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A Christmas Festival / Rutter, RPO, Cambridge Singers


Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Collegium Records   Catalog #: 133   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John Francis WadeTraditionalAnonymousRobert Chilcott,   ... 
Performer:  Andrew WilliamsAndrew WilliamsMelanie MarshallClara Sanabras,   ... 
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth ChoirRoyal Philharmonic OrchestraCambridge Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Fans of John Rutter--and particularly of his Christmas music and programs--will certainly rejoice and be merry with the release of this, "the first all-new Christmas recording from John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers for 20 years". Listeners familiar with the Cambridge Singers' half-dozen or so earlier Christmas albums will be especially pleased to find the premieres of five new Rutter works and 10 new arrangements. Opening and (almost) closing the disc are two old favorites: David Willcocks' arrangements of O come all ye faithful and Hark! the herald angels sing--but with newly written fanfares by Rutter, whose annual London Christmas Festival concerts provided the idea and much of the
Read more material for this program.

As for Rutter's original pieces--Ave Maria; Rejoice and be merry; Magical Kingdom; New Year; I wish you Christmas--there are no surprises here, just more of the same instinctively tuneful lines, ingratiating, pop-flavored harmonies, and thoughtful treatment of texts that for decades have endeared his music to millions of singers and audiences. Seasoned Rutter listeners will especially savor the composer's trademark rhythmic style and harmonic changes in I wish you Christmas (which he wrote for the 2006 Festival) and New Year (a 2006 commission for Sandringham Church to celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth), for which he also wrote the texts.

Other notable entries are Bob Chilcott's The Shepherd's Carol, written in 2000 for the famed King's College service of Nine Lessons and Carols, and Nigel Hess' Christmas Overture, a tightly woven orchestral medley of traditional Christmas tunes written for the 2007 Festival that skillfully exploits both the full orchestra and the festive characteristics of the carols themselves.

There are several selections for solo voice as well, the most enjoyable of which are performed by Clara Sanabras (Rutter's setting of the Catalan carol El Noi de la Mare) and Melanie Marshall (two other Rutter arrangements, of Jester Hairston's Mary's Boy Child and the Caribbean carol The Virgin Mary had a baby boy).

In addition to the expectedly excellent performances by the Cambridge Singers, we also enjoy contributions by the fine Farnham Youth Choir on several tracks--and the Royal Philharmonic treats Rutter's orchestrations with appropriate style and enthusiasm. There's a big, festive feel to the sound and overall ambience of this production (recorded in London's Cadogan Hall), which absolutely suits the occasion--and Melanie Marshall's closing rendition of Have yourself a merry little Christmas (another Rutter arrangement) brings it all home with a nice personal blessing. A great job, and a welcome early Christmas present!

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

1.
Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: David Willcocks; John Rutter. 
2.
Piae Cantiones: Gaudete, gaudete by Anonymous
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1582; Sweden 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: Michael Neaum; John Rutter. 
3.
Shepherd's carol by Robert Chilcott
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2005; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
4.
Nos galan by Traditional
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Rutter. 
5.
I wonder as I wander by John Jacob Niles
Performer:  Andrew Williams (Viola), Andrew Williams (Viola), Melanie Marshall (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Rutter. 
6.
Ave Maria by John Rutter
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers,  Farnham Youth Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
7.
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day by Traditional
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Farnham Youth Choir,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Rutter. 
8.
Rejoice and Be Merry by John Rutter
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers,  Farnham Youth Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
9.
El noi de la mare by Traditional
Performer:  Clara Sanabras (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: Catalonia, Spain 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: John Rutter 
10.
A Christmas Overture by Nigel Hess
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Length: 7 Minutes 28 Secs. 
11.
Born on a New Day by John David
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers,  Farnham Youth Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Peter Knight. 
12.
Magical Kingdom by John Rutter
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Farnham Youth Choir,  Cambridge Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
13.
Mary's boy child by Jester Hairston
Performer:  Melanie Marshall (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Farnham Youth Choir,  Cambridge Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Rutter. 
14.
Esta noche nace un niño by Traditional
Performer:  Clara Sanabras (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Written: Spain 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: John Rutter 
15.
Sleigh Ride by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Farnham Youth Choir,  Cambridge Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887-1888; USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 49 Secs. 
16.
The Virgin Mary had a baby boy by Traditional
Performer:  Melanie Marshall (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Written: USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Rutter. 
17.
New Year by John Rutter
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers,  Farnham Youth Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
18.
I Wish You Christmas by John Rutter
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 
19.
Festgesang "Hark! The herald angels sing" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Farnham Youth Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge Singers
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: David Willcocks; John Rutter. 
20.
Meet Me in St. Louis: Have yourself a merry little Christmas by Hugh Martin
Performer:  Melanie Marshall (Mezzo Soprano), John Anderson (Oboe)
Conductor:  John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Farnham Youth Choir,  Cambridge Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: John Rutter 

Featured Sound Samples

Born on a New Day (David)
I Wish You Christmas (Rutter)

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