The name of this luscious CD bears the same title as one of John Joubert's compositions (track 5), whose music is starting to attain the attention it deserves. But Joubert's piece apart, this compilation is one of the most varied programmes ever collected on a Christmas disc.
Among the 24 tracks one finds traditional tunes from Ireland and Lapland, rare classical hymns by Gabrieli, Mendelssohn and Pascual, modern vocal pieces by Britten, Gardner and Leighton and a cluster of other hugely atmospheric and attractive works by lesser known or anonymous composers. The exception in this latter group is Gruber's "Silent Night".
The Ex Cathedra Vocal Ensemble have been on the scene of such repertoire for more than 4 decades and they certainly need no plaudits on my part to affirm the inspired level of singing they have managed to exude on this very special recording. Jeffrey Skidmore's direction has a light-hearted touch all round but, keeping true to his style, he is consistently focused and incisive. A warm-hearted celebration of the year's most beautiful and anticipated festive season, in spacious sound and polished presentation.
Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech.