Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST OF BRITISH
This disc can be recommended enthusiastically to all admirers of Britten's work and also to newcomers. His genius and originality often show up most clearly when he writes for small forces. There are 33 items in total here, twelve in the Ceremony of Carols itself and twelve more songs in the collection entitled 'Friday afternoons' because that was when they were first...
Published on 29 Jun 2004 by DAVID BRYSON

versus
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ceremony of carols
I chose this DVD out of a group of DVD's of the same work and it was not the version I should have got as it was by the children's choir and I should have chosen the 4 part version
Published 18 months ago by Mrs. D. H. Pattie


Most Helpful First | Newest First

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST OF BRITISH, 29 Jun 2004
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This disc can be recommended enthusiastically to all admirers of Britten's work and also to newcomers. His genius and originality often show up most clearly when he writes for small forces. There are 33 items in total here, twelve in the Ceremony of Carols itself and twelve more songs in the collection entitled 'Friday afternoons' because that was when they were first rehearsed by his brother's pupils. Three others form a single group of settings of the highly individual and atmospheric Walter de la Mare, and the remaining six are isolated compositions from various stages of Britten's life, the Shakespeare number being accurately 'Fancie' and not 'Francie'. The Ceremony itself is set for trebles with a virtuosic harp accompaniment despatched with enormous panache by Skaila Kanga. The other items are occasionally unaccompanied a capella but mainly with a simple but resourceful piano accompaniment provided by a specialist in such work Alexander Wells, and the 1994 direction is from Ronald Corp, founder of the London Children's Choir.
Britten had exquisite literary taste. His knowledge of the byways of English poetry would have shamed many a professor of literature. His instinct for what poetry goes to music and what does not was unerring and to the best of my knowledge he never commits the deadly sin of trying to set Housman, a source of great distress to that poet and no wonder. There is no particularly strong Christmas theme in the Ceremony, although A Wealden Trio for two sopranos and alto is specifically 'a Christmas song'. So far as I can detect, all the vocal parts are such as amateurs, in many cases children, can handle, the only thing calling for a professional being the harp part in the Ceremony. What one needs to sense is that the performers understand the music with the marrow of their bones. That understanding is largely communicated by the choirmaster, and Ronald Corp's cv as outlined here confirms what my ears tell me anyway, namely that this kind of music is his line of country. One thing I find particularly pleasant is that Britten does not patronise children in his music for them, just as Bach did not.
Once again I feel we are indebted to Naxos for a production like this. Presumably it required only a low budget, and it is a heartening confirmation of my own conviction that financial restrictions are fully compatible with high quality and with some sense of adventure and discovery rather than yet more complete sets of Beethoven and Brahms. This collection dates from a time when people still made their own music as best they could without technical support, and it is encouraging to find how strong the tradition remains. Words are not provided, but the diction and recording are clear enough for one to get a very fair idea of each song even at first hearing. The leaflet provides information regarding the performers, and the short commentary on the music by Ates Orga is notably sensitive and knowledgeable. Obviously the ideal thing would be to organise one's own performances of this music. Pending that unlikely event in my own case I am more than happy to have it done so well for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best 'Ceremony' since 1966!, 23 Dec 2008
By 
J. J. Rhodes "Jonthan Rhodes" (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Britten's 'Ceremony of Carols' is a definitive work which has spawned more ghastly recordings than almost any other in the choral cannon! This, however, is far from being one of those.

In 1966, the ultimate recording of the work, by St John's College Choir with Maria Robles on harp was released. Every recording since then has been a bitter disappointment - until this one.

Although the vocal attack perhaps lacks the edge that St John's had (which wouldn't be hard since the continental voice training which George Guest used for half the boys gave a unique sound) this succeeds where so many before have failed. The tuning is excellent and the diction spot on. The very slight 'springing' of the rhythm in the processional makes you realise that this is going to be 'a bit different'

So often in performances or recordings of the Ceremony, you feel that the harpist is using every trick at his/her disposal to produce 'musical fireworks' to cover for the fact that the trebles just find the whole thing far too difficult and beyond their limit of technique. Not so here.

It is the voices which are on show and the almost restrained harp playing compliments them beautifully. Any doubts I had (and I did) about a mixed choir singing the piece, rather than an all boys' choir, were blasted away in seconds! There is now, at long last, another great recording of 'Ceremony of Carols' and this is it!

The rest of the disc is every bit as good. Great to hear a new version of 'Friday Afternoons' and the other pieces are fresh and well sung but it is for 'Ceremony' that this recording will be wanted by Britten lovers and Christmas lovers alike for many moons to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a change from the usual carols., 25 Sep 2009
By 
M. Stagg "Mary" (Newbury UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Until I sang this, I'd never heard of it but once sang never forgotten and this is a fabulous recording not only of A Ceremony of Carols but also other works by Britten. Britten works with unusual rhythm and texture and this doesn't disappoint. The individual parts all have their own character - from the very unusual Tiny Babe to the Spring Poem. I love this, I'm already listening to it in the car and I shall be using it in school. Its not sweet or snowy like much traditional Christmas music but its powerful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choral Delight!, 7 Dec 2010
By 
John Crimp (Leeds UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These recordings of Britten's Choral Music will be of particular interest to those looking for a version of A Ceremony of Carols. However, the whole CD is of great interest, beginning with "Friday Afternoons". These short songs are full of wit and invention and great fun for both performer and listener. The New London Children's Choir perform them with a great sense of enjoyment. There are another 9 songs performed, including 3 two-part songs to words by Walter de la Mare. The disc concludes with A Ceremony of Carols. From the first song "Procession" you get the feeling that you are about to hear something a bit different, and the rest of the work does not disappoint. If you are looking for a performance of A Ceremony of Carols I would strongly recommend this recording. You get the bonus of the other songs, which you may not know, sung equally well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Thank you., 29 Dec 2013
By 
Diana Hoy (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a delightful recording - you will love it - esp as it is just still Britten's centenary year and is of festive nature - a lovely way to round off the year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ceremony of carols, 9 Jan 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I chose this DVD out of a group of DVD's of the same work and it was not the version I should have got as it was by the children's choir and I should have chosen the 4 part version
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews