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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2009
The Finzi is the fulcrum & star item in this attractive collection of (mostly) lesser known Christmas pieces. Hilary Davan Whetton is a genius at selecting young singers at the outset of their careers; Julia Doyle & Roderick Williams are clear & fresh. Praise not only to the soloists, but to the Choir - and to the BSO.A delightful addition to my Christmas collection, and warmly recommended for purchase - in fact, I'm going to buy a couple of copies as gifts!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful collection of Christmas music - a must for everyone's stockings! A collection including Holsts cleverly interweaved well known carols as well as some shorter works such as the very popular 'what sweeter music' by John Rutter.

The City of London Choir make a beautiful sound - this is a cd well worth owning - and what a bargain too!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2009
I've been waiting for this CD to be released for a while now, and it doesn't disappoint. The choir delivers a beautiful homogenous sound, supported by some fantastic solo voices. The pieces are well-selected, with a nice range, and the Finzi's In Terra Pax of the title is truly stunning. Well worth the very small price tag!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2012
If it's not a consensus that the Brits are the best at playing and arranging Christmas carols, it should be. This disc features some of England's greatest composers' own arrangements and original compositions, all of which are undeniable charming and festive. In almost every case, the music is so good that I'm amazed at how little attention it has received, particularly in the case of the Vaughan Williams and Finzi. The harmonic texture of these composers fits in perfectly with the music, adding lots of interests to the carols.

Opening the disc is Holst's "Christmas Day" which uses such "Good Christian Men Rejoice" and "God Rest You Merry Gentleman". Holst succeeds in adding a symphonic element to his arrangement without taking away from the festivity of the carols--he adds to it, in fact. (Yes, Holst didn't just write the Planets!)

Finzi's "In Terra Pax" is in a category all of its own, as it is all original to Finzi. A talented man who sadly died rather young, he as a style all his own, wandering and nostalgic. This Christmas scene is one of the best compositions I've heard from him (he didn't write that many). It's not as directly festive in nature as most of the other works on this disc, but it is wonderful all the same. Certainly it is the most dramatic work on this disc; the description of the angels greeting the shepherds captures the terror that the shepherds must have felt. But most gripping are the moments when Finzi lets his lyrical side take over. The music sinks deep into your soul.

Warlock's "3 Carols" are delightful arrangements, very catchy. Unlike Finzi, Warlock is about as festive as you can get, incorporating elements of pure fun. It's tough to resist indulging in such joyful music.

Vaughan Williams' "Folksongs of Winter" may very well be the greatest work on the whole disc. No one else can arrange carols as naturally as he can. He sticks some of his own original material in, and it blends so well with the traditional tunes that you can almost forget which it is. Vaughan Williams manages to be bright and cheery while still keeping his famous pastoral quality, something that seems to come effortlessly for him. In any event, this set is worth the price of the whole disc.

The Bournemouth Symphony under Hilary Davan Wetton performs all the works wonderfully. Naxos' sound quality is great.

In closing, this is a wonderful disc that you should grab if you want to explore a more "Classical" Christmas. I've certainly been very impressed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2009
Listened to this CD for the first time last night - it's a fine collection of slightly lesser known Christmas music, beautifully sung by the City of London Choir. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2010
These beautiful pieces transcend their subject matter and have a universal appeal. All composed in the 20th century, there are delightful works by Holst and Vaughan Williams bookending the collection, which includes items by Howells, Warlock and Rutter, in great style, but the crowning glory here is Finzi's In Terra Pax, which I'd never heard before and haven't been able to stop playing since last Xmas. Its hushed opening, with quiet pealing bells, sets the scene for the baritone's entry, "A frosty Christmas Eve when the stars were shining....." Roderick Williams sings these words clearly and raptly, and is totally at one with this lovely music. His is one of the most beautiful voices I've heard, and it's worth the modest price of this CD on its own. This is not to diminish in any way the contributions from everyone else, which are outstanding. Julia Doyle is radiant, the choir sing like a band of angels, and the conductor and orchestra provide exquisite support. It's hard to imagine any of these interpretations being bettered. It's glorious. Don't hesitate!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2009
In Terra Pax (Christmas Music By Holst/ Finzi/ Howells/ Leighton/ Rutter/ Vw-Sc)

Loved listening to this CD. Excellent production and sound quality. The CD would make a great Christmas present.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A superb Christmas CD, a classical collection that appeals to everyone. I particularly liked the title piece, beautiful nuances between the soloists, orchestra and choir.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2010
This compilation of 'old' words set to modern 'classical' music works very well and the result is a very enjoyable disc with a Christmas theme.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2010
Heard one item on Classic FM and downloaded the album to hear the rest. Excellent Christmas music brilliantly and enthusiastically sung.
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