One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

The Twelve Days of Christmas
The King’s Men
rec. St George’s Church, Chesterton, 29 June-1 July 2015. DDD.
KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0017 [46:30]

The King’s Men is the new (and rather more snappy) name for Collegium Regale, the men of the choir of King’s College Cambridge. After the success of their previous release on King’s own label, they follow it up with this (inevitable) Christmas release, which is charming, appealing and, considering its provenance, a little surprising.

The whole disc is performed a cappella, and that poses no problems for vocalists as seasoned and experienced as these. The sound is recorded close-up in St George’s Church, and every singer gets their own microphone, which has advantages of clarity, though it means that the blend can be a little controversial in places, often advantaging the altos over the lower voices.

Still, these quibbles aside, it’s a fun and spicy programme that is performed very refreshingly. The best arrangements make you hear the songs afresh and, for me, it was the contemporary and secular songs that worked best. Their take on Wizzard’s I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day, for example, is marvellously buoyant, and Paul McCartney’ Wonderful Christmastime is light, dance-like, jazzy and utterly persuasive. Speaking of dance-like, Santa Baby bops along jauntily with a brilliant vocal accompaniment, and their skat Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer sounds fabulous.

On the other end of the scale, their version of The Christmas Song is beautifully schmaltzy, and Have yourself a merry little Christmas has some beautiful harmonies in it. Dormi, dormi is also very successful, sounding both alluring and like a lullaby all at once, and there is a beautiful sense of peace to Away in a Manger. Similarly, Quelle est cette odeur rocks gently and persuasively.

Christmas Cards, by Ben Parry, was new to me, but it’s good fun and well sung. They save the best until last, however, with a delightful Twelve Days of Christmas that starts conventionally but becomes much more daring, fun and, in places, dashed impressive, both for the arrangement and for the singing.

The only one that didn’t work, for me, was Gabriel’s Message, whose woozy music didn’t quite work and didn’t suit the mood or sentiment of the carol. Otherwise, though, I really enjoyed this disc, and it’s something pleasantly different for Christmas. At less than 47 minutes, it’s a little mean, but I guess they’re counting on your Christmas spirit to overcome that.

Simon Thompson

Previous review: Bruce McCollum

Track listing
Gabriel’s message: The angel Gabriel from heaven came [3:10]
All I want for Christmas is you [3:45]
The Christmas song: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire [2:42]
Dormi, dormi [2:53]
Wonderful Christmastime [2:55]
Santa baby [2:44]
Away in a manger – Cradle song [2:39]
I wish it could be Christmas everyday ‘Wizzard’ [3:28]
Quelle est cette odeur agréable? [5:33]
Christmas cards [3:36]
White Christmas: The sun is shining, the grass is green [2:16]
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer [2:03]
Have yourself a merry little Christmas [2:24]
The twelve days of Christmas [6:22]

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger