One of the finest Christmas recordings ever made, this 1994 production by the Baltimore Consort makes a welcome return (complete with a new cover) along with the revival of the Dorian label. Glowing with the high, clear soprano of Custer LaRue and brimming with versatile, virtuoso instrumental work by Mary Anne Ballard (viols, rebec), Mark Cudek (cittern, Baroque guitar, viols, bandora), Larry Lipkis (viol, recorder, gemshorn), Ronn McFarlane (lute), Chris Norman (wooden flutes, pennywhistle), and Webb Wiggins (organ), this program literally lives up to the promise of its title.
Many of these 20 tunes/carols/dances are among the most familiar Christmas standards--Ding dong merrily on high; Greensleeves; Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen; In dulci jubilo; The Cherry Tree Carol; Tomorrow shall be my dancing day--presented in both vocal/instrumental and strictly instrumental arrangements. But whatever the tune, and however it's presented, the result is invariably engaging, artful, classy, and infinitely repeatable, which means it's perfect for multiple repetitions, whether at Christmas or any other time of year. Chris Norman's flute improvisation on "Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen" is a classic, and Custer LaRue's rendition of the beautiful "Rorate coeli desuper" is not to be missed. In fact, that last instruction applies to this entire disc. If you're a Christmas music fan (and who isn't?) and you don't already own this CD, you know what you have to do.
-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com