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A Ceremony of Carols

Oxford Choir of The Queen's College, Owen Rees, Laurence John, Lucy Wakeford, Luke Wakeford

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1.1
Drop down, ye heavens, from above
Judith Weir; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
1:49
1.2
Es is ein Ros entsprungen
Michael Praetorius; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
2:31
1.3
Lo, how a Rose e er blooming
David Blackwell; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
3:42
1.4
Resonet in laudibus
Michael Praetorius; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Laurence John
3:15
1.5
The Three Kings
Jonathan Dove; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
4:30
A Ceremony of Carols  
1.6
I. Procession
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
1:27
1.7
II. Wolcum Yole!
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Luke Wakeford
1:25
1.8
III. There is no rose
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
2:28
1.9
IVa. That yongë child
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
1:49
1.10
IVb. Balulalow
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
1:26
1.11
V. As dew in Aprille
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
1:00
1.12
VI. This little babe
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
1:27
1.13
VII. Interlude
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
4:10
1.14
VIII. In freezing winter night
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
4:06
1.15
IX. Spring Carol
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
1:04
1.16
X. Deo gracias
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees; Lucy Wakeford
1:05
1.17
XI. Recession
Benjamin Britten; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
1:48
1.18
In dulci jubilo
Michael Praetorius; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Laurence John; Owen Rees
2:54
1.19
Good-will to men, and peace on Earth
Dobrinka Tabakova; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
2:27
1.20
O virga ac diadema
Hildegard von Bingen; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
5:18
1.21
Geborn ist Gottes Söhnelein
Michael Praetorius; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
1:00
1.22
The Owl
Toby Young; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
1:54
1.23
Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Cecilia McDowall; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
1:21
1.24
Now may we singen
Michael Praetorius; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
3:15
1.25
Puer natus in Bethlehem
Michael Praetorius; Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford; Owen Rees
5:17
Total Playing Time    62:28
The juxtaposition of old and new which lies at the heart of much Christmas music lends this recording by the mixed-voice Choir of The Queen’s College Oxford its theme. The repertoire ranges in period from Hildegard of Bingen to pieces composed during the last few years. The central work – Britten’s "A Ceremony of Carols" – vividly encapsulates the intersection of ancient and modern, setting medieval and Renaissance texts, and drawing on plainchant as musical inspiration, while – in its series of fresh, vivid, and sharply-etched miniatures – eschewing the sentimentality which had become attached to Christmas and its music.

Three centuries earlier, such combinations of old and new were just as apparent in the vast Christmas output of Michael Praetorius, the principal Lutheran composer of his age. Through works ranging from dramatic double-choir settings to the simplest harmonizations of chorales, this recording explores Praetorius as transmitter of older Christmas texts and and melodies. The links between Praetorius’s time and ours are represented in the pairing of Praetorius’s "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" and David Blackwell’s exquisite reimagining of the same carol, Lo how a rose e’er blooming. An Advent chant forms the basis of Judith Weir’s haunting "Look down ye heavens from above" which opens the recording, while Cecilia McDowall’s "Now may we singen" perfectly captures the exuberance of its medieval text and Jonathan Dove’s "The Three Kings" evokes the strangeness of Dorothy L. Sayers’s transformation of the story of the Magi.
96 kHz / 24-bit PCM – Signum Records Studio Masters

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