Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas CD Review #2

So I put the tree up. And in this house it's traditional to do it whilst a John Rutter CD warbles in the background.

Now - I have a long-standing love of John Rutter Christmas music, so I was delighted to see there was a new one out. I think that A Christmas Festival is his 312th Christmas CD.

The good points first: good versions of two great carols, O Come all ye faithful and Hark, the Herald Angels - both with the Wilcox descants that frankly define Christmas. Big orchestral accompaniments in the Rutter manner..

The down points. Everything else. Dull, dull, dull. Sickly sweet. The squarest calypso you ever heard as Rutter's combined forces attempt The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy. ("No, Miss fforbes, he came down from the glory, please. Try again!") We even get Elton John-lite in Magical Kingdom. ("Strange and exciting and scary and new... You could dream them too." Sadly this is a genuine lyric.)

If you don't have it, treat yourself to his Christmas Night - Carols of the Nativity. Lots of unaccompanied English carols, one or two of his own, satisfyingly low on sugar, high on the yearning melancholy of good choral CD. Quite the opposite of this.

1.5 stars out of 5. Save your cash.

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