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!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


Buy through MusicWeb for £12.00 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

 

Christmas from Lichfield
arr. David WILLCOCKS (b. 1919) Sussex Carol [1:53]
Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) Bethlehem Down [4:57]
Gerald HENDRIE (b.1935) There is no rose [2:55]
John GARDNER (b. 1917) Tomorrow shall be my dancing day [2:15]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) In dulci jubilo (I) [2:25]
Elizabeth POSTON (1905-1987) Jesus Christ the Apple Tree [3:38]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Christus (excerpt) [7:18]
Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Sing lullaby [3:28]; Here is the little door [3:58]
J.S. BACH (1685-1750) In dulci jubilo (II) [2:49]
arr. Stephen JACKSON (b.1951) Noel Nouvelet [5:31]
arr. Andrew LUMSDEN (b. 1962) Silent Night [3:18]
Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989) Look up, Sweet Babe [4:48]
John TAVENER (b. 1944) The Lamb [3:43]
Garth EDMUNDSON (1900-1971) Vom Himmel hoch [4:48]
Harold DARKE (1888-1976) In the bleak mid-winter [4:49]
BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976) New Year Carol [2:47]
William CROTCH (1775-1847) Lo! star-led chiefs [4:37]
Robert Sharpe (organ); The Choir of Lichfield Cathedral/Andrew Lumsden
rec. Lichfield Cathedral, 12-15 February 1996. DDD.
Texts included.
NIMBUS NI5496 [69:57]

Experience Classicsonline


If you are looking for a recommendable, no-frills, no gimmicks, but imaginative collection of Christmas music, well sung by an English cathedral choir and well recorded, this could be it. If, in addition, you admire the generosity of the Friends of Lichfield Cathedral, who supported the making of this recording, or would even like to join them - details of how to do so are included in the booklet - these could be added incentives.

It may not be as glamorous as the CD/DVD combination of Kiri te Kanawa’s Christmas recording with the combined Coventry and Lichfield Cathedral choir which Simon Thompson reviewed last year (Warner 5186503472 - see review) but some will think it all the better for that. ‘Big name’ Christmas recitals tend to be nine-day wonders, best played once and put aside - ST thought Kiri’s recording ‘perfectly serviceable Christmas fare ... [but] also quite forgettable’ - whereas the likes of this Nimbus reissue can be brought out year after year. It certainly joins my small section of Christmas stand-bys.

The programme is fairly predictable, but by no means over-conservative: the excerpt from Mendelssohn’s Christus, ‘When Jesus our Lord was born in Bethlehem - There shall a star of Jacob come forth’, makes a welcome change from the same composer’s Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Gerald Hendrie’s There is no rose, Lennox Berkeley’s Look up, Sweet Babe, Garth Edmundson’s organ arrangement of Vom Himmel hoch, and Benjamin Britten’s New Year Carol are all welcome comparative rarities. John Tavener’s The Lamb was comparatively recent in 1996. I had not completely absorbed its idiom then, but the Lichfield choir had.

Andrew Lumsden had been the cathedral’s music director for only four years and Robert Sharpe the organist for just two years when the recording was made, but it is clear that they were working well with each other and with the choir, from whom they coax some good, often very good singing. Even the less familiar material is well handled - there’s the odd uncomfortable moment, as in the Lennox Berkeley (tr.13), but that’s the exception. It’s a measure of how good the singing is that their rendition of Tavener’s The Lamb (tr.14) made me wonder why I had been so slow to absorb it. They make its idiom sound as beautiful as Peter Warlock’s Bethlehem Down (tr.2).

I understand why William Crotch’s Lo! Star-led chiefs was placed last on the CD - it hardly makes for the ideal conclusion. It comes logically at this point because it relates to the Epiphany (January 6th) rather than to Christmas, but so does the Crashaw poem set by Lennox Berkeley, which comes near the centre of the CD. The notes are ambiguous about this piece, describing it as ‘charming’ but admitting that its composer’s music sounds like a blend of Handel and Mozart but ‘rather more pallid than either’. Britten’s New Year Carol which immediately precedes it (tr.17) is written in a timeless, rather than an overtly 20th-century manner, but the contrast of styles - and musical quality - between the two is noticeable.

You may think the notes less important for a recording of this type, but those offered here, by Geraint Lewis, are informed and informative - and well worth reading. The booklet is nicely set off by an attractive painting of the cathedral and close in the snow. One small grouse: most, but not all, the composers’ and arrangers’ dates are given. Why is Lennox Berkeley listed as (b.1903) and Elizabeth Poston as (b.1905) when he died seven years and she nine years before this recording was made?

This CD is up against strong competition, much of it at mid- or budget-price, and some of it from better-known rivals, such as King’s College Choir, but I enjoyed hearing it as much as anything from Cambridge or Oxford and more than any rival new issues or reissues which I’ve heard this year. And in late October, too!

Brian Wilson 
 


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
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.