Review - Christmas 2000: A Thousand Years of Christmas Music

Artist: Michael Leasure

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For a trés traditional Christmas revelation, slide into jazzy guitarist Michael Leasure's easy-listening self-release "Christmas 2000," a solid hour of locally produced spiritual reverie. Subtitled "A Thousand Years of Christmas Music," Leasure's selections, orchestrations and arrangements are steeped in European lore. His classical guitar roams romantic history for true-to-their-roots revivals of evergreens, including lead track "Angels We Have Heard on High," "What Child Is This" and "The First Noel."

Lengthy classical sophistications such as "Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring" by J.S. Bach and the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by Peter Tchaikovsky are rich and fulfilling. Then there's a touch of gothic shadow in "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," a traditional French number that keeps company with several other historical ghosts, like "Sanctus," from 13th-century Italy. The only weakness is the humble, brown-shaded packaging encumbered by Old English lettering; the colors should be as bright and enduring as the music inside.

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