Oxford Camerata - Medieval Carols

Wednesday 1st June 1994
Oxford Camerata - Medieval Carols

STYLE: Orchestral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Naxos 8550751

Reviewed by John Irvine

Yes I know Christmas was months ago, but the word 'carol' comes from the word 'carouse', to make merry. The medieval carol was song; usually religious, but one belonging more to the folk than the classical tradition. They were sung at all times of the year. Although some carols may have had a liturgical use, many were used in aristocratic homes or sung from door to door at feast days, a practice we still retain for the Christ Mass. Christmas carols were the most popular, and second to them were carols in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The lives of the saints, the victories or deaths of Kings, and Biblical passages all provided material for carols. This collection, with a generous playing time of 70 minutes, provides a very varied selection of carols drawing on various styles such as monophonic plain chant and early polyphony. Both the well known and the not so well known are included - you'll recognise "Gaudete" as a 1972 hit for Steeleye Span! Nothing later than the 15th century is included, thank goodness! The Oxford Camerata are pared down to a mere four voices here and they perform brilliantly. At £5 this collection is an absolute must. An enticing selection.

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.

Interested in reviewing music? Find out more here.

Be the first to comment on this article

We welcome your opinions but libellous and abusive comments are not allowed.

We are committed to protecting your privacy. By clicking 'Send comment' you consent to Cross Rhythms storing and processing your personal data. For more information about how we care for your data please see our privacy policy.