Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Exquisite and varied
David A. Beamer | Clawson, MI United States | 11/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, to get the administrative stuff out of the way: the CD I'm reviewing is the 1984 DG original. I will assume that it is the same as the 1990 Polygram release, since much of Polygram's library is recycled DG. With that our the the way...This is a marvelous CD, mostly for two reasons. One, it's the choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by Simon Preston. What else can you say? If you expect anything less than perfection, you're going to be disappointed. There's hardly a flaw to be found anywhere.Second, there are a number of cuts here you won't find anywhere else. Preston included only a half-dozen "chestnuts", and still found a lot of very interesting music. I have over 40 choral Christmas CDs, and at least 6 of the 20 cuts here do not exist anywhere else in my library. There is a smattering of interesting things from the Renaissance and Baroque to the late 20th century. Of the 20th century items, a few deserve special attention: Gardner's "Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day" is a charming little setting (to a new tune), which keeps changing time signatures on you -- a "free" dance, if you will. Wishart's "Alleluya, A New Work" is destined to become a classic. And "Up! Good Christen Folk" is already becoming a staple. And you won't find a better reading of "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" anywhere on the planet. (Although I've always been puzzled as to why that carol has been tacked on to Christmas -- Poston's poem is not related at all...) A couple of the other modern selections are a little on the dissonant side.And the performances -- Wow. With the exception of a couple of minor bobbles in the trebles (the boy sopranos), the singing is absolutely perfect. So is the conducting. EVERY choir director who wants to do the old Charles Wood version of "Ding dong Merrily" MUST listen to this performance. It shows you how to get the phrasing *just right*, especially the tricky final note in the first 2 phrases of each verse.So if you're looking for some different music for the holidays, and don't mind getting the finest English-choir-tradition singing available, then you should give this one a try."