Picks and Pans Review: Voices: a Compilation of the World's Greatest Choirs

updated 12/24/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/24/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Various artists

A performance by London's Monteverdi Choir of the "Amen" chorus from Handel's Messiah is the only traditional Christmas music on Voices. Nonetheless this three-CD collection of international choral music is an ideal vehicle for armchair musical adventurers, including non-Christians, to embark on a spiritual joy ride.

Vocal groups represented include the Eastern Orthodox Monks of the Sagorsk Cloister near Moscow, the Israeli Kibbutz Choir and the South African township ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

The music has been arranged in sequences that invite the listener to explore common resonances between diverse genres. For instance, "Ya Allah," an incantation from the Middle East sung by the Mendocino Camp Sufi Choir, flows naturally into "Lord I Know, I've Been Changed" by the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir.

Each of the 33 selections is interesting in its own right. And listened to in its entirety, Voices has a hypnotically rapturous quality. This is a collection you can return to at any time during the year and be reminded that goodwill toward men should be more than a seasonal dream. (Mesa)

From Our Partners