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Christmas Reviews 2015

Girolamo ABOS (1715-1760) A Maltese Christmas - Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2015 CPO 777978-2 [67:53] [JF] A discovery that makes an ideal and thoroughly enjoyable Christmas treat.

Alan BULLARD (b.1947) O Come, Emmanuel - Music for Advent & Christmas - Selwyn College/Sarah MacDonald rec. 2014 REGENT REGCD456 [70:39] [JQ] Alan Bullard's well-crafted music has been well served here.

Giovanni Battista COSTANZI (1704-1778) Cantata per Natale - Gambe di Legno/Alessandro Ciccolini rec. 2011 FRA BERNARDO FB1409323 [72:30] [JV] Nice music, interesting instrumental scoring and good performances.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Christmas Cantata & other choral Music - Ascolta/Peter Broadbent rec. 2015 TOCCATA TOCC0296 [63:48] [JW] Those who have followed the Farkas trail thus far will want to expand their horizons with this disc.

Witold LUTOSŁAWKSI (1913-1994) Polish Christmas Carols - Piotr Kusiewicz (tenor); Waldemar Malicki (piano) rec. 1986 DUX 0383 [37:48] [BW] The versions for soloist, choir and orchestra on Naxos are more immediate in appeal, but Lutosławski enthusiasts may prefer this recording.

Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621) Christmas Vespers - Apollo's Fire, Musettes & Singers/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2005 AVIE AV2306 [74:40] [JV] Jeannette Sorrell has succeeded in creating a vivid and compelling concert experience.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Weihnachtshistorie - Gerlinde Sämann (soprano) Georg Poplutz (tenor) Dresdner Barock O & Kammerchor/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2014 CARUS 83.257 [61:38] [JV] This recording should be welcomed as a nice addition to the discography.

Advent to Epiphany The Frobenius Organ at Oundle School Chapel - Alexander Eadon (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1164 [68:29] [JF] An enjoyably seasonal and inclusive exploration of one of the more interesting neo-classical organs in the UK.

Carols from Coventry A Memorial Tribute to Sir David Willcocks - Saint Michael’s Singers/Paul Leddington Wright; Kerry Beaumont (organ) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD035 [58:28] [CC] If a more traditional Christmas disc is required look no further.

Carols from King’s - 60th Anniversary Edition Ch King's College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2014 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0013 DVD [74.30 + 58.55] [RJF] An insight into a world that many, atheist or devout or other faiths, will have joined and enjoyed via the BBC, on Christmas Eve.

Christmas a Cappella I & II Musica Sacra/Indra Hughes rec. 2001/7 ATOLL ACD501/207 [65:36 & 61:43] [EML] Covers a large repertoire of Christmas carols from around the world with a commendable variety of styles, moods and periods.

Christmas from Christ's Carols by Warlock, Holst, and Vaughan Williams - Christ's College/David Rowland rec. 2014 REGENT REGCD446 [73:49] [JQ] A delightful disc of English Christmas music.

Christmas in Medieval England Blue Heron/Scott Metcalfe rec. 2013 BLUE HERON BHCD1006 [71:27] [JV] I didn't enjoy this disc as much as I had hoped.

Christmas Music Through the Ages rec. 1973-1995 SAYDISC CDSDL437 [78:38 + 77:34] [GPJ] An infinitely varied and delightful selection of Christmas music down the centuries – unbeatable value.

Christmas at Norwich Ch of Norwich Cathedral/Ashley Grote rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1148 [79:49] [CC] Music aplenty to enjoy.

Dancing Day Music for Christmas - Sara Cutler (harp) Stephen Buzard, Benjamin Sheen (organ) St Thomas Ch New York/John Scott rec. 2015 RESONUS RES10158 [63:58] [JQ] An enjoyable Christmas disc – and a reminder of the talent of John Scott.

December Celebration Lisa Delan (soprano) Lester Lynch (baritone) Volti Ch, New Century CO/Dawn Harms rec. 2014 PENTATONE PTC5186537 SACD [57:06] [JQ] A worthy enterprise but I’m not fully convinced.

The Golden Age of Light Music A Carol Symphony - Music for the Festive Season rec. 1951-62 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5233 [79:11] [JW] A tempting seasonal feast of music.

Nativity Carols and Anthems for Christmas - Cantemus Chamber Ch/Huw Williams, Robert Court (organ) rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD466 [64:04] [BMC] Admirable throughout, with a full, rich, harmonious communal voice, both nimble and joyful.

A Very English Christmas Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2015 BENE ARTE SIGCD902 [55:35] [JQ] A shrewdly chosen programme of English Christmas music, splendidly performed.

A Very English Christmas Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2015 BENE ARTE SIGCD902 [55:35] [ST] It's seasonal, beautiful and very appealing. Go for it.

Weynacht Gesaenge Baroque Advent and Christmas Music - Stimmwerck rec. 2012 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77364 [67:51] [BW] An attractive collection of quieter Christmas music.

A Wondrous Mystery Renaissance Choral Music for Christmas - Stile Antico rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI SACD HMU807575 [72:57] [JW] A well-judged, sympathetic church recording … a long list of recommendable offerings.

A Wondrous Mystery Renaissance Choral Music for Christmas - Stile Antico rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI SACD HMU807575 [72:57] [ST] Every bit as excellent as we have come to expect.

A York Yuletide York Minster Ch/Robert Sharpe rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD467 [63:27] [JF] An attractive and enjoyable Christmas selection.

Yulefest! Ch Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68087 [65:13] [JQ] A splendid and varied disc of Christmas music, immaculately performed.

Yulefest! Ch Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68087 [65:00] [CC] A magnificent Christmas offering, a real gift from Hyperion to the Festive Season. Difficult to imagine this one being topped.


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