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Home Classical Christmas Concertos A Christmas Caroll From Westminster Abbey (2008)

A Christmas Caroll From Westminster Abbey (2008)

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A Christmas Caroll From Westminster Abbey (2008)

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1. In dulci jubilo (Piæ Cantiones)
2. O magnum mysterium
3. Quem vidistis pastores dicite
4. Videntes stellam
5. Hodie Christus natus est
6. A Christmas Carol, for chorus
7. All This Time, carol arrangement for chorus (Christmas Carols No. 4)
8. Nativity, for chorus
9. Dormi Jesu (The Virgin's Cradle Hymn)
10. The Shepherd's Carol, for chorus
11. The Three Kings, for chorus
12. Joys Seven (Joshua Himes's Millennial Harp, 1842)
13. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night)
14. I Saw Three Ships
15. The Little Road to Bethlehem
16. Ave Rex angelorum
17. Alleluya, a new work is come on hand
18. There is no rose of such virtue
19. Sir Christèmas
20. Ave Rex angelorum

Robert Quinney - organ
Westminster Abbey Choir
James O'Donnell - conductor


Every holiday season brings with it a new batch of Christmas discs, and in 2008 it brought this Hyperion disc called A Christmas Caroll from Westminster Abbey with James O'Donnell directing the Choir of Westminster Abbey. It contains some familiar songs in unfamiliar arrangements like Christopher Bowers-Broadbent's take "Silent Night," Robert Pearsall's re-working of "In dulci jubilo" and James O'Donnell's own vision of "I Saw Three Ships." For the most part, however, the repertoire here is taken from modern and contemporary composers with Poulenc's Quatre motets pout le temps de Noël, Walton's "All This Time," Rutter's "Dormi, Jesu," and William Mathias' "Ave Rex." But despite the disparity of the selections in style and content, the performances are consistently appealing. The boys and men of the Westminster Choir sing with a warmly round tone and a smoothly polished ensemble and O'Donnell is a masterful leader who shapes the performances into sweetly attractive aesthetic wholes. While fans of old-fashioned choral Christmas discs may find that this one has a tad too much contemporary music for their taste, anyone looking for a new Christmas disc of modern and contemporary choral Christmas music will at least have to try this one. Hyperion's digital sound is deep and clear, with a strong feeling of place and time, though the manifest emptiness of the hall is perhaps less than ideally suited for the sound of the season. ---James Leonard, Rovi

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