A Ceremony of Carols: new album from Queen’s Choir
The Choir of The Queen’s College, directed by Owen Rees, releases a collection of Christmas music, spanning over 900 years, this Friday on the Signum label.
A Ceremony of Carols is centred around Britten’s work of the same name, a work which encapsulates the intersection of ancient and modern which is at the heart of much Christmas music, and which lends this recording its theme. Framing Britten’s Ceremony are works that alternate between the early 17th century – by the prolific composer and arranger of Lutheran Christmas music, Michael Praetorius – and the present: music by Judith Weir (1984), David Blackwell (2011), Jonathan Dove (2000), Dobrinka Tabakova (2018), Toby Young (2017), and Cecilia McDowall (2007). At one point the pattern is paused to look back half a millennium further than Praetorius, with Hildegard of Bingen’s O virga ac diadema.
Choir member Rory Booth (bass; Classics, 2016) said: ‘This disc ought to make a refreshing addition to any tired Christmas playlist, with the more traditional Praetorius pieces sensitively accented by contemporary works; keep an ear out for the folk influences and a rather delightful owl flying around in the middle of it all.’
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