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The Gift of Music | CDs | Music for Christmas | Christmas from Oxford
Christmas from Cambridge
Great Christmas Organ Music
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Christmas from OxfordCarols and Christmas music from Worcester College, OxfordThe dreaming spires of Oxford at Christmas time evoke the timeless appeal of Christmas carols and music. From one of Oxford's finest chapels comes this selection of favourite and familiar carols together with a selection of fine choral pieces for the festive season. The resonant acoustics of Worcester College chapel amply support the voices of men and boys who are accompanied by the organ. The programme opens with the magical sound of a solo treble singing the first verse of Once in royal David's city. The rich sounds of the full choir and organ join in for the second verse and establish a lovely atmosphere of Christmas music from one of England's major musical centres.1 Once in royal David's cityHJ Gauntlett/AH Mann arranged D Willcocks2 The Sussex CarolTraditional arranged D Willcocks3 Away in a mangerWJ Kirkpatrick arranged D Willcocks4 The Shepherds' FarewellH Berlioz5 God rest you merry, gentlemenTraditional arranged D Willcocks6 In the bleak midwinterH Darke7 In dulci jubiloRL Pearsall8 Shepherd's Pipe CarolJ Rutter9 We three KingsJH Hopkins arranged M Hartley10 O come, all ye faithfulAnon arranged D Willcocks11 The truth from aboveTraditional arranged Vaughan Williams12 See amid the winter's snowJ Goss arranged D Willcocks13 I sing of a maidenP Hadley14 Good King WenceslasPiae Cantiones Arranged R Jaques15 Here is the little doorH Howells16 A spotless roseH Howells17 The Wassail songTraditional arranged C Sparkhall18 Hark the herald angels singF Mendelssohn arranged D WillcocksRecorded in the chapel of Worcester College, Oxford by kind permission of the Provost and FellowsProduced by Martin Souterp and c 1998 Classical CommunicationsMade in Great BritainCover picture: Oxford by Andrew LawsonChristmas from OxfordCarols and Christmas Music from Worcester College, Oxford'Peace on earth and mercy mild', angelic voices and the eternal and ancient message of Christmas can all be found in this collection of music sung by youthful voices from Oxford. Worcester College choir consists of undergraduate students and boys. The director and organist are also undergraduates and the boys come mainly from the Oxford area and attend a choir school in the city. The programme presents a varied range of Christmas choral music from several centuries. Many of our most favourite Christmas carols are Victorian in origin, including 'Once in royal David's city' and 'See amid the winter's snow'. Some are much older - 'In dulci jubilo' and the 'Sussex Carol' are just two carols with origins in medieval times. These two old melodies are presented here in modern arrangements, where they take on a similar style to many of the modern compositions that can also be heard on the recording. John Rutter's fluent style is easily recognisable in the 'Shepherd's Pipe Carol'. Patrick Hadley's 'I sing of a maiden' is exquisitely crafted and David Willcocks' arrangements and descants are among the most popular and familiar carol compositions ever known.Winter, snow scenes, imagery of roses and revelry are major themes of these carols and Christmas music. The news of the birth of Jesus, the manger in the stable and the Christmas stories of the shepherds and the wise men all find their place in the music. Some pieces include organ accompaniment, some are for choir alone. Many pieces feature solo voices from within the choir, especially when there is a story to be told, as in 'Good King Wenceslas and 'We three Kings'. Particularly fine are the two works by Herbert Howells, which are placed together: 'Here is the little door' expresses wonderment upon seeing the baby Jesus in the stable. 'A spotless rose' features a solo tenor voice singing a message of renewal and hope - fine sentiments for Christmas as the new millennium approaches.The Choir of Worcester College, OxfordDirector Christopher SparkhallOrganist Myles HartleyLiam Hughes (Head Chorister)Howard FeatherLewis FowlerJames BirkettBen MatthewBen Schmidt (tracks 1 & 6)Mark BlanchardSam GardomHugh FicklingPhilip Birkett (track 14)Ben HughesAlistair WhitneyGabriel MynheerAndrew HamiltonRobert Jones (track 9)Brian Chapman (tracks 6 & 9)Laurence MacFaul (tracks 11 & 14)Xavier IlesColin McKenzieAlistair Merry (tracks 9 & 16)
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