A Winter's Night / Winchester College Chapel Choir, Onyx Brass
The addition of a brass ensemble to Christmas concerts and carol services, combining with the more traditional sounds of choir and organ, has become increasingly popular in recent years. This recording brings together a number of works for the specific forces of choir, brass quintet, organ and percussion, some of which have been arranged specially for this release. Interspersed amongst these works are a selection of popular Christmas carols which have formed and integral part of Winchester College Chapel Choir’s core repertoire for many years. Winchester College was founded by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, in 1382, and Winchester College Quiristers have for over 625 years sung services in Winchester College Chapel. In modem times they have formed a choir renowned for its excellence. Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in the 2017-18 season, Onyx Brass continues to be the leading light in establishing the brass quintet as a medium for serious chamber music, inspired by the pioneering early years of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. To this end, the group has commissioned and performed the world premières of over 200 new works, with many more in the pipeline for performance and recording.
The heart of this grouping of Christmas songs is the cantata A Winter’s Night by Cecilia McDowall. That is not really new music; all the tunes are traditional ones, arranged by the composer. Some seem unnecessarily complex, but that’s what contemporary composers do. In the end, it’s all very English, but not unfamiliar, and if you like organ and brass along with a choir you might well go for this.
– American Record Guide
Release Date: August 21, 2020
Catalog Number: SIGCD646
Label: Signum Classics
Composer: Cecilia McDowall, Philip Ledger, Samuel Scheidt, John Goss, Gustav Holst, William J. Kirkpatrick, John Rutter, John Francis Wade, Jonathan Willcocks, Charles Wood, Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor: Howard Ionascu
Orchestra/Ensemble: Onyx Brass, Winchester College Chapel Choir
Performer: Benjamin Cunningham