STYLE: Orchestral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 19895- LABEL: Naxos 8550751 FORMAT: CD Album
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.
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