Stunningly beautiful record (Christmas Story CD)
12.12.11, TIME OUT LONDON
The Christmas Story, Harmonia Mundi
This stunningly beautiful record is inspired by the famous Nine Lessons and Carols service. With some wonderful a cappella singing from the choral ensembles – garnished with occasional contributions from theorbo, guitar and organ – conductor Paul Hillier has compiled a collection of pieces (in the form of plainchant, motets and carols) to tell the Nativity story.
It’s also something of a world tour, for the music selections come from numerous areas of the globe. Whether of monastic solemnity, joyous outpouring or humble devotion, these 23 tracks each prove to be rather special in these dedicated performances. The disc, superbly recorded in its airy spaciousness and clarity, ends with a couple of old favourites – ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ and ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas.’ With the inclusion of an essay by Hillier, a Thomas
Hardy poem, all the sung texts, paintings and photographs, the presentation is exemplary.
- Colin Anderson, TIME OUT LONDON