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James Whitbourn: Carolae Music for Christmas


Another Christmas album but like the Septura one last week, mostly not specifically for Christmas.

It’s a choral album but Whitbourn is adept at taking magnificent music and making it listener-friendly; this could be music from 500 years ago, contemplating the Christian message and enormity of eternity but in Whitbourn’s hands it’s palatable for modern ears.

According to the sleeve notes, this is the fusion of two great American and English Christmas traditions — carols at King’s College and at Princeton, the latter second only to King’s as a college chapel.

Whitbourn loves medieval musical and he mixes his own pieces with seasonal favourites, drawing on research that found the original, simpler carols were later embellished by the Victorians.

Both epic and approachable, this will be enjoyed by anyone who likes choral music at Christmas (and other times of year) and wants something a little different.

Out on Naxos, 8.573715.

Order in time for Xmas:

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