Britten: A Ceremony of Carols

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
If you've been attracted to Benjamin Britten's music by the film Moonrise Kingdom, this album makes an exceptionally good place to start getting to know more of his music: it features two of the composer's best-loved works, both on Christmas themes and both written at a modest level of virtuosity like that of the little oratorio "Noye's Fludde," featured in the film. If you didn't come to the album via that route, it's still a strong presentation of some Britten favorites. "A Ceremony of Carols," written in 1942 as Britten returned to Britain from the U.S., is a brilliantly innocent setting of some old English texts for three-part high chorus, soloists, and harp. Ideally ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
If you've been attracted to Benjamin Britten's music by the film Moonrise Kingdom, this album makes an exceptionally good place to start getting to know more of his music: it features two of the composer's best-loved works, both on Christmas themes and both written at a modest level of virtuosity like that of the little oratorio "Noye's Fludde," featured in the film. If you didn't come to the album via that route, it's still a strong presentation of some Britten favorites. "A Ceremony of Carols," written in 1942 as Britten returned to Britain from the U.S., is a brilliantly innocent setting of some old English texts for three-part high chorus, soloists, and harp. Ideally suited for boys' voices, it works equally well, and indeed was originally conceived for a choir of women as it is done here. Even though Britten very soon got on board with the idea of boychoir performance, it's a pleasure to hear it this way. The work is paired with the Christmas cantata "Saint Nicolas, for tenor, chorus, four-hand piano, organ, strings, and percussion." Though a bit more operatic, the work seems akin in spirit to the "Ceremony of Lessons and Carols," and tenor Allan Clayton is a Britten singer in the classic bright mold. You may or may not like Hyperion's rather shiny English cathedral-choir sound as a general rule, but it's made for music like this, and conductor Stephen Layton is the right person for the job in assembling the varied forces needed to perform these works. A fine cornerstone Britten release.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/9/2012
  • Label: Hyperion Uk
  • UPC: 034571179469
  • Catalog Number: 67946
  • Sales rank: 315,038

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–12 A Ceremony of Carols, for treble voices (or chorus) & harp, Op. 28 - Benjamin Britten & William Cornysh (24:07)
    Composed byBenjamin Britten
    Conducted byStephen Layton
    Performed byTrinity College Choir, Cambridge, Stephen Layton, Zoë Brown, Katherine Watson
    1. 1Procession
    2. 2Wolcum Yole!
    3. 3There is no rose
    4. 4That youngë child
    5. 5Balulalow
    6. 6As dew in Aprille
    7. 7This little babe
    8. 8Interlude
    9. 9In freezing winter night
    10. 10Spring Carol
    11. 11Deo gracias
    12. 12Recession
  2. 13–21 Saint Nicholas, cantata for tenor, treble, choruses & orchestra, Op. 42 - Benjamin Britten & Trinity College Choir, Cambridge (49:09)
    Composed byBenjamin Britten
    Conducted byStephen Layton, Jeremy Cole
    Performed byTrinity College Choir, Cambridge, Holst Singers, Stephen Layton, James Vivian, City of London Sinfonia, Allan Clayton, Jeremy Cole
    1. 13Introduction
    2. 14The birth of Nicolas
    3. 15Nicolas devotes himself to God
    4. 16He journeys to Palestine
    5. 17Nicolas comes to Myra and is chosen Bishop
    6. 18Nicolas from Prison
    7. 19Nicolas and the pickled boys
    8. 20His piety and marvellous works
    9. 21The death of Nicolas
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Stephen Layton Primary Artist
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