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Christmas Joy Vol 2 / Lancelot, Wright, Durham Choir


Release Date: 06/07/1999 
Label:  Priory Records   Catalog #: 604   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Christopher SteelBenjamin BrittenJohann Sebastian BachAnonymous,   ... 
Performer:  Keith WrightBenjamin OrdNicholas WardenBryan Dadson,   ... 
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Repertoire is the main attraction on this Volume 2 in Priory’s four-disc Christmas Joy series. Although you will recognize many of the names of the pieces, you’ll likely be surprised by the unusual settings of several of them--including Christopher Steel’s modern conception of the Advent carol text People, look East, Reginald Jacques’ Away in a manger, Henry Walford Davies’ O little town of Bethlehem, and Richard Lloyd’s I saw three ships, none of which may match our expectations, but all of which are satisfying alternatives. On the other hand, there is Britten’s familiar A Hymn to the Virgin, Darke’s In the bleak mid-winter, one of the best-recorded renditions of Gardner’s Tomorrow shall be my dancing day (without that annoying snare Read more drum), and favorite arrangements of the carols and hymns Ding dong! merrily on high, O come, all ye faithful (with floor-shaking organ on the last verse!), The first nowell, Unto us is born a Son, Once in royal David’s city, and Hark! the herald angels sing.

Hassler’s Verbum caro factum est is not very easy (and not very good) to sing, and the otherwise excellent Durham Cathedral choir has some trouble here with keeping the antiphonal ensemble effects and intonation together; in several other places, unfavorable balances emphasize one or another voice part. The somewhat rough singing style of the men in the 15th-century Nowel! Owt of your slepe aryse makes the song’s relentlessly repetitive tune wear thin long before its two and a half minutes are up. But these are small complaints in a program that overall shows these singers to distinguished and masterful result and offers such lovely readings of Rutter’s classic What sweeter music?, the tender German carol O little one sweet (in Bach’s harmonization), and memorable yet little-known pieces such as Roger Hemingway’s Mary’s Magnificat and Robert Carver’s The Christmas Medley. The sound places the choir up-front--which means that we hear lots of detail, but some listeners may prefer a bit more distance from the full force of these strong, full-bodied voices.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. People, look east by Christopher Steel
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
2. Hymn to the Virgin by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Benjamin Ord (Voice), Nicholas Warden (Voice), Bryan Dadson (Voice),
Timothy McVittie (Voice), Jonathan Hughes (Voice), John Taylor (Voice)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1934; England 
3. Orgelbüchlein: Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her, BWV 606 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
4. Nowel, nowel, nowel: Owt of your slepe aryse and awake by Anonymous
Performer:  Keith Halliday (Tenor), Rupert Drury (Boy Soprano), Nicholas Warden (Voice)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1430; England 
5. God rest ye merry, gentlemen by Traditional
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: David Willcocks 
6. In the bleak mid-winter by Harold Edwin Darke
Performer:  Rupert Drury (Tenor), Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
7. Away in a manger by William J. Kirkpatrick
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranged: Reginald Jacques 
8. Ding Dong! Merrily on high by Traditional
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
Notes: Arranger: Charles Wood.
This selection is based on the tune "Branle l'officiel" from Thoinot
Arbeau's "Orchésographie". 
9. Once in Royal David's City by Henry John Gauntlett
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ), Julian MacBride (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; England 
Notes: Arranged: A.H. Mann 
10. Mary's Magnificat by Roger Hemingway
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
11. Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Notes: Arranged: David Willcocks 
12. Nouveau livre de noëls (12), Op. 2: no 6, Noël sur les jeux d'anches, Adam fut un pauvre homme by Louis-Claude Daquin
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1740; France 
13. Motets (4) pour le temps de Noël: no 2, Quem vidistis pastores by Francis Poulenc
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; France 
14. All sons of Adam by Anonymous
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Notes: This work has been attributed to Robert Carver. 
15. What Sweeter Music by John Rutter
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; England 
16. Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, Op. 75 no 2 by John Gardner
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
17. Lully, lulla, thow littel tyne child "Coventry Carol" by Traditional
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
18. Unto us is born a son by Traditional
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1582 
Notes: Arranged: David Willcocks 
19. O little town of Bethlehem by Henry Walford Davies
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ), Keith Halliday (Tenor)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
20. I saw three ships by Traditional
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Richard Lloyd 
21. O Jesulein süss, o Jesulein mild by Samuel Scheidt
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1650; Halle, Germany 
Notes: Arranged: J.S. Bach 
22. The first nowell by Traditional
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: John Stainer 
23. Verbum caro factum est by Hans Leo Hassler
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
24. Festgesang "Hark! The herald angels sing" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Notes: Arranged: David Willcocks 
25. In dulci jubilo, BWV 729 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Keith Wright (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
26. We wish you a merry Christmas by Traditional
Conductor:  James Lancelot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Durham Cathedral Choir
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Arthur Warrell 

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