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Twelve Days Of Christmas
The King’s Men
rec. St. Georges’s Church, Chesteron, June/July 2015

The King’s Men is a talented group of close harmony singers, each one a Choral Scholar of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. They travel and perform concerts frequently in the UK and overseas. On this disc they perform a cappela, presenting a bright and colorful mix of carols and popular Christmas songs.

All I Want For Christmas Is You
was written by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff and first recorded by Mariah in 1993. Since then it has become established as a modern Christmas standard. The arrangement was provided by Ben Parry, who also arranged I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, a tune written by Roy Wood and first recorded by the British rock group Wizzard in 1973. The song has remained popular as a Christmas favorite, primarily performed and recorded by children’s school choirs. Ben also composed and arranged Christmas Cards, with lyrics by Garth Bardsley. This tune provides a humorous look at the fine art of Christmas-card giving. The King’s Men sing each number with the style, excitement and tight harmony that has made them so popular. Quelle est cette odeur agreeable? is a 17th century French Christmas carol, translating as “whence is that goodly fragrance flowing?”, a wonderful line, followed in the second verse by “what is that light so brilliant breaking?”, describing how the Nativity has brought a beautiful awakening of the senses. Hugo Herman –Wilson sings a wonderful baritone solo, with the other voices providing wordless harmonies. Other unnamed soloists follow on in higher registers. Dormi, Dormi (bel Bambin) is an Italian lullaby that translates “Sleep, Sleep, beautiful child”, a simple, sweet melody lulling the Christ child to sleep. Soloists Patrick Dunachie and Oliver Finn, both high altos, sing lovely and reverent verses, backed by the soft, rich harmonies of the full ensemble. Santa Baby was composed in 1953 by Joan Javits and Philip Spencer, and originally sung by Eartha Kitt. High tenor Daniel Lewis sings with a clear, vibrant solo supported by the rest of the men providing various playful vocal sound effects. Daniel also solos on Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime, featuring a jazzy arrangement by Robert Rice.

Benjamin Sheen was the producer, and the engineer was Matthew Dilley. Mixing was performed by Benjamin Sheen and Mike Hatch, and Nick Watson handled the mastering duties. This is one of the best Christmas discs this season.

Bruce McCollum

Gabriel’s Message [3:10]
All I Want for Christmas Is You [3:45]
The Christmas Song [2:42]
Dormi, Dormi [2:53]
Wonderful Christmastime [2:55]
Santa Baby [2:44]
Away In A Manger [2:39]
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day [3:28]
Quelle est cette odeur agreable? [5:33]
Christmas Cards [3:36]
White Christmas [2:16]
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer [2:03]
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas [2:24]
Twelve Days of Christmas [6:22]