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“An extra mince pie for the Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, whose An Oxford Christmas is a characteristically clear-headed salute to Percy Dearmer’s The Oxford Book of Carols via Vaughan Williams’s contributions to it.” Gramophone
This recording focusses on arrangements made by Vaughan Williams for The Oxford Book of Carols (1928), coupled with two later carols published by Oxford University Press.
Many of the tunes are far from well-known and deserve a new audience. We belive that 10 of the 22 tracks are first recordings, but reserve the right to have overlooked one or two amidst the vast but very mixed heritage of recorded carols.
The preface to The Oxford Book of Carols tells us that: ‘Variety in the method of singing is even more important than with hymns, and the verses should never be sung straight through all in the same way.’ In this spirit the choir’s director, William Vann, has prepared the carols for recording with a mixture of accompanied, unaccompanied and solo verses. Few of these carols are likely to have been undertaken by a congregation; this recording by a choir of distinguished professional singers presents the carols at their best, supported by the Henry Willis organ of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, in half of the carols.
As always, full texts are included, and detailed notes on the carols are preceded by an essay about The Oxford Book of Carols by Jeremy Summerly.
This is a companion album to ALBCD035 A Vaughan Williams Christmas, which proved outstandingly popular. We hope that this will provide every bit as much enjoyment.