Music for Christmas

Lux de caelo: Music for Christmas

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: A boy was born
WILLIAM MATHIAS: A babe is born
FELIX MENDELSSOHN: Frohlocket ihr Völker auf Erden
TRAD. arr. RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: The Truth from above
TRAD. arr. EDGAR PETTMAN: Gabriel’s Message
MICHAEL PRAETORIUS: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
MICHAEL PRAETORIUS: Quem pastores laudavere
ANON. harm. MICHAEL PRAETORIUS: Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen
MICHAEL PRAETORIUS: In dulci jubilo a 8
GILES SWAYNE: Coventry Carol*
JOHN TAVENER: A Hymn to the Mother of God
GRAHAM ROSS: Lullay, my liking*
TRAD. arr. NOAH GREENBERG: Ríu, ríu, chíu
TRAD. arr. GRAHAM ROSS: Tu scendi dalle stelle*
TRAD. arr. GRAHAM ROSS: Still, still, still*
TRAD. arr. DAVID WILLCOCKS: Quelle est cette odeur agréable?
JOHN RUTTER: Nativity Carol

* world première recordings

Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
The Dmitri Ensemble
David Miller | lute
Graham Ross | conductor

Harmonia Mundi HMU907615

WXQR (New York Public Radio) Album of the Week
Netherlands Classical Radio 4 Album of the Week
UK Specialist Classical Charts Top 10

“These students seem undaunted by difficulties. Throughout this programme the Clare College choir sings superbly, demonstrating again that they are one of the finest Oxbridge choirs.  The contributions of the Dmitri Ensemble are similarly excellent.  This is a collection of Christmas music that dares to be different.  I … found the disc absorbing and the musicianship is consistently excellent”. John Quinn, MusicWeb International

“The singing is first rate”. David Vernier, Classics Today

“The wonderful mixed-voice Choir of Clare College, Cambridge’s new Christmas disc … strikes a great balance between the familiar (all beautifully sung by the clear-voiced sopranos and full but never precocious lower voices) and the unexpected (when did you last see works from the Second Viennese school crop up on a Christmas CD?!).  There are also some beautiful arrangements of folk-carols from Austria, England and Italy by the Choir’s young director Graham Ross.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical

“This is a very fine successor to earlier Harmonia Mundi recordings from Clare directed by Graham Ross. … [Tavener’s] ‘Hymn to the Mother of God’ has now clocked up 26 recordings; I haven’t heard them all but Graham Ross and his forces capture the timeless quality of his music as well as any performers that I have heard”. Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International

Mendelssohn ‘Frohlocket’ is first rate, full of warm Romantic harmonies but also the dynamism of storytelling. … The Dmitri Ensemble … sparkle all over Mathias’s ‘A babe is born’ and the Willcocks and Rutter numbers at the end of the disc.  Great, also, are the twentieth century works.  … Most surprising of all, however, is the final juxtaposition of Rutter and Schoenberg.  If it sounds crazy then it works brilliantly; in fact, the Schoenberg is a great way to round off the disc, bringing out the composer’s more approachable side without diluting all that made him such a revolutionary”. Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International

“This is no usual season offering. … The Schoenberg at the end is radiant”. * * * * Richard Fairman, Financial Times

 “One of best discs of the season”. Andrew MacGregor, BBC Radio 3 CD Review

“There’s a certain festive chutzpah to Clare College’s latest disc, which manages not only to embrace both Rutter and Schoenberg but programmes them right next to each other as well.  Graham Ross pulls off this unlikely feat with aplomb, adding some Webern, Praetorius, Mendelssohn and Britten in there too for good measure.  Singing-wise, this might just be the best disc of the year.  These young voices are game for anything, impeccably drilled and musically sensitive.”  Sinfoni Music, Top 10 Christmas Albums 

full, lush … the variety of music and the nuanced readings of these oft-times difficult pieces make for an enthralling seasonal experience, sung with passion and warmth.” * * * * John Henry, Audiophile Audition

“Matthias’s ‘A Babe is Born’ typifies the choir’s nimble alacrity, crisply accompanied by The Dmitri Ensemble. … Bravely, the CD ends with Schoenberg’s ‘Friede auf Erden’, preceded by Rutter’s ‘Nativity Carol’, possibly the first juxtaposition of these two composers on record.” Performance * * * * Recording * * * * Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine

“This is one of a group of releases by long-established British collegiate and cathedral choirs to update their repertory a bit in the venerable medium of the Christmas album, and it may be the best of the bunch.  Ross’ segues are novel and even startling, but the pieces are linked together convincingly. … The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge … has a clear, appealing sound, and the small Dmitri Ensemble is of a piece with the singers.  A major winner in the British holiday album genre.” James Manheim, All Music

“Superb singing of both choir and soloists.” * * * * * * * * Steven Whitehead, Cross Rhythms Direct