Saturday, September 8, 2012

King's College Choir - Christmas Carols (1994)

King's College Choir - Christmas Carols (1994)

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, is one of the world's most venerable musical institutions (it was founded in 1441 by King Henry VI) and one of its most beloved. Made up of Cambridge undergraduates and boys from the University school, it can be counted on for performances characterized by tonal purity, perfect enunciation, beautiful phrasing, and traditional choral values. Since 1982, it has been directed by Stephen Cleobury, who has added contemporary works to its repertoire. This Christmas CD is ideal for the listener looking for flawless performances of music from the English cathedral choir tradition, as well as a few forays into unfamiliar contemporary literature. Carols such as "Once in David's Royal City," "Ding dong! Merrily on high!," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Coventry Carol," "The First Nowell," and "O come all ye faithful" are sung with warmth and careful attention to the nuances of the texts. The most musically adventurous track is Flor Peeters' set of organ variations on the Dutch carol "King Jesus hath a garden," which occasionally veers into quirky bitonality and is followed by the choir singing a traditional arrangement of the piece. One of the later pieces, Judith Weir's Illuminare, Jerusalem, is an attractive tonal work based on old Scottish music. The sound is bright and present, with nice resonance, and with good balance between the choir and organ.
— Stephen Eddins,

  1. Once in Royal David's City
  2. Rejoice and Be Merry
  3. Ding Dong! Merrily on High (French)
  4. What Sweeter Music, for chorus
  5. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  6. A Spotless Rose, for chorus
  7. Heer Jezus Heeft een Hofken, for organ
  8. King Jesus Hath A Garden (Dutch)
  9. The Lamb, for chorus
  10. Bogoróditse dyévo (Hail Mary), for chorus
  11. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly (W zlobie lezy)
  12. Illuminare, Jerusalem, carol
  13. While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night (unspecified tune)
  14. Quittez pasteurs (O come away ye shepherds) (French)
  15. Chorale prelude for organ in G major, BuxWV 197, "In Dulci Jubilo"
  16. In dulci iubilo
  17. The First Nowell (English)
  18. Coventry Carol (2): "Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child"
  19. Personent Hodie (On this day Earth shall ring) (Piae Cantiones)
  20. O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste fidelis)

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