A Renaissance Christmas

A Renaissance Christmas

by The Sixteen


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Apart from The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection of 2015 and Song of the Nativity of 2016, Harry Christophers and the Sixteen tend to avoid standard issues of modern Christmas music, and instead focus on material that is off the well-worn path yet equally festive and reverent. A Renaissance Christmas offers a satisfying program that celebrates the season with glorious works by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Jacob Handl, Johannes Eccard, George Kirbye, Orlande de Lassus, Thomas Tallis, Richard Dering, William Byrd, Tomás Luis de Victoria, John Sheppard, Francisco Guerrero, and Peter Philips, along with the chants "Veni, veni Emmanuel" and "Crudelis Herodes," all devoted to the subject of the Nativity, though most are unlikely to be familiar to any but specialists in choral works of the 15th and 16th centuries. Yet this is not an academic exercise or a collection of rarities for collectors. Connoisseurs and casual listeners alike may notice that the jaunty melody of the opening track, "Resonemus laudibus," appears as a unifying theme, recurring in pieces by Eccard, Handl, and Lassus, and this catchy Christmas song from the 14th century deserves the revival. The Sixteen deliver these works with exquisite tone and polished diction, performing to their expected high standards and creating a memorable impression with this refreshing album. Recorded in the Church of St. Augustine's, Kilburn, London, Coro's sound is quite clear in the resonant acoustics, and the singers have a warm and vibrant presence.

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