Album Review

Posted: Friday 7th December 2007
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Noël Nouvelet – Muso

One of the best amateur chamber choirs in the country, the Vasari Singers are renowned for their Christmas performances. But they are also known for their love of new music, and here, alongside some lesser-known favourites in new arrangements, are five world premiere recordings.

As conductor Jeremy Backhouse says, the choir has ‘ dressed up the traditional in new clothes’, paying tribute to modern classics such as Coventry carol and Tomorrow shall be my dancing day. It also celebrates the new with Jonathan Rathbone’s scrunchy Corpus christi carol and Humphrey Clucas’s Victorian-esque Love came down at Christmas.

There’s plenty of fun too, with a rousing rendition of Mel Torme’s Christmas song arranged by Ward Swingle, which really suits the choir’s delicate soprano section. Malcom Sargent’s arrangement of Hawaiian lullay is also here, adding to a really eclectic collection.

Occasionally there’s no mistaking that the choir is an amateur one, with the odd bit of dodgy tuning here and there, and a few raggedy entries. But the joy and vigour with which they sing and the innovativeness of these arrangement make this a welcome addition to any Christmas CD list.

Hazel Davis