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Vaughan Williams: The First Nowell, Etc / Hickox, Et Al


Release Date: 10/03/2006 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10385   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Sarah FoxJoseph CullenRoderick Williams
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London SinfoniaJoyful Company of Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This unique disc conducted by Richard Hickox (famous for his interpretations of Vaughan Williams), with the City of London Sinfonia presents the premiere recordings of two works by Vaughan Williams, 'On Christmas Night' and 'Fantasia on Christmas Carols' and the only available recording of 'The First Nowell'. Vuaghan Williams loved Christmas and had a lifelong passion for carols, admiring their freshnes, beauty and nobility. Vaughan Williams' seasonal compositions reflect his love of Christmas in general and of carols in particular. The Fantasia on Christmas Carols was dedicated to Cecil Sharp and is based on four traditional English carols: The Truth sent from above, Come all you worthy gentlemen, On Christmas Night (The Sussex Carol) and Read more There is a fountain filled with blood, plus hints of other carols. This is the first recording of the alternative scoring using an organ and strings accompaniment rather than orchestral. On Christmas Night was originally called A Christmas Carol as it was a free adaptation of Dicken's story of the same name. This ballet score commissioned by Adolf Bolm, a principal dancer with Diaghilev's company and first performed in 1926. The work receives its premiere recording on this release. The score is very atmospheric and juxtaposes complex melodies with simple folk tunes, and interspersed with carols. The First Nowell, a nativity play for soloists, chorus and small orchestra, was arranged and adapted from medieval pageants by Simona Pakenham. A number of traditional tunes are included in Vaughan Williams's arrangement such as On Christmas Night, The Cherry Tree Carol and God rest you merry. Vaughan Williams said to Pakenham, 'I think that every Christmas play ought to begin with God rest you Merry and end with The First Nowell.' This truly is music to be played and cherished during the Christmas period. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Sarah Fox (Soprano), Joseph Cullen (Organ), Roderick Williams (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Joyful Company of Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; England 
Venue:  St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 12 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Ralph Vaughan Williams.
St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London (12/05/2005 - 12/06/2005) 
2.
On Christmas Night by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Roderick Williams (Baritone), Sarah Fox (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Joyful Company of Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
Venue:  St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 28 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London (12/05/2005 - 12/06/2005) 
3.
The First Nowell by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Sarah Fox (Soprano), Roderick Williams (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Joyful Company of Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; England 
Venue:  St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 29 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Roy Douglas.
St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London (12/05/2005 - 12/06/2005)
This selection is sung in English and Latin. 

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