CHRISTMAS FROM TEWKESBURY - Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum - Carleton Etherington (Organ) - Simon Bell (Director) - 802561044024 - Released: December 2014 - Regent REGCD440

1} Adam lay ybounden - Philip Ledger
2} Nova! nova! - Bob Chilcott
3} A babe is born - William Mathias
4} The night he was born - Bob Chilcott
5} O little town of Bethlehem - English traditional, arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Thomas Armstrong
6} Into a quiet world - Philip Moore
7} Ding dong! merrily on high - 16th century French, arranged by Mack Wilberg
8} Away in a manger - William Kirkpatrick, arranged by David Hill
9} Noël huron (from Deux Noëls) - Denis Bédard
10} Benedicamus Domino - Peter Warlock
11} Tomorrow shall be my dancing day - John Gardner
12} Bethlehem Down - Peter Warlock
13} No small wonder - Paul Edwards
14} O come, all ye faithful - J. Wade, arranged by David Willcocks
15} I saw three ships - English traditional, arranged by Richard Lloyd
16} In excelsis Gloria - Joseph Cullen
17} This is the truth sent from above - English traditional, arranged by Philip Moore
18} Candlelight Carol - John Rutter
19} Verbum caro factum est - Thomas Hewitt Jones
20} Hark! the herald-angels sing - Felix Mendelssohn, arranged by David Willcocks
21} Toccata on "Il est né le divin enfant" - Denis Bédard

One of the aspects of Christmas that I cherish the most and notice year after year, is that inexplicable sense of stillness, hush and peace on Christmas Day itself. And it's not just because the hustle and bustle in preparation for the holiday is over and done with. It's as if a state of bliss and beatitude has settled all over creation. And this is exactly what this new Regent recording conveys best. And oddly enough, two of the best examples of this are pieces that were recently commissioned expressly for the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum. The night he was born by Bob Chilcott and in particular Into a quiet world by Philip Moore in which both the text and the music vividly evoke a feeling of all-encompassing peace. And it's not only the singing by the choir that achieves this. Organist Carleton Etherington's expressive playing during the final variation on Noël huron (Huron Carol) will wrap you in a warm and comforting Christmas quilt.

At the other end of the spectrum, both the choristers and organist well project a feeling of fun and joy in this première recording of Verbum caro factum est by Thomas Hewitt Jones, and produce all the power they can summon in Hark! the herald-angels sing. The CD ends with a rousing performance of the Toccata on "Il est né le divin enfant" in which Carleton Etherington displays his technical abilities along with this pipe organ's versatility and power.

Those of you who believe that one or two Christmas CDs are enough, should know that this new recording fully justifies adding one more to your collection.

Jean-Yves Duperron - December 2014