This score follows not only Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, but the centuries of musical reverberations thereafter. It plants its humble seeds in the Middle East where the gentle tones of Persian and Turkish ney flutes articulate melodic figures, and strident Roman horns and drums bind Herod the Great's soldiers to the military terminology of the age. The score then blossoms from these seeds, extending its tendrils across centuries of European traditions. Pre-Baroque instruments such as viola da gamba, vielle, harp, and recorders guide the score westward with the elemental sounds of strings and winds. The second half of the soundtrack covers Mary's isolation and her relationship with Joseph by weaving throughout the choral writing and knitting the work together into a dramatic, reverent whole.
An excellent budget compilation of the wonderful Bethlehem Records label - what a roster of artists they had. Very good sound too. The Bethlehem label focused on jazz releases, and this set collects some great examples of jazz–vocally and instrumentally–between the years 1958-62. One look at the artists on this 60 track 2 CD set shows how many fine artists released music on the label. Like other collections from One Day Music, there's no booklet, only a short paragraph about the label and a few of the featured artists. The digitally remastered sound is good overall within the limits of recording styles of the era.