Saint Patrick's Cathedral Choir, Stuart Nicholson - Christmas From Dublin

Published Sunday 1st December 2013
Saint Patrick's Cathedral Choir, Stuart Nicholson - Christmas From Dublin
Saint Patrick's Cathedral Choir, Stuart Nicholson - Christmas From Dublin

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Regent REGCD418

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

We open with a rousing brass fanfare to introduce "O Come All Ye Faithful" that sets the tone well for what is a splendid collection of Christmas music from the men and boys' choir of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. In addition to popular favourites there are new arrangements of "The Holly And The Ivy", the traditional Irish "Wexford Carol" and a haunting new carol for Epiphany "Star Of The East" from young composer - and member of the choir - Ernest Dines. Throughout the singing is first class as we would expect from the only choir school in Ireland. The brass accompaniment is used sparingly so as not to overwhelm the arrangements and the same is true of the organ, played by David Leigh. The conclusion is noteworthy, being "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in the unique version sung every Christmas in St Patrick's to the tune of Handel's "See, The Conqu'ring Hero Comes" from 'Judas Maccabeus'. This reminds us that in 1742 the combined choirs of St Patrick's and Christ Church Cathedrals gave the first performance of Handel's Messiah. But does it work? Most certainly yes, although I would not risk using this with the congregation in our carol service as the unexpected juxtaposition of well known tune and words would certainly catch many out but here, with a more than competent choir expertly directed by Stuart Nicholson, it is a grand conclusion to a most enjoyable disc.

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