Specialists in Classical Location Sound Recording
ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT – Exeter College Chapel Choir (OXCD-135)
directed by Tim Muggeridge, Bartosz R Thiede (organist)
1.The truth sent from above Ralph Vaughan Williams
2. Bogoróditse Djévo Arvo Pärt
3. Magnificat Arvo Pärt
4. A Spotless Rose Herbert Howells
Three Carols – Carl Rütti
5. I wonder as I wander
6. O little town of Bethlehem
7. My dancing day
8. Hodie James Whitbourn
9. Softly Will Todd
10. Hymn to the Creator of Light John Rutter
11. Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child Kenneth Leighton
12. Here is the little door Herbert Howells
13. The Three Kings Jonathan Dove
On Christmas Night – Bob Chilcott
14. This is the truth (I)
15. Adam lay ybounden
16. A spotless Rose
17. The Cherry Tree Carol
18. O little town
19. Sweet was the song
20. Rejoice and be merry
21. This is the truth (II)
This is the Chapel Choir of Exeter College
’s first recording of festive music since it became a mixed-voice choir in 1996, exactly twenty years ago. It is also the choir’s first project that has come to fruition using the resource of crowdfunding. This means that every penny you spent on purchasing it goes directly into supporting the choir’s growing performance and outreach work.
Exeter College, Oxford
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL Dec 2016: For their first Christmas CD since becoming a mixed-voice ensemble, the choir of Exeter College Chapel, Oxford, has chosen a programme of music written within the last 100 years. The Vaughan Williams setting of “The Truth Sent from Above” just makes it since this particular setting dates from 1919. Lucky for us it did, for this makes an arresting opening to a disc of somewhat uneven musical festivities. It displays the choir to its best, with a beautifully pure and graceful tone. Other must-hears on the disc include a suitably dreamy account of Will Todd’s “Softly” and an absolutely ravishing performance of Kenneth Leighton’s “Lullay, lulla, Thou little tiny child”.
The most notable thing about the Exeter College Chapel choir on this recording is its impressive level of accuracy. Every tiniest detail of these scores is carefully and precisely placed, and while this does tend to result in a somewhat laboured feel to many of the performances, it certainly means we hear what these composers wrote with almost transparent clarity. Occasionally the musical demands of this adventurous programme stretch the young men of the choir a little too far – there are moments where they yearn for a stability of intonation they never quite achieve – and Tim Muggeridge is a little too pedantic in observing the phrasing of “A Spotless Rose” for this to flow as well as it could. But he moulds the final few chords so deliciously that one can forgive a certain heavy-handed feel to the direction.
In many ways the unsung hero of the recording (unsung in more ways than one – the review copy mis-spells his name, although I see OxRecs have now corrected this unfortunate error) is organist Bartosz R Thiede. His accompaniments, especially in the three Rütti carols, are magnificent both in their subtlety and the wonderful way in which he falls in with Muggeridge’s precisely clipped direction. He also delivers the complex organ writing of Whitbourn’s distinctly Mathias-like “Hodie” with perfectly-nuanced virtuosity.
Release now available for download.