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A Winter's Night
on 18 November 2012
At first sight this looks to be a fine collection of Christmas choral music with just the right balance of old favourites to the unfamiliar, it is all the more perplexing then when it doesn't quite hit the nail on the head!
We are offered timeless classics from the likes of Sweelinck, Howells, Gabrieli, Darke and Walford Davies, but for me it is those pieces by the living composers, Jonathan Rathbone, Bob Chilcott and Gabriel Jackson which leave the greatest impression. I don't know why this is, but to me the Vasari's almost sound as if they are on auto pilot when singing the well known works, I hate to use the term `run of the mill' but on occasion that is how their interpretation sounds, which is a shame because, in the modern pieces they sound truly engaged with the music, with their performance of Rathbone's Gabriel's Message being one of the highlights of the disc.
So, not an ideal Christmas disc, there is some fine singing here, but there is also some which lacks excitement, but I would buy this disc, if only to play the more modern pieces, but not the arrangement of Greg Lake's, yes he of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame, I Believe in Father Christmas, here I find Rathbone's arrangement does not add anything to the music!