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Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), December 2011

Best Christmas Recording of 2011

The Christmas net is cast wide in this captivating collection. John Fox has crafted a delightful “Carol Fantasia.” Bryan Kelly’s “Scrooge” is brought to life by esteemed actor Simon Callow, who also narrates Philip Lane’s “Another Night Before Christmas,” an update by Carol Ann Duffy of the classic poem. © 2011 WFMT (Chicago) See complete list

MusicWeb International, December 2011

Most of the music on this festively generous disc lies well within the boundaries of light music, and rightly so, many will consider. Adam Saunders’ Fairytale Sleighride, Angela Morley’s MGM-esque Snowride, even Philip Lane’s treacly arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Troika (from his piano suite The Seasons), all fall into this category, but each is well-crafted and likely to please those game for seasonal merriment.

The recording is very good, especially the RTÉ tracks. In sum, a good stocking-filler or cockle-warmer, and a lot more appealing than Christmas telly. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Minnesota Public Radio, December 2011

This collection of charming orchestral arrangements of familiar carols and hymns and new jolly melodies by British composers is just plain fun. The music on this disc is big and celebratory, sure to bring plenty of holiday cheer. © 2011 Minnesota Public Radio

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2011

I am rather like Scrooge when it comes to Christmas discs that are usually just commercial ‘humbug’—but this one I have really enjoyed. The main work, Brian Kelly’s Scrooge, was only premiered last year, but it is an outright winner. He has condensed Dickens’s story, A Christmas Carol, to just twenty minutes, but has totally captured the story’s essence as he clothes it in the most catchy tunes just begging to be enjoyed by the whole family. The disc sets out in the most happy fashion with John Fox’s Carol Fantasia, a highly pleasing pastiche on carols and hymns. Philip Lane adds a similar score of Old Christmas Music where he dresses some familiar tunes from the 16th to 20th centuries in orchestral garb. He also brings his own beautifully scored and pleasing work, Another Night Before Christmas. The adaptation of Liszt’s piano score, The Christmas Tree Suite, is the effective work of composer, Gordon Jacob, and among the remaining tracks I particularly enjoyed Matthew Curtis’s march, Christmas Rush. So a big thank you to Naxos for a very special and fresh-faced festive disc without a single hackneyed moment. One of the UK’s best known actors, Simon Callow, is the excellent narrator in Scrooge and Another Night Before Christmas; the RTE Concert Orchestra, who play most of the disc, are a real class act, while the conductor, Gavin Sutherland, has just the right feel for the music. Like Scrooge, it has made me a reformed character.

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