Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens - Christmas From Wells

Published Monday 1st October 2007
Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens - Christmas From Wells
Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens - Christmas From Wells

STYLE: Choral
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Regent REGCD260

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Whatever we are look for in a Christmas CD can be found here. The singing is first rate with the Girl Choristers and Vicars Choral being featured. There has been a choir at Wells Cathedral since 909 but the girls joined only in 1994 so perhaps it is only fair that they get this chance to catch up. They sing on all the pieces bar one which is a rousing organ finale by the American composer Garth Edmundson and played with panache by David Bednall. In 11 of the 16 songs the girls sing with the gentlemen of the choir, known in Wells as the Vicars Choral, and in five other pieces we have the Great Choir of boys, girls and men. And yes, they do sound great helped by the crystal clear acoustic from producer/engineer Gary Cole. The repertoire has been well chosen. We get two premiere recordings: "The Lord Of All" by Robin Walker and "Antiphon To Mary" by Basil Athanasiadis, both working within their own musical traditions and both worth hearing. John Rutter gets most composer credits with four ("Mary's Lullaby", "Wild Wood Carol", "Christmas Lullaby", and "Shepherd's Pipe Carol") as well as an arrangement of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas". We get spiritual contemplation with Morten Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium" and Sergei Rachmaninov's spine-tingling "Bogorodiste Devo" as well as the sentimental side of the season with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". This is a thoroughly enjoyable collection, beautifully performed and very well presented.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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