Thursday, December 01, 2016

Nowell We Sing - Imaginative program, beautiful performances

Robert Quinney and the Choir of New College Oxford build on the success of their release, "John Blow: Symphony Anthems." While this is indeed a collection of seasonal music, the selections are more varied in style and show just how capable this choir and director are.

Traditional favorites such as Praetorius' "In dulci jubilo" and Bennet's "In the bleak midwinter" are included, as well as David Willcocks arrangements of "Of the Father's heart begotten" and "O come all ye faithful."

But rather than making up the entire program, these familiar selections are interspersed as leavening for a more adventuresome fare.

I especially liked the inclusion of more contemporary works. Charles Ives' "A Christmas Carol" was a welcome addition, and the pieces by Francis Pott, Peter Warlock, and Matthew Martin added some freshness and spice to the program.

Love the English choral tradition but are tired of the same old traditional selections? Me, too. That's why I recommend this disc. It's thoughtfully programmed and beautifully performed.

Nowell Sing We!
Advent and Christmas at New College
Choir of New College Oxford; Robert Quinney, director
Novum NCR 1390

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