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A Christmas Present From Polyphony / Layton, Polyphony


Release Date: 10/12/2004 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 10027   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John RutterHerbert HowellsSir William WaltonEdvard Grieg,   ... 
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This Christmas collection from the esteemed vocal ensemble Polyphony is a compilation from several of the group's existing recordings, plus one work--Morten Lauridsen's O magnum mysterium--from a CD to be issued next spring (2005). Simply put, lovers of Christmas choral music will want/need/have to have this, even though many of the 19 selections have been recorded multiple times in very good performances by dozens of excellent choirs. But this is the nature of Christmas music: if you love it, the joy comes from hearing it in as many different forms as possible, from the dearly familiar to the unusual--or from simply experiencing the unique sound and interpretive manner of yet another group of singers and/or players.

Read more /> Of course, Polyphony is one of the world's best choral groups, so we can expect first-rate singing and exemplary renditions of these arrangements and original pieces. Highlights include Grieg's beautiful motet Ave maris stella, Pärt's Magnificat, Leighton's Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child, and the Lauridsen work, which has become a modern classic, a favorite with choirs and audiences since its premiere in 1994. You could even argue that Stephen Layton and Polyphony manage a performance of Rutter's Nativity Carol that's better than Rutter's own with his Cambridge Singers. But that would be unnecessary--after all, Christmas music aficionados will happily own both! The rarest work here is Britten's Chorale after an Old French Carol, a craggy setting of a text by Auden, with harmonies that range from stark to sumptuously romantic. The sound is mostly very fine, but some tracks are a bit harsh on the high end; each selection is listed with full text and a reference to the recording from which it was taken. Highly recommended. [10/14/2004]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Silent Night by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1/2001 
Venue:  All Saints Church, Tooting, London, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
Carol-Anthems (3) for Chorus: no 3, Sing lullaby by Herbert Howells
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1920; England 
3.
All this time by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970; England 
4.
Ave maris stella, EG 150 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Norway 
5.
Weihnachtslieder (6), Op. 8: no 3, Die Könige by Peter Cornelius
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856/1870; Weimar, Germany 
6.
Magnificat Antiphons (7): O Morgenstern by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
7.
Nativity Carol by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; England 
8.
Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Hymn to the Virgin by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1934; England 
10.
Carols (3), Op. 25: no 2, Lully, lulla thou little tiny child by Kenneth Leighton
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; England 
11.
Away in a Manger by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
12.
O magnum mysterium by Morten Lauridsen
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; USA 
13.
Bethlehem Down by Peter Warlock
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; England 
14.
Carol-Anthems (3) for Chorus: no 2, A spotless rose by Herbert Howells
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1920; England 
15.
Chorale on an old french Carol by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; England 
16.
What cheer by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Music for All Seasons January 16, 2014 By Maureen W. (Tarzana, CA) See All My Reviews "This CD was a total delight - I recommend it highly for anytime of year." Report Abuse
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