Christmas – The Gesualdo Six, Owain Park – Hyperion

by | Dec 14, 2019 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Christmas – The Gesualdo Six, Owain Park – Hyperion CDA68299, 74:17 [Distr. by PIAS] ****:

The Gesualdo Six was formed in 2014 as an early music ensemble, but quickly morphed into far more than that, even sponsoring several composition competitions. This is their second recording for Hyperion, with whom they signed in 2018. Christmas discs seem to always sell well and obtain a good degree of popularity, and this one proves attractive in many ways.

These carols are probably about twenty-five percent popular and known, with the remainder rather unknown, with a good span of music ranging from the Tudor age to the 21st century. Only Jingle Bells stands out as a bit of an outlier, perhaps lastly listed as a good concert encore. But even here, the remarkable balance, devotional tone, and finely-graded sense of harmonic security makes for an album of truly resplendent sonic grandeur and engrossingly fitting seasonal engagement. Recorded at Trinity College, Cambridge, the engineers have captured a small ensemble in radiantly soft acoustics that more than satisfy the ears and the emotions. High quality, high sonics, and highly recommended.

Veni Emmanuel   Anonymous, arr. Philip Lawson (b.1957)
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland a 6   Michael Praetorius (1571 – 1621)
The Annunciation   Jonathan Harvey (1939 – 2012)
Videte Miraculum   Thomas Tallis (c.1505 – 1585)
The Promised Light of Life   Cheryl Frances-Hoad (b.1980)
Gaudete   Trad. arr. Brian Kay (b.1944)
The Truth Sent from Above   arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958) & Owain Park (b.1993)
Es Ist ein’ Ros’ Entsprungen   Trad., harm. Michael Praetorius
Angelus ad virginem   Anon.
Lullay my liking   Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934)
There is a flower   John Rutter (b.1945)
Canite tuba   Jacob Handl (1550 – 1591)
There is no rose   Anon.
Verbum caro factum est   Hans Leo Hassler (1564 – 1612)
Coventry Carol   Anonymous – traditional
On the Infancy of our Saviour   Owain Park
Love came down at Christmas   Eleanor Daley (b.1955)
In dulci jubilo   Praetorius arr. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
The oxen   Jonathan Rathbone (b.1957)
Away in a manger – Cradle Song   arr. Philip Lawson
Jingle Bells   James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893), arr. Gordon Langford (1930-2017)

—Steven Ritter

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