Album Review

Posted: Saturday 8th December 2007
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Noël Nouvelet – International Record Review

The ‘Kyrie from Whitborn’s Missa Carolae is subtitled ‘Noël Nouvelet’, which means variously ‘new’, ‘novel’ or even ‘novelty’ – and this is the title of a new CO of Christmas carols, new and old, from Guild, sung by the Vasari Singers, conducted by Jeremy Backhouse, with organist Jeremy Filsell As with many of the COs in this round-up, the music chosen is far from conventional.

There are few traditional carols here, but my attention was fully held throughout – not least because of the superb singing. We know from many of this choir’s London concerts just what a good body of singers it is, but even so I was consistently impressed by the sheer quality of their artistry here – intonation, phrasing and enunciation are all of an exceptional standard. There is much modern music here – but none which will offend the genuine music lover. I was pleased to encounter Judith Weir’s II/uminare Jerusalem and Torme’s The Christmas Song in Ward Swingle’s arrangement. This outstanding disc ends with a dazzling a cappella version of

The Twelve Days off Christmas by Andrew Carter, which contains some delightful musical puns and jokes. This is a fabulous CD, brilliantly recorded.

International Record Review