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Christmas From Winchester / Andrew Lumsden, Winchester Cathedral Choir

Winchester Cathedral Choir / Bell / Kelly
Release Date: 08/09/2011 
Label:  Regent   Catalog #: 350  
Composer:  Ledger, Philip, SirTraditionalRobert ChilcottHenry Walford Davies,   ... 
Performer:  Simon BellFrances Kelly
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Excellent sound and beautiful singing make this well chosen programme a Christmas delight.

The great space of Winchester Cathedral yields a superb sound for the Cathedral Choir's beautifully recorded disc of Christmas classics.

Andrew Lumsden's intelligent programme mixes uniformly excellent arrangements of favourite carols with less familiar works including Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium. The outstanding production is exemplified by this setting of the Latin text, in which the composer’s refined choral textures are magically transparent. Lauridsen is a star of the church music revival coming particularly out of America. This work displays a flair for luminous part writing similar to the music of
Read more his popular contemporary Eric Whitacre. Lauridsen's work is more reassuring in tone and relies less on the ear-grabbing discords peppered throughout Whitacre's music.

Vaughan Williams's Wither's Rocking Hymn receives a measured performance and like the familiar carols on the disc is beautifully sung. Sir Henry Walford Davies's arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy is especially imaginative in its combinations of voice types and includes some lovely subtle rhythmic tricks. But the heart of the disc is Britten's Ceremony of Carols, a work of many delights all rendered dazzlingly clear in this acoustic. The choir's performance is marked particularly by a tone of naivety and purity. David Hill directing the choir of Westminster Cathedral on Hyperion's 1986 recording (CDA66220) achieves a greater dynamism in Britten's short carol settings and find a vein of darker colour not evident in the Winchester choir's performance. The tricky canon of This little Babe is, for example, less biting and vehement in the hands of Winchester than in those of Westminster, but Winchester's innocence is equally valid and appealing, and their recorded sound is markedly more advanced than Hyperion's early digital. Harpist Frances Kelly is especially delicate in the harp's solo Interlude.

The quality of the singing, coupled with the perfection of the recording mark this collection out as something special and Winchester Cathedral Choir are to be congratulated for producing such an assured and enjoyable record.

-- Andrew Morris, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. On Christmas Night "Sussex Carol" by Traditional
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Sir Philip Ledger 
2. Shepherd's carol by Robert Chilcott
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2005; England 
3. The holly and the ivy by Henry Walford Davies
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
4. God rest ye merry, gentlemen by Traditional
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged: Sir David Willcocks  
5. Wither's rocking Hymn by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; England 
6. The Angel Gabriel by Traditional
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Written: Basque Provinces, Sp 
7. A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Frances Kelly (Harp)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; England 
8. Toccata Prelude for Organ no 4 "Von Himmel hoch" by Garth Edmundson
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
9. O magnum mysterium by Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; USA 
10. Ding Dong! Merrily on high by Traditional
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
11. Sans Day Carol by John Rutter
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
12. In the bleak mid-winter by Harold Edwin Darke
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
13. Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, Op. 75 no 2 by John Gardner
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
14. Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
15. A Christmas Cradle Song for Organ by Alfred Hollins
Performer:  Simon Bell (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 

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