Timbre - Silent Night

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Artist: Timbre
TitleSilent Night
Label: None
Release Date: 11/25/2011
Reviewer: Joshua Hedlund

Tracklisting:

  1. Angelus
  2. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  3. Carol of the Bells
  4. The Robin Red Breast
  5. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
  6. Silent Night
  7. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  8. Silent Night (3 Year Old Timbre)
  9. Joy to the World
  10. What Child is This?
  11. Silent Night (Friends & Family)

Timbre the harpist has recorded a Christmas album with her family and friends, and thanks to the help of her Kickstarter supporters she is releasing it to everyone for free whether they can afford it or not. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping and let this album soothe your spirit.

The folky accordions and clarinets that adorned last year’s Little Flowers are nowhere to be found here as Timbre returns to her classical roots. Silent Night kicks off with Gabriel’s annunciation of Christ’s birth in “Angelus,” based on a Latin inscription that lines the walls of the Nashville cathedral where the album was recorded. We get a glimpse of Timbre’s soaring vocals and soothing harp that have been enchanting fans since Winter Comes to Wake You, and her vocal range is as impressive as ever. “The Robin Red Breast” is another nod to her classic sound, as this original adaptation of an old Christmas legend feels a lot like something from the Winter album.

But Timbre is not actually the main star of this album. The primary instruments here are the piano and the cello, and it is Timbre’s siblings – appropriately named Tenor, Treble, and Tetra – who steal the show as they flesh out Timbre’s beautiful arrangements with their classical and cinematic performances.

Think you’ve heard enough arrangements of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”? Wait until you here this solo cello calmly trace a hint of the melody, followed by the lilting piano and finally the soft voices, all carried by subtle shifting between the traditional 4/4 and the movement of 6/8. You can almost see the snow falling in a Christmas special – except this recording is simply too good for any cheesy Christmas special.

“Carol of the Bells” and “What Child Is This” are similar treats, as the cello and piano lay moving cinematic foundations for the harp to dance on. “Joy to the World” gets the most unconventional arrangement with its original melody, mathy time signatures, and bouncing percussion. It may be a little too much for the traditionalist, but I think most listeners will love hearing the siblings “sing joy.” And if the four siblings just aren’t enough for you, they are joined by the other members of the 30-voice Trevecca Madrigalian Choir for the solemn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” the peaceful “Silent Night,” and a couple other places as well. I won’t spoil all the surprises for you, although the track listing gives away a charming snippet pulled from the Cierpke family cassette tape vault,

Overall: Timbre’s unique talent and creativity shine through again. If you need to get pumped and excited about Christmas, there’s always Trans-Siberian Orchestra or tobyMac’s new poppy Christmas In Diverse City. But when you need to relax and feel the quiet joy of a Silent Night, well, Timbre is here. And best of all, it won’t cost you a thing – although I encourage you to return the generous gift with a few dollars of your own. Have a Merry Christmas!

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