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Good collection but short on spirit
on 6 August 2010
This is a perfectly decent collection of Christmas carols. Most of the favourites are here plus a few more unusual items. They are all very well sung, although the Worcester Cathedral Choir trebles sound rather strained in the descants to 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' and 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. The best singing comes in the three items performed by the Elora Festival Singers from Canada. The greatest enthusiasm is found in the single item performed by Oxford Camerata, the appropriately vigorous mediaeval hymn 'Gaudete Christus est natus'. The main problem with the collection is the lack of such enthusiasm and any degree of spirit in most of the performances by the cathedral and abbey choirs, they are so restrained that they seem completely detached. For example the Worcester Cathedral Choir give fairly dull performances of two of the most jubilant of carols ' Joy to the World' and 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'. The real Spirit in this collection is within the absolutely beautiful performances from the Elora Festival Singers. All three of their items are wonderfully sung but they give an especially lovely performance of Elizabeth Poston's 'Jesus Christ the Apple Tree'. They also sing the beautiful Harold Darke setting of 'In the bleak midwinter' rather than the equally excellent but more austere tune by Gustav Holst which is mentioned in the CD booklet and which is the one usually sung by church congregations in England.
Please note that the Amazon.co.uk review given in the product description section does not relate to this CD, it has obviously been included by mistake. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir are not included in this CD at all.
The brief review which follows it is about this CD.
There are no defects on my copy of this disc, such as are described by a more recent reviewer. Every carol is complete and all opening notes and words are present. 'Gaudete Christus est natus' begins clearly with the word Gaudete. This carol and some of the others are unaccompanied or have unaccompanied openings and so it is possible to miss the opening word or syllable if the volume is set too low.