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MP3 The Gentlemen of St John's College, Cambridge - A Gentle Christmas

A Gentle Christmas features a broad selection of Christmas music ranging from 15th Century polyphony to arrangements of carols and popular classics. Many of the arrangements have been written by members of ''The Gents'' along with several new commissions

21 MP3 Songs in this album (64:54) !
Related styles: Easy Listening: Harmony Vocal Group, Classical: Choral Music, Mood: Christmas

People who are interested in Simon Keenlyside The Choir of St John’s College The King’s Singers should consider this download.

A Gentle Christmas is a wide selection of Christmas music ranging from 15th Century polyphony to new arrangements of traditional carols and popular classics. The majority of the arrangements have been written by current and former members of The Gentlemen of St John’s (affectionately known as The Gents), and have proved firm favourites at their famous set at The Maypole and at their annual Christmas concert at St John’s. In addition to these, the disc also includes several new commissions.

The first five tracks comprise sacred music which one might hear in services at St John’s, featuring two contrasting settings of O Magnum Mysterium, taken from the Christmas rite of Matins. Nesciens Mater, a quadruple canon composed by Jean Mouton – said to be the first master of eight-part composition – was, in 2007, voted ‘the second best Christmas track of the year’ by Gramophone Magazine. Such a rich vocal texture is complemented with the beautifully simple setting of the medieval Coventry Carol and Lute-book Lullabye, a carol commissioned for the disc from David Bevan.

The following six tracks feature arrangements of traditional Christmas carols alongside a setting of Daniel Terry’s poem The Winds Whistle Cold by Herbert Howells, acting Director of Music of The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge during the Second World War. Former Directors of Music, Dr David Hill and Dr Christopher Robinson, have written beautiful arrangements of Silent Night and The Christmas Song especially for this recording. Completing the set is Timothy Noon’s arrangement of the traditional Irish 12th Century Wexford Carol, and two cradle-songs, arranged and composed by current and former members of the group – Andrew Gant and James Burton; Away in a Manger and Balulalow.

The second half of the disc is an assortment of Christmas close-harmony. There are arrangements written by recent members of The Gents, from Peter Morton’s lively and eccentric collection, including Let it Snow, to warmer numbers such as Léon Charles’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas along with Peter Gritton’s Winter Wonderland. There are also a number of arrangements written especially for the recording – Robert Rice, along with his arrangement of Wonderful Christmastime, has written a passionate rendition of the WHAM! classic, Last Christmas, which complements Gordon Langford’s bouncy setting of Jingle Bells and Ben Parry’s sparkling new arrangement of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.

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