Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Great family carols concert marred by brazen fanfare trumpeters
on 27 November 2006
Many of these carols had been recorded previously by the Bach Choir with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, indeed the tradition of Family Carols concerts with the BC and PJBE date back to 1969, I believe. By the time this recording was made (1992?) the PJBE had disbanded and reformed as London Brass. However, for this recording, the now American based Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble do the honours and do so superbly. The Bach Choir, under the evergreen Sir David Willcocks, acquit themselves excellently as ever, But why, oh why were the fanfare trumpeters included when the GABE were perfectly capable of managing the fanfares by themselves (and no doubt they would have been more restrained and resplendent as a result)? The combined effect in the 'congregational' carols (i.e. O Come, Hark The Herald etc.) at times makes the choir almost redundant as they're obliterated by the sheer volume. It's not as though I necessarily blame the players because fanfare trumpets are (a) notoriously difficult to keep in tune (as confirmed by one or two moments in the opening fanfare to O Come) and just plain brazen in volume. Rather like the 1980 Decca recording with the PJBE, the 8 piece brass ensemble would have sufficed in conjunction with the organ. A shame because the rest of the disc is excellent.