Cambridge Singers / John Rutter

The Cambridge Singers Christmas Album

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This is the holiday disc of the year, a slice of merry old English tradition at its best. Reversing the usual American glee club order of things, conductor John Rutter and his Cambridge Singers open with seasonal carols and then, when listeners' ears have been limbered up by Rutter's own arrangements and those by David Willcocks and other figures from the English choral world, moves on to Renaissance pieces and modern compositions by Warlock, Tavener, Britten, Kenneth Leighton, and Vaughan Williams (the Fantasia on Christmas Carols). Even those cool to Rutter's own choral music will concede his skills as a conductor; the Cambridge Singers, at a perfect size between chamber choir and distant, vast cathedral group, sound both beautifully precise and sweetly lyrical under his baton. Rutter also contributes another of the disc's most attractive features; his liner notes are packed with enjoyable information and trivia that illuminate something of the paths familiar carols took to public consciousness, of how today's corpus of Christmas carols resulted from the combined efforts of folklorists, choir leaders, and compiler/editors of years past. "[L]ike so much of the best Christmas music," writes Rutter, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia "seems to encompass both mystery and joy." Much the same might be said of this top-notch seasonal collection, accessible to all yet filled with subtleties for the discerning.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:00
2 2:39
3 2:12
4 2:58
5 2:54
6 3:30
feat: Ruth Holton
8 2:21
9 2:30
10 2:07
11 1:53
L' Enfance du Christ, oratorio for soprano, 2 tenors, baritone, 3 basses, chorus & orchetsra ("trilogie sacrée") H. 130 (Op. 25)
12 3:44
13 4:40
15 2:57
Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56
16 4:15
17 3:30
18 3:13
Friday Afternoons, children's songs (12) for children's chorus & piano, Op. 7
19 2:21
20 2:07
21 3:06
22 3:33
23 11:29
blue highlight denotes track pick