A Choral Christmas / Jones, Trinity Choir Of Boston

Regular price $15.99
Added to Cart! View cart or continue shopping.
From the first few seconds of this new recording from Brian Jones and his Trinity Choir, you know it's Christmas. The flute and bell sounds, the dancing rhythm from the organ, the prodigiously joyful voices, and the catchy, unmistakably Rutter-esque melody combine to set off the sparks that promise a bright, happy, thoughtfully and lovingly compiled program. I say "lovingly" because this is the type of programming that, as usual with Jones, is not made with the "snooty" or "snobbish" in mind, but comes purely from the heart and from the experience of a director who knows and cares about the real listening tastes of his audience. (You've got to admire anyone who convincingly and with conviction programs "The Holy City" alongside works by Britten and Vaughan Williams, as he did on an earlier recording for Gothic Records.) And, as reflected here, those tastes, especially in Christmas music, cover a fairly wide range--from Rutter (three pieces) to Poulenc (O magnum mysterium) to Luboff (his well-loved arrangement of the Austrian carol Still, still, still).

The opening tune indeed is by John Rutter, a setting of the 15th-century text "Sing we to this merry company", and it's quickly followed by the Luboff arrangement, Gerald Near's setting of Ding! dong! merrily on high, and the well-known Pearsall version of In dulci jubilo. The combination of familiarity and audience-favorite continues throughout the rest of the 21 selections, with classics such as Rutter's all-time most-popular What sweeter music, Elizabeth Poston's Jesus Christ the apple tree, and Poulenc's motet O magnum mysterium. But mixed in among these revered gems are many less well-known pieces, including a snazzy, bluesy Noël nouvelet arranged by Stephen Jackson, Michael Head's charming and lovely The little road to Bethlehem, and of course a Charles Wood arrangement, Once as I remember (Wood is a Jones favorite).

The choir, one of North America's treasures, always is a treat to hear, displaying not only an enormous stylistic command but also uncommon technical range and interpretive sensitivity. I've said this before, but it's still true: The soprano section would be the envy of any choir. However, the entire ensemble manages a consistent cohesiveness and sonic refinement that's rare among amateur choirs in any part of the world. Even in small details, the choir shows extraordinary care and attention--for instance, in the perfectly rendered endings to the simple but so-often-troublesome "Gloria" line in Ding! dong! merrily on high. And for sheer strength and unity of sound, listen to the choir's rendition of Holst's On this day earth shall ring. Other highlights include Bob Chilcott's Mid-winter, a setting of the Christina Rossetti text "In the bleak mid-winter" that's become an instant favorite all over the world. Jones himself contributes a very effective arrangement of O little town of Bethlehem that joins the two "competing" tunes St. Louis and Forest Green. Although I would prefer a warmer, softer-edged sound in the Poulenc to really capture the "mysterium" in the work, and slightly better-tuned tenors in some places (What sweeter music, for example), this is a first rate recording that will satisfy all listeners looking for an ideal all-around Christmas choral collection. The sound, made in Boston's Trinity Church, captures the detail of choir, organ, and occasional percussion while faithfully capturing the fullness and resonance of the church's magnificent space.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Release Date: July 23, 1997

  • Catalog Number: DOR-93240

  • UPC: 053479324023

  • Label: Dorian

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Bob Chilcott, Gustav Holst, Elizabeth Poston, Francis Poulenc, John Rutter, John Tavener

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Boston Trinity Church Choir