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Victoria Solenberger
Choral Journal, December 2014

Chilcott’s inclination toward clear melodic interest in his children’s pieces informs the music in this album, a similar simplicity is heard at the heart of this music. Chilcott features cluster dissonances and interwoven melodies throughout this collection of music. Commotio sings with clarity and sensitivity, though a wider palate of color might have enhanced the music even more. © 2014 Choral Journal

Alide Kohlhaas
The Seniors Review, November 2014

This is a beautiful addition to any Christmas music library by Britain’s leading writer/arranger of choral music. Definitely a must-have CD. © 2014 The Seniors Review

Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, November 2014

Maestro Berry’s chamber choir sounds attractive and youthful in this music, and they are matched by the soloists. In a Christmas season where everyone seems to be falling all over themselves showing how relentlessly spiritual their intentions are, I can’t tell you how nice it is to enjoy Bob Chilcott’s music without having to work all that hard to take it in. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, December 2013

There are nine première recordings on this disc, and one cannot imagine them being given a more auspicious baptism. The presentation is of Naxos’s best, with a long note by the composer and full texts including the copyright poems. This makes one wonder why other companies in the bargain bracket cannot do the same. In his interview with John Quinn, Bob Chilcott talked of his delight in this recording. He has every right to be proud of it, as have the singers of Commotio.

For those looking for a Christmas disc that is out of the ordinary this must be close to the head of the queue. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, December 2013

The performances are exactly right…with an entirely sympathetic choice of choir and director, and the warm, enveloping sound of Keble College Chapel fits it like a comfortable pair of slippers. In short, a winner. This is a disc to listen to with the tree lit up and a cup of Christmas cheer in your hand. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Charlotte Gardner
Sinfini Music, December 2013

Commotio and Matthew Berry perform faultlessly, with arrestingly pure solo spots from soprano Laurie Ashworth. © 2013 Sinfini Music Read complete review

Classic FM, December 2013

Bob Chilcott[’s]…melodic Christmas carols are absolutely stunning; a selection of them have been brought together on this new collection, which includes a number of world premiere recordings, performed by the Oxford-based choir Commotio…

This is a moving and inspiring collection, beautifully sung. © 2013 Classic FM Read complete review

Caroline Gill
Gramophone, December 2013

Too cleverly conceived to be saccharin but every one still imbued with a memorable melody, they are all sung simply beautifully by Commotio… Although the disc is built around a central sequence of carols, On Christmas Night, it is the smaller gems such as The Advent Candle that will make all but the hardest of hearts swell with the Christmas spirit. © 2013 Gramophone

BBC Music Magazine, December 2013

A formidable portfolio of Christmas music, much of it gathered on this Naxos collection…Technically Chilcott’s music is often more demanding than Rutter’s, but that’s not a problem for the excellent singers of Commotio, expertly conducted here by Matthew Berry. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine

Robert Matthew-Walker
International Record Review, December 2013

Before the ice (O Magnum Mysterium), is an out-and-out masterpiece of choral writing, superbly achieved here, as indeed is all the music throughout the CD by the fine choir Commotio under Matthew Berry. The recording is also very good. The most recent piece here, The Bethlehem Baht…is a gem… © 2013 International Record Review

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, November 2013

…Chilcott is an outstanding communicator through music…his passion for relating to people, both performers and audiences, through music was palpable. The music on this disc, which is unfailingly attractive, certainly communicates with the listener directly and strongly.

That communication with the listener is undoubtedly enhanced by the performances of Commotio. Their singing is technically excellent and they consistently demonstrate complete commitment to the music. I was very interested to see that the producer of this disc is Nigel Short, the conductor of Tenebrae and a former colleague of Bob Chilcott in The King’s Singers. If it was daunting for Matthew Berry and his choir to have two highly experienced singers and choral conductors…Short and his engineer Will Brown have ensured that the recorded sound is excellent: clear, atmospheric and beautifully balanced.

I think this delightful disc will enhance the musical side of Christmas for a lot of people. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2013

Modern British choral music has settled into a highly commercial formula where jaunty, jazzy rhythms sit beside ethereal sounds that began with John Tavener. Joining John Rutter among the most popular provider of Christmas Carols, Bob Chilcott’s musical life began as a boy chorister in the famous choir of King’s College, Cambridge. He writes in the disc’s booklet how difficult is the task of selecting the works to be included in Christmas programmes that will please both performers and listeners…It is with that in mind that he composes his carols, always in the hope that people’s ears will accept new ideas. I was deeply moved by The Bethlehem Star written in memory of Alan Greaves, an aging church organist murdered by two young thugs on his way to play at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve…Its a long disc that will have something for everyone, performed with a smooth quality that the group Commotio and five instrumentalists who appear from time to time to add some pleasing sounds. Lovely sound quality, just right for the music. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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