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In Terra Pax - A Christmas Anthology / Wetton, Bournemouth SO, City Of London Choir


Release Date: 11/17/2009 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572102   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gustav HolstJohn JoubertWilliam MathiasHerbert Howells,   ... 
Performer:  Lydia ChallenJulia DoyleJulian DaviesSimon Oberts,   ... 
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony OrchestraCity of London Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This new holiday season has brought with it some smartly programmed Christmas choral recordings, including this one that combines The City of London Choir, soloists, organ, and the Bournemouth Symphony in both familiar works (Herbert Howells' A spotless Rose and Here is the little door; John Gardner's Tomorrow shall be my dancing day; John Rutter's What sweeter music; John Joubert's There is no rose) with those we just don't hear often enough. Among the latter are three extended pieces, Holst's Christmas Day--a festive and cleverly structured joining of several carols with its central theme, Good Christian men, rejoice; Finzi's In terra pax--a 16-minute setting of texts from poet Robert Bridges and from the gospel of St. Luke, its Read more pleasingly meandering, engagingly tuneful, colorfully orchestrated style (with occasional big, dramatic outbursts) making for an evocative tone painting of "A frosty Christmas Eve when the stars were shining..."; and from Kenneth Leighton, not his well-loved Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child, but the longer and very challenging A hymn of the Nativity, which shows impressive virtuosity from the choir. It's also a pleasure to hear Peter Warlock's delightful little gem, Tyrley, tyrlow, as well as the more often-performed Balulalow.

Baritone Roderick Williams and soprano Julia Doyle are ideal soloists in the Finzi, but Williams stands out for his warm, lyrical tone, fluid, natural phrasing, and affecting expression. He's a very gifted interpreter whose discs of Finzi songs and "Children's" songs are well worth checking out. Doyle's opening to the Leighton and subsequent interaction with the choir in this difficult a cappella work is very well done, as is the substantial contribution from the orchestra. Conductor Hilary Davan Wetton has a cool and perfectly judged sense of both the celebratory and the serene, important in realizing the variety of mood and complexity in these 20th-century works. I had a little trouble with the extremely slight intonation discrepancy between choir and organ in Rutter's What sweeter music, which must have been a function of the particular acoustic space--a different venue from most of the other selections. Some listeners will notice; others won't.

The program ends in grand style with Vaughan Williams' God bless the Master (the last of his set of four "Winter" songs from his Folk songs of the four seasons. You can't help but be caught up in the joyful spirit that's apparent throughout all the performances on this disc, from the soloists and accompanists to the choir and orchestra. And while that alone is reason enough to own this, you really shouldn't miss the Leighton or the very rarely-recorded In terra pax, in this now-reference version of the work.

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

1.
Christmas Day, H 109 by Gustav Holst
Performer:  Lydia Challen (Alto), Julia Doyle (Soprano), Julian Davies (Tenor),
Simon Oberts (Baritone)
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; England 
2.
There is no rose, Op. 14 by John Joubert
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; England 
3.
Sir Christèmas by William Mathias
Performer:  Mark Williams (Organ)
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Wales, UK 
4.
Here is the little door by Herbert Howells
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1920; England 
5.
Carol-Anthems (3) for Chorus: no 2, A spotless rose by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Roderick Williams (Baritone)
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1920; England 
6.
Et in Terra Pax, Op. 39 by Gerald Finzi
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
7.
Carols (3) by Peter Warlock
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; England 
8.
Hymn of the Nativity by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Julia Doyle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; England 
9.
What Sweeter Music by John Rutter
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; England 
10.
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, Op. 75 no 2 by John Gardner
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
11.
A babe is born, Op. 55 by William Mathias
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; Wales, UK 
12.
Folksongs of the Four Seasons: Winter by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Hilary Davan Wetton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  City of London Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; England 

Sound Samples

Christmas Day
There is no Rose, Op. 14
Sir Christemas
Here is the little door
A Spotless Rose
In terra pax, Christmas Scene, Op. 39
3 Carols: No. 1. Tyrley, tyrlow
3 Carols: No. 2. Balulalow
3 Carols: No. 3. As I sat under a sycamore tree
A Hymn of the Nativity
What sweeter music
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
A Babe is Born, Op. 53
Folksongs of the 4 Seasons: Winter: I. Children's Christmas song
Folksongs of the 4 Seasons: Winter: II. Wassail song
Folksongs of the 4 Seasons: Winter: III. In Bethlehem city
Folksongs of the 4 Seasons: Winter: IV. God bless the Master

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