Great X-mass recordings unfortunately don’t come out annually hence looking some five years back makes a deep sense. This recording’s connection with Christmas subject is far from usual so is its mood. Choice of instruments or even the way it had been registered, as the main themes had been recorded in Oslo and the ney, trumpet and duduk in The Bulgarian Church of Stephan in Istanbul and added to the mix later. The choice of that place has a significant meaning and affects the sound as it is the only Church world-wide made of the cast iron!
Overall concept with its complexity adds nicely to the texture of this project and makes it the one off.
Philosophically it is very symbolic, too. Due to a historic location, where the West meets the East. If you follow the legend the Three Wise Men were Kings, Scholars or Philosophers. No one knows that for sure today, but certainly they had been clever enough to be able to recognise the meaning of Christmas and follow the sign to praise the Lord.
The legend says that they bought gifts to The Stable, to give their best to glorify the event of the miraculous birth of God’s son. Right now if you, like the title suggest, thread the musicians as the embodiment of those wise men you have to consider the music on this recording coming from all over the world as a gift too.
This music is the gift indeed giving the fact of its rarity and the way it had been performed. Three artists here are representing completely different cultures and musical backgrounds but the spiritual connection is there and prevented all the time during this performance. It makes it not only the tribute to the Christmas tradition itself but also a multi-cultural cross talk blending a folk and the classical polyphony from all parts of the world.
This is not just an ethnographic experience. It breaks the boundaries. We have got a music from Norway, France and Germany here, but also from Palestine. Some pieces are played in the traditional way, with deep respect for a original scales. Some comes as a modern combination of like Country, Contemporary Jazz or Folk. Arranges are various, but all works brilliant and remains engaging all the time .The way it all merges shows that music knows no borders. Only people make them. So is the truth with the Faith.
This bouquet of spices and flavours spreads its tasteful aromas around you and putts a spell on the listener. Like the previous two recordings mentioned it brings you into the Christmas mood too, however from a completely different direction. This one is a journey through the time and spaces. Many of them.
To me all that material is original and challenging. I wonder if listeners who are able to recognise the particular cultural background could classify it as an authentic? Or like myself, just drift with the pleasure through entire recording and enjoying fragility and beauty of those arrangements made as such. The most precious thing those three wise men are able to offer.