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CD Review

Christmas at St. John's College, Cambridge

Antiphons, Carols, Motets, Hymns & Anthems

  • Otto Goldschmidt: Carol "A tender shoot"
  • Herbert Howells: Carol "A Spotless Rose"
  • Edward Naylor: Motet "Vox dicentis: Clama"
  • Judith Bingham: Anthem "The clouded Heaven"
  • John Rutter: Carol "There is a flower"
  • Gustav Holst: Carol "This have I done for my true love"
  • Francis Pott: Carol "Lullay my liking"
  • Peter Warlock: Carol "Bethlehem Down"
  • Morten Lauridsen: Motet "O magnum mysterium"
  • Plainsong "Rorate caeli"
  • Hymns: "O come, O come, Emmanuel", "Lo! He comes with clouds" & "O come, all ye faithful"
  • Antiphons: "O Sapientia", "Adonai", "O Radix Iesse", "O Clavis David",
    "O Oriens", "O Rex gentium", "O Emmanuel" & "Hodie Christus natus est"
John Robinson, organ
The Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge/David Hill
Hyperion CDA67576 79m DDD
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Although Christmas was, is and will always will remain the most anticipated feast day of the year, several of the customs connected with it are becoming, to say the least tedious, and more so than the plethora of CD issues with the same all too familiar pieces. So this Hyperion release is welcome indeed, penetrating the murky air with the force of a bright new dawn, musically that is.

The St. John's Choir takes as its starting point their very particular Advent Carol Service, famous the world over, and continue with a stupendous programme of works that range from such Christmas classics as Rutter's 'There is a flower' and Holst's 'Tomorrow shall be my dancing day' to new material by Judith Bingham and Francis Pott in 'The Clouded Heaven' and 'Lullaby my liking' respectively.

Edward Naylor's majestic 'Vox Dicentis' is also thrown in for good measure. The programme is the brainchild of Director David Hill who coaxes his forces through some very taxing but rewarding compositions with a poetic intensity that is wholly arresting. John Robinson on the organ supports devotedly and sympathetically.

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech