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Christmas from Oxford

Christmas from Oxford

Ref: CDG1020

18 tracks 71 min
Click here to preview trk 10

The Choir of Worcester College, Oxford

Favourite carols, glorious acoustics, fine organ playing. Well-known Christmas music familiar from broadcasts such as 'Nine Lessons and Carols'.

Price    9.99

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Christmas from Oxford
Carols and Christmas music from Worcester College, Oxford

The 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 city
HJ Gauntlett/AH Mann arranged D Willcocks
2 The Sussex Carol
Traditional arranged D Willcocks
3 Away in a manger
WJ Kirkpatrick arranged D Willcocks
4 The Shepherds' Farewell
H Berlioz
5 God rest you merry, gentlemen
Traditional arranged D Willcocks
6 In the bleak midwinter
H Darke
7 In dulci jubilo
RL Pearsall
8 Shepherd's Pipe Carol
J Rutter
9 We three Kings
JH Hopkins arranged M Hartley
10 O come, all ye faithful
Anon arranged D Willcocks
11 The truth from above
Traditional arranged Vaughan Williams
12 See amid the winter's snow
J Goss arranged D Willcocks
13 I sing of a maiden
P Hadley
14 Good King Wenceslas
Piae Cantiones Arranged R Jaques
15 Here is the little door
H Howells
16 A spotless rose
H Howells
17 The Wassail song
Traditional arranged C Sparkhall
18 Hark the herald angels sing
F Mendelssohn arranged D Willcocks

Recorded in the chapel of Worcester College, Oxford by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows
Produced by Martin Souter
p and c 1998 Classical Communications
Made in Great Britain
Cover picture: Oxford by Andrew Lawson

Christmas from Oxford
Carols 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, Oxford
Director Christopher Sparkhall
Organist Myles Hartley

Liam Hughes (Head Chorister)
Howard Feather
Lewis Fowler
James Birkett
Ben Matthew
Ben Schmidt (tracks 1 & 6)
Mark Blanchard
Sam Gardom
Hugh Fickling
Philip Birkett (track 14)
Ben Hughes
Alistair Whitney
Gabriel Mynheer

Andrew Hamilton
Robert Jones (track 9)
Brian Chapman (tracks 6 & 9)
Laurence MacFaul (tracks 11 & 14)
Xavier Iles
Colin McKenzie
Alistair Merry (tracks 9 & 16)

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