Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


When He Is King – Music for Christmas
Trad. arr. Philip LEDGER Sussex Carol
Elizabeth POSTON Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
Henry WALFORD DAVIES O little town of Bethlehem
Peter WARLOCK Benedicamus Domino
Harold DARKE In the bleak mid-winter
Trad. arr. Philip MARSHALL I saw three ships
Benjamin BRITTEN A New Year Carol
John TAVENER The Lamb
Francis POULENC Quem vidistis pastores
W J KIRKPATRICK arr. David WILLCOCKS Away in a Manger
Trad. French arr. Stephen JACKSON Noël Nouvelet
Robert PARSONS Ave Maria
Franz Grüber arr. Simon MORLEY Silent Night
Felix MENDELSSOHN When Jesus our Lord
Francis POULENC O magnum mysterium
H J GAUNTLET and A J MANN arr. David WILLCOCKS Once in Royal David’s City
Peter WARLOCK Bethlehem Down
Herbert HOWELLS Here is the little door
Czech arr. Andrew NETHSINGHA

John GARDNER Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
Truro Cathedral Choir/Robert Snape

Christopher Gray (organ)
Recorded in Truro Cathedral, March 2003


These days the choice of compact discs celebrating the festive season is vast. So where does one start? I would suggest that in the case of choral music the choice is likely to come down to quality of performance versus repertoire. There are numerous discs available by some our finest choral groups, some of which explore contemporary or more unfamiliar musical territory. There is even greater choice if looking for something along more traditional lines, including recreations of the Festival of Lessons and Carols by the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge and others.

In this particular case the Truro Cathedral Choir have clearly tried to provide a sensible balance between the well known and the deserving, with perennial favourites nestling alongside what for some may well be new discoveries. Herbert Howells’ gem, Here is the little door is a welcome inclusion but what a shame that room could not be found for the even more beautiful Sing Lullaby. The touching simplicity of Britten’s gently rocking New Year Carol is equally enjoyable although the decision to include John Tavener’s widely recorded The Lamb, could be considered unnecessary given the quality of numerous recordings that exist elsewhere. Like the Howells, Warlock’s Bethlehem Down is a beautiful creation and I particularly enjoyed Warlock’s lesser-known Benedicamus Domino, worlds apart in its boisterous good spirits.

A number of the arrangements are also worthy of mention, amongst them Philip Ledger’s treatment of the Sussex Carol, written for King’s College Cambridge and complete with resplendent organ accompaniment. An amusing version of I saw three ships by Philip Marshall contrasts with Stephen Jackson’s imaginative and highly effective Noël nouvelet. Simon Morley’s lush harmonisation of Silent Night gives the well-known tune a slightly more popular feel than is normal and is sung with feeling by the Truro choristers.

Christopher Thomas


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