On this 2014 release from Signum Classics, music director Christopher Monks and the Armonico Consort present an enjoyable program of beloved Christmas carols and give these seasonal favorites polished performances that will appeal strongly to traditionalists. The British ensemble of ten singers performs most of the selections a cappella, though on several numbers they are accompanied by Charles Matthews on organ, and the recording in a church setting gives the album the feeling of a Christmas Eve concert in a small parish, except with the difference that no small parish choir ever sounds like this. The chamber choir is exceptionally blended and precise in rhythmic articulation and diction, so the carols are transparent in voicing and easily understood, in spite of the overly resonant acoustic that sometimes blurs their sound. While most of the program is made up of well-known holiday fare, including an enchanting performance of Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, two delightful contemporary carols receive their world premieres here, Hope Finds a Way and Mistletoe, both composed by Jonathan Roberts.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28|