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Britten: A Ceremony Of Carols (Saint Nicolas)

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Holst Singers, Temple Church Choristers, Allan Clayton, Sally Pryce
  • Orchestra: City of London Sinfonia
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B008R3JM74
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,920 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 Procession with SALLY PRYCE harp [1'27]
  2. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 Wolcum Yole! with SALLY PRYCE harp [1'24]
  3. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 There is no rose with SALLY PRYCE harp [2'30]
  4. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 That yongë child with SALLY PRYCE harp [1'56]
  5. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 Balulalow with SALLY PRYCE harp [1'20]
  6. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 As dew in Aprille with SALLY PRYCE harp [0'56]
  7. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 This little babe with SALLY PRYCE harp [1'25]
  8. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 Interlude with SALLY PRYCE harp [4'23]
  9. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 In freezing winter night with SALLY PRYCE harp [4'04]
  10. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 Spring Carol with SALLY PRYCE harp [1'06]
  11. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 Deo gracias with SALLY PRYCE harp [1'04]
  12. A Ceremony of Carols Op 28 Recession with SALLY PRYCE harp [2'33]
  13. Saint Nicolas Op 42 Introduction with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [5'37]
  14. Saint Nicolas Op 42 The birth of Nicolas with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [2'38]
  15. Saint Nicolas Op 42 Nicolas devotes himself to God with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [4'46]
  16. Saint Nicolas Op 42 He journeys to Palestine with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [7'57]
  17. Saint Nicolas Op 42 Nicolas comes to Myra and is chosen Bishop with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [6'47]
  18. Saint Nicolas Op 42 Nicolas from Prison with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [2'53]
  19. Saint Nicolas Op 42 Nicolas and the pickled boys with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [6'42]
  20. Saint Nicolas Op 42 His piety and marvellous works with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [5'29]
  21. Saint Nicolas Op 42 The death of Nicolas with ALLAN CLAYTON tenor [6'20]

Product Description

Product Description

2013 sees the centenary of Benjamin Brittens birth and Hyperion starts celebrating early with this disc of two of the composers most popular choral works, both with a Christmas relevance. The cantata Saint Nicolas tells the story of the original Santa Claus, a fourth-century saint whose actsrevitalizing three boys who had been pickled by an unscrupulous landlord being among the more dramaticled to his canonization as patron saint of children and sailors. Brittens lively setting is distinctly operatic, full of incident and colourwith the story brought home through the use of congregational hymns. The part of Nicolas (here sung magnificently by Allan Clayton, already acclaimed as the heir to Peter Pears and Anthony Rolfe Johnson) is one of Brittens great heroic tenor roles. A Ceremony of Carols is a setting for treble voices and harp of some of the medieval texts which Britten loved so much, and is heard every Christmas in cathedrals, churches and concert halls throughout the land. This fresh, sparkling performance completes a thoroughly festive release.

Review

The Performance is a fine one. --IRR, Nov'12

This is a beautiful and deeply affecting recording. --Gramophone, Christmas'12

…a welcome recording of this well-loved work. Performance ***(*) Recording ***(*) --BBC Music Magazine, Jan'13

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Stephen Layton's new disc couldn't be better timed. Not only does it steal a march on other Britten centenary releases - featuring two of the composer's most popular works - but it comes fresh after his and the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge's success at this year's Gramophone Awards. The choir's upper voices provide a wonderfully virile Ceremony of Carols, after which the full complement, joined by the Holst Singers and the Boys of the Temple Church Choir (accompanied by the City of London Sinfonia) delivers an equally fresh Saint Nicolas.

The assumption that A Ceremony of Carols was written for boys' voices galvanised when the revised version was premiered by the Morriston Boys' Choir at Wigmore Hall in 1943 (with Britten's own recording with the Copenhagen Boys' Choir coming a decade later). Since then it has been a boys' repertoire staple, with that eerie unbroken sound providing a rich parallel for its medieval poetry. Here, however, Layton returns to a female lineup, as at the original version's premiere in 1942.

Trinity's sopranos and altos (recorded at the college in 2007) have nonetheless adopted an edgy boy-like attack for their performance. Consonants are suitably clipped though, unlike their male counterparts, the effect can be a little on the prim side. There is much superb singing here, however, with every dynamic underlined. Both Zoë Brown's whispered 'That yongë child' and Sally Pryce's harp accompaniment provide more spectral tones, captured superbly by the Hyperion engineers.

No less colourful is Britten's 1948 cantata Saint Nicolas. Chorally, this is superb all round, with Layton's attention to detail reaping rich rewards from an idiomatic score.
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This is a really fine recording of two of Britten's most enjoyable pieces. I heard the Choir of Trinity sing the Ceremony of Carols in the College Chapel, which was wonderful, and the recording brings it brilliantly to life again for me.
I've sung St Nicolas in Winchester with David Hill; Stephen Layton's performance is beautifully sung and brings back happy memories.
An absolutely superb CD.
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This is a modern and hauntingly evocative version of Britten's woefully undervalued and seminal work; my wife was extremely pleased to receive this as an early Christmas gift. The quality of harmonies and the wonderfully peaceful harp playing appeals to the reverie of the listener and makes this a must to wake up to every Christmas morning! Furthermore, its delights should not be held over until Yuletide, but rather listened to with fondness at any time of the year!
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My association with Britten's music goes back (a VERY long way) to my schooldays when we took the children's broadcasts at secondary school and I first hear the Serenade. Reviews of this new recording were good and it was time to include it in my library - the other recording I have is on a cassette from many years ago. Another treasure.

UNFORTUNATELY I am unable to be so complimentaty to Amazon who had offered me a free trial of their prime delivery option. I thought go for it ... only to find that instead of next day (which was a Saturday) the item arrived on the following Tuesday - NOT good enough. Needless to say I have abandoned the prime option ... I am not so desperate for items.
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Bought this CD to help me along as I am in a community choir and and will be performing in the Cantata. Just the help I needed! The rest of the CD is also beautifully sung.
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The clarity of the words is the best I have come across. The singing was not drowned out by the accompaniment, as so often happens,, even during the processional. A pleasure to listen to.
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