"Christmas carol CDs are soooo hard to pick. They schlop it up with too many opera stars whom you love but don't think of as Christmassy, swirl your favorites into pop tunes which have their own place but aren't all you want, or just plain plump for the most arcane medieval carols in place of the ones you sang from house to house as a child in the snow. This is the CD you want. It has all the best carols and they are beautifully orchestrated and sung. Buy this and you have the one CD you really need for Christmas; then you can toss in those pop versions and opera stars as suits."
Fine old carols from the English tradition, well recorded
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album has many of the best traits of high English culture -- understatement, reverence, a sense of history -- and yet little of the stuffiness. It's wonderful, warm holiday music, neither sentimental nor solemn. It works very well as background to holiday gatherings, yet rewards close listening, too. I'm no musician but I agree with my friends who are: the Royal College of Music sings these fine old carols as well as anyone. The recording quality is excellent, too. This music is not vibrant, toe-tapping, or modern, but I can't think of anything I'd rather listen to after a big holiday dinner, appreciating the peace of the season. I especially recommend you go outside on a December night with this on headphones and crunch around in the snow. You might believe you're in a Dylan Thomas story. You might want to move to 18th-century England. You certainly won't be sorry you bought the CD."
A Good Christmas Carol Recital
A. Craig | Grand Junction,CO | 08/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording of Christmas Carols conducted by Sir David Willcocks is a refreshing alternative to all those sugary, syrupy, or pop arraingments of these carols. There is nothing of the "elevator music" element here just simply arrainged, well perfomed carols done the way it would be at home during the Christmas season, one can even sing along without too much trouble. For those looking for a good set of carols to enjoy during the season this is a good set to start with."
My favorite Christmas album of all time
D. Cusick | Glen Ridge, NJ USA | 10/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would give almost anything to be able to find a copy of this CD set! Some 20+ years ago I purchased a copy of this recording on audio cassette in the Museum Gift Shop at the Met in NYC. From the first time I listened I was captivated. This is the way Christmas music should be - pure choral sound, simple a capella arrangments, or with piano, organ, and some brass. No big, schmaltzy sound which so many Christmas albums have, and which I hate. Over the years one cassette broke and the other vanished. I have never been able to find this on CD. Over the years I've bought lots of available albums - Robert Shaw, John Rutter, etc. hoping to find one I'm as happy with, but never with any luck. I have many I enjoy, but none I've ever loved as whole-heartedly as this 2-volume set. I wish like anything they would reissue it. It breaks my heart every Christmas that I no longer have this music to play. Just listening to the tiny samples on the amazon web site makes me yearn so for the real thing."
A Nearly Perfect (Double) CD Of Christmas Music
D. Cusick | 09/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For years I have searched for Christmas vocal music that would be timeless, straightforward, traditional, and musically high quality. This is the best I have found. It is a huge collection, and it is very, very good. It seems that virtually everyone who makes a Christmas album wants to do something different from "the way it's always been done." Unfortunately, that means virtually no one is doing it "the way it's always been done." This double CD, thank God, is a wonderful exception. Another reviewer complained about the pacing, and on first listening to it I could hear what she or he meant. But by the time I even began to listen to it a second time I was surprised to realize that I no longer noticed that perceived "sameness" of pacing. In fact, I began to realize that the pacing actually varies quite a bit. I think the feeling of "sameness" is more due to all the songs being sung by the same singers, with similar arrangements; but once I even began to get familiar with the CD, that was no longer a minus, and now it appears to be turning into a plus. This double CD is a treasure to me. I really hope they start making more copies again, and soon. I want to buy them for friends and family."