Noël Nouvelet – Cathedral Music
Well this CD certainly does what it says on the label – present a uniquely fresh mix of new and favourite Christmas carols. The excellent Vasari Singers open their Christmas programme with an a capella Mendelssohn motet where the ensemble is crisp and resonant. The sopranos and altos are on good form contributing much to this disc. Lauridsen’s powerful O magnum mysterium is one of those pieces that should be heard more often. In fact the repertoire on this disc has been carefully chosen. When assembling the programme around the word ‘Nouvelet’ it was interpreted in its broadest sense. So we have a traditional Christmas but with a fresh, modern twist. Of particular note is Hakim’s arrangement of Ding dong!. Other carols like Rathbone’s sumptuous arrangement of Silent night and the lush setting of Away in a manger immediately conjure up the feeling of Christmas so evocatively sung are they. The recital ends with Andrew Carter’s firmly tongue in cheek showpiece arrangement of The twelve days of Christmas. Listen out for all the different tunes cleverly woven into a composition to highlight the different subject of the verses. A thoroughly enjoyable collection of Christmas which will be enjoyed by anyone finding it in their stockings on Christmas day. Absolutely recommended.