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Fear And Rejoice, O People - Music For Advent And Christmas


Release Date: 09/07/1999 
Label:  Nimbus   Catalog #: 5589   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Herbert HowellsJohn GardnerJohn RutterPeter Warlock,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Absolutely delightful.

This is a very intelligently planned selection of Christmas music, which focuses on the less well known, and bravo for that.
 
The two Howells Carol Anthems are delightful pieces. How one wishes that they had recorded A spotless rose – the middle of the three which is omitted here. John Tavener’s big anthem Fear and Rejoice, O People is a wonderful piece, very evocative and full of surprises, not least the clever stepwise motion of the music. Each phrase ends with a lovely call of Alleluia. This is one of the best of Tavener’s shorter liturgical pieces, for it is not clogged with Orthodoxy, and it moves in a fast tempo. This latter is very welcome. His
Read more A Hymn to the Mother of God, which ends this recital, is a deeply-felt, and simple, setting and it is perfectly placed here. It’s good to have two of Warlock’s carols in this collection for it is sometimes forgotten that he wrote quite a few choral works with a religious outlook – Benedicamus Domino is a particularly jolly affair. It’s followed by Elizabeth Poston’s perfect Jesus Christ the Apple Tree – one of those lessons in how less is more.
 
If he’s remembered at all Arthur Oldham’s name will forever be linked to the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, which he founded in 1965. But he studied composition at the Royal College with Howells, and after showing some scores to Britten became a frequent visitor to the older composer’s Suffolk home. Most of Oldham’s works are religious and Remember, O thou man, which is heard here, is written in an accessible idiom and is, I imagine, very grateful to perform. It has a splendid dance–like episode in the middle.
 
The inclusion of two large works was a good idea, to balance so many miniatures. Górecki’s Totus tuus is a big utterance, setting words in honour of the Virgin, and, very nicely, taking its time to unfold its meaning. This is superb.
 
The rest are small pieces but no less important for that fact. Tomorrow shall be my dancing day is probably John Gardner’s best known work. It’s a gorgeous rhythmic setting of old words and is a delight, as is Rutter’s There is a flower. This man seems incapable of putting a bad note on paper, and this is a fine example of his splendid art. Vaughan Williams’s Wassail Song is a tad on the slow side – I would expect more excitement and joviality when it comes to the wassail bowl! Milner’s Out of your sleep arise is a respectable setting of these words but Richard Rodney Bennett did them a better service in his setting. I thought Geraint Lewis’s A little hymn to Mary to be a real gem, and George Dyson’s Magnificat in F is a gorgeous setting of the Evening Canticle with a prominent part for boy treble. Absolutely delightful.
 
This is a most enjoyable disk, with plenty of variety and fine performances. The sound is rather distant so you’ll need to turn the volume up but then there’s plenty of bloom to the recording, and a good feel of St John’s Chapel. Like another disk of Christmas music from Nimbus which I reviewed recently, this is a re–issue of an earlier disk. The booklet seems to have been reprinted directly from the original and some facts have not been checked, such as two of the composers heard here are no longer with us. It wouldn’t have taken much to put their correct dates in the booklet instead of just leaving the birthdate and nothing else. A small matter perhaps but a trifle slip-shod. Musically, this is splendid.
 
-- Bob Briggs, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Carol-Anthems (3) for Chorus: no 3, Sing lullaby by Herbert Howells
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1920; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
Carol-Anthems (3) for Chorus: no 1, Here is the little door by Herbert Howells
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1920; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: English 
3.
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, Op. 75 no 2 by John Gardner
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: English 
4.
There is a flower by John Rutter
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
As Dewe in Aprylle by Peter Warlock
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 1 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
Benedicamus Domino by Peter Warlock
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7.
Remember, O thou man by Arthur Oldham
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: English 
8.
Unto us is born a son by Traditional
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1582 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Christopher Robinson 
9.
The Truth from Above by Traditional
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Ralph Vaughan Williams 
10.
On Christmas Night "Sussex Carol" by Traditional
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Philip Ledger 
11.
A Little Hymn to Mary by Geraint Lewis
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
12.
Come all you faithful Christians "Hereford Carol" by Traditional
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: English 
13.
Jesus Christ the Apple Tree by Elisabeth Poston
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1988 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: English 
14.
English Folksongs (5): no 5, Wassail Song by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
15.
Out of your sleep arise by Anthony Milner
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: English 
16.
Evening Service in F major: Magnificat by George Dyson
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
17.
Totus tuus, Op. 60 by Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; Poland 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 7 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
18.
Hymns (2) to the Mother of God: no 1, Hymn to the Mother of God by John Tavener
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1985; United Kingdom 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
19.
Fear and Rejoice, O People by John Tavener
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 7 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: English 

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