A Bountiful Gift of Britten's Choral Works
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Grateful we should be to ASV Living Era label for re-releasing this 1982 recording of what must be the finest performance of Benjamin Britten's A CEREMONY OF CAROLS on record. As performed by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford under the direction of Francis Grier this delicate, otherworldly and penultimately Christmas work is sung by boys with the fine harp accompaniment by Frances Kelly. The ambience of the cathedral is captured in great beauty and the work, a model of simplicity and innocent devotion, is sung with exquisite sound and enunciation. The solos are by Edward Harris, Mark Slater, and Andrew Olleson and remind us of why this work was written for children's voices and not the women's choruses who try to imitate the beauty of prepuberal sound!
Included on this CD are Britten's rarely heard but very evocative TE DEUM in C major, HYMN TO ST. PETER, HYMN TO THE VIRGIN, and the ever-popular HYMN TO ST. CECILIA. The Organ accompaniment is in the capable hands (and feet) of Harry Bickett. Each of the works on the recording is superb and as a collection they are unbeatable, especially at the extremely low cost!
As the holidays approach there can be no more subtle way to greet them than with this recording of A CEREMONY OF CAROLS, breaking the usual routine of music that abounds. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 06"