Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

Buy through MusicWeb from £9.50 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

 

The Spirit of Christmas Present
BBC Welsh Chorus/John Hugh Thomas
Fanfare Trumpeters of the Welsh Guards; Huw Tregelles Williams (organ)
rec. no dates given. DDD
NIMBUS NI 7034 [62:07]
Experience Classicsonline



Ned ROREM

Shout the Glad Tidings [0:46]
Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy
Anon/arr. WILLCOCKS

O Come, All ye Faithful

BBC Welsh Chorus/John Hugh Thomas
Fanfare Trumpeters of the Welsh Guards
Huw Tregelles Williams (organ)
J.S. BACH

In dulci jubilo BWV 751 [1:54]
Kevin Bowyer (organ)
John GARDNER

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day [2:00]
BBC Welsh Chorus/John Hugh Thomas
Huw Tregelles Williams (organ); Chris Stock, Mark Walker (percussion)
Emile WALDTEUFEL

The Skater’s Waltz [9:05]
The Gulbenkian Orchestra/Michel Swierczewski
Leo SOWERBY

Love Came Down at Christmas [3:20]
Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy
James Higdon (organ)
Arr. Edwin FISSINGER

I Saw Three Ships [1:50]
Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy
Gustav HOLST

In the Bleak Mid-Winter [4:20]
Christ Church Cathedral Choir/Stephen Darlington
J S BACH

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645 [4:13]
Kevin Bowyer (organ)
Anon/arr. WILLCOCKS

The First Nowell [5:20]
BBC Welsh Chorus/John Hugh Thomas
Huw Tregelles Williams (organ)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS

Fantasia on Greensleeves [4:14]
English String Orchestra/William Boughton
Arr. Kevin OLDHAM

Silent Night from Three Carols Op. 20 [3:47]
Pamela Williamson (soprano); Lyra Pringle Pherigo (flute); Welsey Kelly (harp)
Howard BLAKE

Walking in the Air from The Snowman [3:37]
Kevin Bowyer (organ)
Arr. WILLCOCKS

Once in Royal David’s City [5:10]
BBC Welsh Chorus/John Hugh Thomas
Fanfare Trumpeters of the Welsh Guards
Huw Tregelles Williams (organ)
Norman Dello JOIO

The Holy Infant’s Lullaby [4:44]
Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy
James Higdon (organ)
MENDELSSOHN arr. WILLCOCKS

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing [3:29]

With such a huge choice of Christmas music available on disc, the art of producing a Christmas CD that works on every level is a difficult one to perfect. A select handful of discs remain self recommending - the immortal Christmas Eve Festival of Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge for one. However, for many amongst the dozens of discs that are newly thrust onto the overflowing yuletide bandwagon - or should I say sleigh - every year, it proves impossible to avoid a rapid descent into the abyss of mediocrity.

Sadly this 1996 compilation from Nimbus falls into the latter category and manages to miss the mark both in terms of the quality of a good deal of its production values and its musical content.

Such familiar fare as the Willcocks arrangements of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Once In Royal David’s City need little or no introduction. On the other hand the fact that there are no liner notes whatsoever leaves disappointing gaps in the knowledge of the listener. This is a particularly grievous loss when it comes to the less well known offerings such as Leo Sowerby’s Love Came Down at Christmas or Kevin Oldham’s re-setting of the familiar words of Silent Night.

It would be helpful too if there was at least a brief introduction to some of the performers. The BBC Welsh Chorus and organist Huw Tregelles Williams will be known to many. The less familiar Kansas City Chorale and the three individual musicians involved in the Oldham setting are new names to this reviewer. All of the music on the compilation is drawn from four previously released CDs. Whilst anyone who owns any of the four discs is not likely to buy this compilation, the possibility exists that someone approaching the compilation first might just be tempted by discs entirely devoted to the Kansas City Chorale or organist Kevin Bowyer. Surely this is adequate reason for a modicum of background information to be given here as a taster.

Couple this with the fact that the flimsy liner has a home photocopied feel to it and the presentation simply does not reflect Nimbus at its best.

The music itself proves to be something of a mixed bag but it doesn’t help that the running order is not always comfortable. For instance, Ned Rorem’s fleeting forty-six second unaccompanied Shout the Glad Tidings seems oddly placed to open the disc when it is followed by the blazing brass of George Willcocks and his familiar version of O Come, All Ye Faithful. Waldteufel’s Skater’s Waltz would be a welcome touch of variety were it not for the rather run-of-the-mill performance by The Gulbenkian Orchestra. The Vaughan Williams Greensleeves Fantasia, not perhaps the most obvious choice in the context of its surroundings, receives a brisk reading from William Boughton and the English String Orchestra. Sadly this robs the music of a good deal of its gentle grace and nobility. Even the usually reliable BBC Welsh Chorus and the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Welsh Guards are not in the most seasonally uplifting of spirits for several of their contributions.

On the positive side Kevin Bowyer’s In Dulci Jubilo is a delight; Howard Blake’s Walking in the Air less so, being far more effective in its original setting for voice and orchestra. The Kansas City Chorale is enthusiastic in its commitment with Norman Dello Joio’s The Holy Infant’s Lullaby being a particularly attractive addition. The same goes for the sole contribution from Stephen Darlington and his Christ Church Cathedral Choir who sing Holst’s setting of In the Bleak Mid-Winter with delicate beauty.

Ultimately however, the fact remains that there are far superior Christmas discs to be had. As such this is not a CD that is likely to find its way to the top of many Christmas shopping lists.

Christopher Thomas


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.