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Nativity - Carols and Anthems for Christmas
1. Jingle Bells [1:54]
2. Once in royal David’s city [4:22]
3. Sussex Carol [1:39]
4. Suo-Gan [3:53]
5. A babe is born [3:26]
6. Here is the little door [3:29]
7. O come, all ye faithful [3:39]
8. Away in a manger [3:16]
9. Ave Maria [4:07]
10. Calypso Carol [2:13]
11. The Lamb [3:09]
12. God rest you merry gentlemen [2:21]
13. Lux aurumque [3:06]
14. Mary had a baby [1:53]
15. Adam lay y-bounden [1:27]
16. Hawaiian Lullaby [2:48]
17. Alleluia! I bring you news of great joy [1:49]
18. The holly and the ivy [3:06]
19. A hymn to the virgin [3:04]
20. Spanish Carol [1:58]
21. O little town of Bethlehem [2:59]
22. Hark! The herald-angels sing [2:57]
23. Deck the halls [1:24]
Cantemus Chamber Choir/Huw Williams
Robert Court (organ)
rec. January 2015, St. Augustine’s Church, Penarth,
REGENT REGCD466 [64:04]

The Cantemus Chamber Choir is a 30-member choir based in Cardiff, Wales. This is their first CD of Christmas music and has been recorded by recording producer and engineer Gary Cole. The choir is well-known for their outstanding performances of baroque music, and has performed Handel’s Messiah at Buckingham Palace.

Music Director Huw Williams has been the conductor of Cantemus since 2011. Mr. Williams is also director of music at Chapel Royal, St. James Palace, as well as a former principal organist at St Paul’s Cathedral. Organist Robert Court is Cantemus’ former music director, and is also the organist at St Augustine’s as well as the organist for Cardiff University.

This disc is a mix of Christmas carols and hymns. The first song is a lively rendition of Jingle Bells, and the last a charming version of Deck the halls, arranged by Huw Williams. In between are 21 other holiday numbers, carefully arranged and crafted. The choir performs admirably throughout, with a full, rich, harmonious communal voice, both nimble and joyful. Most of the numbers are sung a cappella, including the beautiful Welsh lullaby Suo-Gan. Some other interesting numbers are three carols from around the world; the popular West-Indian Calypso Carol, written by Michael Perry, Spanish Carol, in the well-known Andrew Carter arrangement and featuring soprano soloist Rebecca Donkin, and the lovely Hawaiian Lullaby, in an arrangement by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Six of the numbers are accompanied by Mr. Court on St. Augustine’s William Hill organ; matching the choir boldly on O come, all ye faithful, Hark! the herald-angels sing, Sussex Carol, God rest you merry, gentlemen and A babe is born, and on the final chorus of Once in royal David’s city.

The sound quality for this CD is excellent. A 16 page booklet, with liner-notes by Hugh Edwards, comes with the disc, and the booklet includes full lyrics for each song.

Bruce McCollum

 

 



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