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Inspired by the much-loved service of ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ given every Christmas Eve, this recording presents the Nativity story told through plainchant, motets, 17th Century dialogues and traditional folk carols.
Paul Hillier leads Theatre of Voice and Ars Nova Copenhagen in music he has culled and arranged from Italian, German, Danish, English and American sources.
Their previous disc of music inspired by texts: Stories – Berio & Friends received rave reviews.
Anonymous: Rorate coeli desuper
Traditional: Veni veni Emanuel
Traditional: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
Biasio Tomasi: Dum deambularet Dominus in Paradisum
Howard Skempton: Adam lay y-bounden
Robert Lucas Pearsall: In dulci iubilo
Alessandro Grandi: Missus est Gabriel
Anonymous: Puer natus est
William Byrd: O magnum mysterium
Giovanni Francesco Anerio: Voi ch'ai notturni rai
Traditional: Dormi, dormi, o bel bambin
Traditional: Liebe Hirten
John Henry Hopkins: We three kings
Anonymous: Videntes stellam
Traditional: Personent hodie
Anonymous: Herodes iratus
Anonymous: Vox in Rama
Johann Eccard: Uebers Gebirg
Johann Eccard: Maria wallt zum Heiligtum
Traditional: The holly and the ivy
Niels Gade: Barn Jesus i en krybbe la
Traditional: We wish you a merry Christmas
Mail on Sunday
27th November 2011
“The 65 minutes are designed to be played at a single sitting: the musically curious – and those of genuine religious impulse – will find much that is deeply satisfying.”
18th December 2011
“As collections of Christmas music go, this one stands out, not only for the impeccably refined and expressive singing, but for the immense breadth of the material it contains...The highlight, for me, is Ars Nova’s beautifully shaped reading of Byrd’s O magnum mysterium.”
The Arts Desk
10th December 2011
“This lovely disc offers a Danish take on the traditional English carol service...This needs to be listened to in sequence, in one go, and following the texts leads to a pretty profound, immersive experience. Paul Hillier’s arrangements of traditional carols are unfailingly sensitive; the highlights being a radiant version of the Italian Dormi, dormi o bel Bambino and an account of Liebe Hirten”
The Independent on Sunday
11th December 2011
“Only one work from Carols for Choirs has made it into Paul Hillier's strikingly original Christmas sequence. Pungent arrangements of "Personent Hodie" and "Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen" jostle for space with ancient plainchant...Ars Nova's ripe choral sound outclasses the thready blend of Theatre of Voices.”
9th December 2011
“Tracing a course from Advent through the Nativity and on to Epiphany and Holy Innocents, Paul Hillier has devised a fascinating programme of plainchant, Renaissance music and other apt pieces that poignantly relate the Christmas narrative. Excellent performances bring the sequence vividly to life.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.