John Rutter / Cambridge Singers / Farnham Youth Choir / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

A Christmas Festival

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The Cambridge Singers, founded and conducted by John Rutter, is joined here by the Farnham Youth Choir and the Royal Philharmonic in a collection of Christmas music that includes an assortment of traditional and newly written carols, folk songs, and orchestral holiday pieces. The CD would be of interest to anyone looking for an album of upbeat Christmas fare, who's open to some unfamiliar but highly appealing new selections. The most familiar carols, "O come, all ye faithful," and "Hark! the herald angels sing," are presented in attractive arrangements by Rutter and David Willcocks. Rutter is also responsible for most of the arrangements and orchestrations on the CD. Among the new pieces, Rutter's "Ave Maria," Bob Chilcott's "The Shepherd's Carol," and John David's "Born on a New Day" are especially attractive. Delius' orchestral Sleigh Ride is a fun foray into obscure repertoire, but Nigel Hess' A Christmas Overture, a medley of traditional carols, is of little interest. The performances are splendid -- the singing throughout is fresh, spontaneous, spirited, and unmannered -- and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra plays with polish, but also with a sense of fun. Sopranos Elin Manahan Thomas and Clara Sanabras and mezzo-soprano Melanie Marshall offer lovely solo versions of several of the carols. The sound is warm and clean.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 04:11
2 01:52
feat: Bob Chilcott
4 02:01
5 03:48
6 03:06
7 02:53
8 02:39
9 03:19
feat: Nigel Hess
11 02:46
12 03:32
13 04:29
14 02:06
15 05:49
16 04:12
17 04:20
18 04:31
19 04:11
feat: Hugh Martin
blue highlight denotes track pick