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Christmas With London Brass

London Brass
Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Teldec   Catalog #: 86180  
Composer:  John Francis WadeMichael PraetoriusTraditionalWilliam James Kirkpatrick,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Among the recent raft of reissues by Warner Classics is this fine Christmas recording from 1990--a trove of favorite traditional tunes in solid, expertly written arrangements for brass, recorded in the very favorable acoustics of St. Barnabas Church, Woodside Park. Most of the arrangements, the majority by London Brass director Roger Harvey, are fairly straightforward--nothing to prove in undue cleverness or gratuitous alterations of the originals--and this familiarity makes the listening smooth and easy and very soul-warming, perfect for setting and keeping a good mood for the season at hand. Not to say that this isn't also quite festive--it's brass after all!--and in its stylishness and technical
Read more facility the playing is beyond reproach.

And there are a few arrangements outside of the above-mentioned "straightforward" character, namely Simon Wills' "Quem pastores laudavere"--a prelude and fugue that's both exciting and, yes, quite clever, and Harvey's appropriately ancient, ominous-sounding "Coventry Carol". Another Wills' arrangement, "Silent Night", begins with a harmonic/rhythmic figure from one of Satie's piano pieces, a recurring theme interrupted by a sudden diversion into something that sounds as if a circus band momentarily wandered in. I wasn't prepared to like the group's rendition of "Winter" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, but I couldn't help it--the display of sheer technical virtuosity is worth hearing on its own, but also the range of sonority (assisted by organ) and the vitality and rhythmic energy heightened by the super-crisp articulation is infectious.

The disc concludes with Harvey's lively and thoroughly engaging medley of popular holiday tunes (Sleigh Ride; Have yourself a merry little Christmas; Jingle Bells; We wish you a merry Christmas). This last provides a chance for the group to exhibit (in Jingle Bells) just a bit of the humorous component absent from the rest of the program but that we just kind of expect from brass ensemble performances. If you're looking for a great disc of Christmas instrumental music and you missed this the first time, don't hesitate. Highly recommended.

--David Vernier,
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Works on This Recording

Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Musae Sioniae: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1609; Germany 
Ding Dong! Merrily on high by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
Away in a manger by William James Kirkpatrick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
O come, O come Emmanuel by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; France 
Quem pastores laudavere by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century 
Infant holy, infant lowly by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Written: Poland 
Shepherd's Pipe Carol by John Rutter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Lully, lulla, thow littel tyne child "Coventry Carol" by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
In dulci jubilo by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
The first nowell by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Written: England 
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Gabriel's message by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Written: Basque Provinces 
Joy to the World by Lowell Mason
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; USA 
Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
It came upon the midnight clear by Richard Storrs Willis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
Period: Romantic 

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