The Kings Chamber Orchestra - Christmas String Heaven
STYLE: Orchestral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 82803-15931 LABEL: Kingsway Music KMCD3071 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2009-10-09 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Instrumental Christmas albums seldom make for the most exciting listening but, on the whole, this set from the increasingly popular British ensemble is a pleasant selection of seasonal material which would sound pretty good as an accompaniment to that turkey lunch. As well as the usual suspects ("O Come All Ye Faithful", "Ding Dong Merrily On High" and "O Little Town Of Bethlehem") the orchestra takes in contemporary material from the likes of Chris Rice and Graham Kendrick. There is also a version of "O Little Town" by James Horsfall (who, the sleeve note helpfully tells us lives on the island of Jersey). If truth be told there are better chamber orchestras than Kings making CDs at the moment and once or twice the interplay between the violins and the celli is a tad ragged. But with the heartening desire of the orchestra's director Gererd le Feuvre to lift up Jesus' name, and the warm ambience these seasonal renditions often convey, 'Christmas String Heaven' would make a very acceptable stocking filler.
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Directed and produced by Gerard Le Feuvre, this is a remarkable recording; part classic Christmas hymns, part contemporary worship, part luscious scores, part improvised arrangements. But running throughout are the trademark King’s Chamber Orchestra traits of integrity, intimacy and incredible power.
After 25 years as both a professional London chamber orchestra and a Christian community – and having performed over 300 Christmas concerts in that time – the King’s Chamber Orchestra is ideally placed to produce the sort of album that reaches out across boundaries and connects with a wide audience.
Classics like ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ and ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’ sit beside reworked worship faithfuls like ‘Isn’t He Beautiful’ and ‘Pastoral’ from Handel’s Messiah.