Wednesday, December 25, 2013

LSO & John Alldis - A Festival of Christmas Carols (1979)

LSO & John Alldis - A Festival of Christmas Carols (1979)

An Olde English Christmas presents 18 Christmas carols in opulent arrangements that should appeal to anyone who enjoys a "light classics" approach to the season. Peter Hope's lavish orchestrations of such holiday favorites as "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "Joy to the World," "The First Nowell," and "O Come All Ye Faithful" are brilliantly decked out in festive colors, and the performances by the John Alldis Choir and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Colin Davis, are robust and ebullient, with an uplifting character that makes listening a pleasure. The purely instrumental numbers, such as In dulci jubilo, Silent Night, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, and The Holly and the Ivy, among others, are freely elaborated around their famous tunes, so they are not practical for singing along; but if the album is played simply as background music for a Christmas gathering, the fantasia style of these numbers works quite well. The sound quality of the recording is clear and warm, though the ADD mastering is a little lacking in dimensions and definition; this album was obviously intended to supply atmosphere without being scrutinized too closely, so the reproduction is not a serious problem.
—Blair Sanderson,

Track Listing
  1. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (adapted by W. H. Cummings from Mendelssohn's Festgesang for the Gutenberg Festival)
  2. Coventry Carol (2): "Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child"
  3. Joy to the World (theme by Handel)
  4. In dulci jubilo (PiƦ Cantiones)
  5. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night)
  6. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (English)
  7. The Holly and the Ivy (English)
  8. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
  9. The First Nowell (English)
  10. Good King Wenceslas (Piae Cantiones, 1582)
  11. Deck the Halls (Welsh)
  12. O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) (German)
  13. Pat-a-Pan (Burgundian)
  14. We Three Kings of Orient Are
  15. Away in a manger (Tune: Cradle Song) (New English Hymnal 22)
  16. I Saw Three Ships
  17. I Wonder As I Wander (American)
  18. O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste fidelis)

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