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Nativity - Georgian Christmas Music / Holman, Psalmody, Etc


Release Date: 12/09/2003 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67443   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John FawcettWilliam MarshJohn HillTraditional,   ... 
Performer:  Luke GreenTimothy Kenworthy-BrownPatrick McCarthyJulian Perkins,   ... 
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of InstrumentsPsalmody
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


If you're familiar with this same group's "Christmas Music from English Parish Churches, 1740-1830" (also on Hyperion--type Q7189 in Search Reviews)--and you should be, this new release continues the idea of presenting Christmas songs, anthems, hymns, and carols as sung by the more or less "ordinary" folk whose church music traditions differed significantly from those practiced in the cathedrals during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Not surprisingly, some of this music sounds like colonial American hymns and fuguing tunes, while other pieces, especially those with orchestra or other instrumental accompaniment, are stylistically owing to composers such as Handel and Haydn. In
Read more fact, the grand and glorious opening anthem by John Fawcett (Strike! Seraphs, strike your harps of gold), scored for orchestra, soprano and alto soloists, and choir, has a definite Haydn-esque cast to it--and later on in this 70-plus-minute program we're treated to glimpses of Handel, Purcell, and even J.S. Bach in the various arrangements and original pieces.


But this is not to suggest that all of this music is derivative; rather, most of the anthems bear unique aspects that are due more to their amateur origins and thus reflect a certain charming rusticity that renders them both immediately accessible and likeable. the scoring tends to be simple, straightforward, and functional, and the tunes are, well, meant to be sung--not necessarily by professionals. Even so, there's some fairly sophisticated music here, from John Hill's unique and involved treatment of texts literally owned by Handel--"The people that walked in darkness/For unto us a child is born"--to Benjamin Cooke's Angelic hymns thy natal day (from Ode for Christmas, 1763) with its absolutely beautiful Purcellian melodic lines, set for three soloists and instruments. Other highlights include Joseph Key's lively carol Come celebrate th' auspicious morn; the touching, harmonically rich Light of those whose dreary dwelling (arranged by Thomas Butts); a majestic setting of Joy to the world for choir and organ; and an amazing arrangement of O come, all ye faithful by Vincent Novello, for choir, soloists, orchestra, and organ.


The choral and solo singing is first rate, with special mention to soprano Philippa Hyde, and the instrumental playing and arrangements couldn't be better. The singers wisely decided not to employ any contrived regional accents or dialects that not only could be distracting but, as Peter Holman points out in the notes, cannot be authentically re-created--and may only "strike a false note of nostalgic quaintness". The sound is clearer, more detailed, and more impressively immediate than on Psalmody's earlier disc. This is an outstanding and unusual Christmas CD that shouldn't be missed. [11/26/2003]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Strike! Seraphs, strike your harps of gold by John Fawcett
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1840; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
The branch, the mighty branch behold by William Marsh
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1816; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: English 
3.
The people that walked in darkness by John Hill
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1790; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 6 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: English 
4.
Lo! He comes with clouds descending by Traditional
Performer:  Luke Green (Organ)
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: 18th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Edward Miller, Samuel Wesley (organ interludes) 
5.
Ode for Christmas: Angelic hymns thy natal day by Benjamin Cooke
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1763; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
Adeste Fideles by Thomas Adams
Performer:  Luke Green (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 7 Minutes 55 Secs. 
7.
Come celebrate th'auspicious morn by Joseph Key
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1790; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: English 
8.
In Bethlehem fields as shepherds kept by Thomas Tremain
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 
9.
Come, thou long-expected Jesus by William Boyce
Performer:  Luke Green (Organ), Timothy Kenworthy-Brown (Tenor), Patrick McCarthy (Tenor),
Julian Perkins (Bass)
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Thomas Butts, as "Light of whose dreary dwelling" 
10.
St. Michael "Old Hundred Thirty-Fourth" by Loys Bourgeois
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1551; Geneva, Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 5 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: William Matthews (1817), as "How beauteous are their feet" 
11.
Joy to the World by Lowell Mason
Performer:  Luke Green (Organ)
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Psalmody
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Charles Rider (c1820) 
12.
Hark! What mean those holy voices? by Ithamar Conkey
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 1 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: English 
13.
Christians awake! salute the happy morn by John Wainwright
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 4 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Sally Drage, Peter Holman and Andrew Pink 
14.
Angels from the realms of glory by Traditional
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Thomas Williams (1857) 
15.
Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Vincent Novello 
16.
Arise and hail the sacred day by Joseph Stephenson
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Psalmody
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1775; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
17.
Hosanna to King David's son by Richard Taylor
Performer:  Julian Perkins (Bass), Luke Green (Organ), Timothy Kenworthy-Brown (Tenor),
Philippa Hyde (Soprano), Patrick McCarthy (Tenor)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1789; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2003 
Venue:  Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke-by-Nayland 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: English 

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