The Choir of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, has appeared at a pair of royal weddings and performed various other functions for England's royal family. Despite these high-visibility responsibilities, the choir hasn't been as celebrated as other British cathedral and chapel choirs, even though it has a solid catalog of recordings on Hyperion and other labels. Perhaps this holiday album will change that: it's enjoyable and popular without foreclosing deeper reflections. One thing should be made clear to potential purchasers: despite the title, and for no reason stated in the packaging and graphics, the album was not recorded at St. George's but at a pair of churches in Northampton and London. This said, the acoustics are fine, with strong text intelligibility, something important in a project of this kind. Unlike most holiday releases, the program is divided into sections pertaining to Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, and within each part, there is a nice variety of accompanied and unaccompanied pieces, and of familiar carols and more arcane musical sentiments. There are smoother boy trebles in various cathedral choirs, but the proceedings here have an attractively festive aspect, and the versions of Carol of the Bells and I Saw Three Ships here can stand with anyone. A thoroughly successful holiday release that may introduce many general listeners to English choral singing.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Three Advent Carols|