Marlborough College Chapel Choir directed by Robin Nelson with Ian Crabbe (organ)
CD No: PRIORY PRCD 771 Duration: Reviewed: December 2001
Advent to Christmas
Reviewed by David Wordsworth
The market is annually inundated with Christmas albums of one sort or another here is yet another from the Marlborough College Chapel Choir.
Heaven only knows how many times little classics such as Adam lay y bounden (Boris Ord), I sing of a Maiden (Patrick Hadley) and In the bleak mid-winter (Harold Darke) have been recorded. On this CD, they and the more unusual items included are sung with feeling and panache and are certainly worth a listen for those not over-stocked with such things.
In addition there are at least two minor masterpieces: Kenneth Leightons Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child and Howells A Spotless Rose. Then theres quite a little discovery, the three-minute Hymn a la Vierge by the late Pierre Villette, which is nothing less than a little gem! Its harmonies, verging on the Messiaenic at times, cannot be easy to sing it is beautifully done in this performance.
Robin Nelsons own carols follow on in a typical English way, a sort of John Rutterish wistfulness combined with the rhythmic verve of William Mathias both composers, it really goes without saying, are represented on this disc and prove pleasant; the Marlborough Choir obviously enjoy singing them.
As often with such releases, this is not perhaps something to listen to in one sitting. However, as a dip-into to accompany the Christmas festivities, this release is easily recommended.