anniversary, with Britten’s A Boy was Born and Tavener’s Rocking among the modern additions. This side of the Atlantic we would take most of the works with greater urgency, but the conductor, Noel Edison, does avoid the overblown performances that the works they usually suffer at this time of the year. The character of the Canadian-based Elora Festival Singers is one of lightweight transparency, the organ accompaniment, from Michael Bloss, used judiciously in just eight tracks, and then mainly to underpin the texture. I am not sure they are happy when following the modern trend, that started in the UK, of having sopranos going into the outer stratospheres to take the part of boy trebles, as it here often sounds hard in texture. Words are printed in the accompanying booklet, and you will certainly need them, the church acoustic brings a reverential feel and a great deal of reverberation to the performances that often blurs diction that left me, at times, trying to grasp anything. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

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