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In Terra Pax – A Christmas Anthology Now Available

November 19, 2009

In Terra Pax – A Christmas Anthology
Music by Holst, Joubert, Mathias, Howells
Finzi, Warlock, Leighton, Rutter
Gardner & Vaughan Williams

Julia Doyle (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone)
City of London Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Hilary Davan Wetton, conductor


Performances of carols both ancient and modern have become central to the celebration of Christmas. The choral music on this disc includes Holst’s surprisingly neglected Christmas Day, as well as music by Leighton, Joubert, Mathias, Gardner and Rutter. The nostalgic mood of Howells’s evergreen carol-anthems is echoed in Finzi’s In terra pax, which recalls the pealing of bells at midnight on a frosty Christmas Eve. The City of London Choir, which enjoys an enviable reputation as a ‘leader among nonprofessional choruses’ (The Times), makes its Naxos début with this delightful recording.

‘Sit back and enjoy a gentle and genial Christmas as seen through the eyes of ten 20th century British composers, and at the same time greet rediscovered choral jewels. It was my task for many years to organise one of the festive season’s major events, and Finzi’s In terra pax became one of my favourite pieces, while I could rely on William Mathias’s jazzy Sir Christemas to get the audience into festive mood. Sadly I missed out on Gustav Holst’s Christmas Day, a engaging medley of popular seasonal melodies that I never encountered. The Finzi together with Winter from Vaughan Williams’s Folk songs of the Four Seasons takes up almost half the disc, both happily performed by the City of London Choir and Bournemouth orchestra. Between we have a series of ‘lollypops’, the best known coming from John Gardner with the catchy Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, and the highly fashionable John Rutter with What sweeter music. In our yesteryears Peter Warlock’s Three Carols were  much enjoyed, and here features the soprano, Julia Doyle, a singer with one of the most ravishing voices to have recently emerged. Kenneth Leighton’s A hymn of the Nativity reminds us that we are celebrating the birth of someone very special to Christianity, Doyle’s voice again soaring effortlessly on high. Seventeen tracks, seventy minutes music, budget price—a treat in store.’
– David Denton, David’s Review Corner, November 2009


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