Ralph Vaughan Williams: An Oxford Christmas

Album cover art for upc 5060158190508
Label: ALBION RECORDS
Catalog: ALBCD050
Format: COMPACT DISC

Hanley, Jonathan; Hill, Katy; Irving, Eloise; McPhee, Angus; Harper, Jenni; Minney, Eleanor; Horsewood, Adrian; Ryan, Joshua; Stoddart, Thomas; Castle, Tom; Vann, William; Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea; Beatty, Jonathan

This recording focusses on arrangements made by Vaughan Williams for The Oxford Book of Carols (1928), coupled with two later carols published by OUP. Many of the tunes are far from well-known and deserve a new audience. We think 10 of the 22 tracks are first recordings, but reserve the right to have overlooked one or two amidst the vast but very mixed heritage of recorded carols. The preface to The Oxford Book of Carols tells us that: ‘Variety in the method of singing is even more important than with hymns, and the verses should never be sung straight through all in the same way.’ In this spirit the choir’s director, William Vann, has prepared the carols for recording with a mixture of accompanied, unaccompanied and solo verses. Few of these carols are likely to have been undertaken by a congregation; this recording by a choir of distinguished professional singers presents the carols at their best, supported by the Henry Willis organ of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, in half of the carols.

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