Choir of the Chapel Royal / Huw Williams / Martyn Noble

Adeste Fideles: Christmas Carols from Her Majesty's Chapel Royal

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The English choral Christmas album has tended toward innovation, and it's good to hear that there's still a place for the traditional kind, with lightly embroidered traditional hymns, just ever so slightly wobbly, but utterly endearing, boy sopranos, and strongly diatonic Christmas compositions that are consistently and simply rapt in mood. That's what you get here from the Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, whose 17 "gentlemen" and "boys" under director Huw Williams are a smaller group than most of their competition and lend an attractively intimate quality to the proceedings. There's a high proportion of well-known carols, and O Little Town of Bethlehem, in the harmonization by Vaughan Williams with a new top line for the youngsters, makes a good place to start when sampling. Even the slightly contemporary pieces, such as Stravinsky's 1934 Ave Maria, are resolutely simple in style. This release follows in the steps of the choir's 2006 Carols from Buckingham Palace release, but is even more modest and calmer in its effect. Probably the album covers no new ground, but it is expertly recorded in the Chapel Royal itself, and it is entirely satisfying.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:13
2 01:58
3 02:43
4 04:28
5 01:46
6 02:50
7 03:01
8 01:49
9 04:42
10 02:00
11 03:09
12 06:39
13 03:21
14 01:40
15 02:42
16 01:49
17 02:06
18 02:39
19 01:48
20 02:39
21 02:44
22 02:20
23 02:23
24 03:08
25 03:00
26 01:40
blue highlight denotes track pick