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CD Review

Joy in the Morning

24 Christmas Pieces

  • Alec Roth:
  • Epilogue: Child of son
  • Unborn: A Processional Introit
  • Benjamin Britten:
  • In the bleak mid-winter
  • This little Babe
  • Felix Mendelssohn:
  • For he shall give his angels
  • There shall be a star
  • When Jesus, our Lord
  • John Gardner:
  • The holly and the ivy
  • Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
  • Franz Xaver Gruber: Stille Nacht
  • Giovanni Gabrieli: O magnum mysterium
  • Harold Darke: In the bleak mid-winter
  • John Joubert: Joy in the morning
  • Kenneth Leighton: A Christmas Caroll
  • Martin Bates: Three Songs for Christmas
  • Naji Hakim: Noël
  • Tomás Pascual: ¡Oy es día de placer y de cantar!
  • Traditional:
  • He comes in the night
  • How will you your Christmas keep
  • With a merry ding-dong
  • Ole leloila
  • Sussex Carol
  • Jubilate
  • Wexford Carol
  • horo eeree caidil gu Lo
Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchid Classics ORC100008 75min
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanFind it at CD Universe

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.