Anne Sofie von Otter - Home for Christmas
From the earliest days of recording, Christmas songs have featured in the record lists, sung by opera stars aiming for a popular audience. In its first list of discs by female singers, the German-language wing of the Gramophone Company listed as its 21st release the Covent Garden contralto Edith Clegg singing Still wie die Nacht on a seven-inch G&T. Sadly I haven't got that to compare with von Otter's typically eclectic and adventurous recital of Christmas songs.
She ranges from pop-style close-miked near croon for Mel Torme's and Robert Wells's The Christmas Song ('Chestnuts roasting on an open fire') to the folksy Bred Dina vida Vingar and a more early-music approach to the old French carol
There is something for everyone here - just as it should be in the season of goodwill. Those who don't respond to her version of Have yourself a merry little Christmas will enjoy her rapt singing of the Corpus Christi carol. The arrangements, mostly by Svante Henryson, are constantly pleasing. The instrumentalists include Kalle Moraeus, Bengan Jansson and Svante Henryson. Obviously, you have to be in the right mood for this disc. Not much use listening to it on a bright summer morning. By the time this review appears we'll be gearing up not just for Christmas but the Millennium. Lots of frayed nerves then, I expect, so this quiet, reflective beautiful disc ought to be just the thing.'