A Winters Light (Christmas Carol Selection) (Martin Ford/ Vasari Singers/ Jeremy Backhouse) (Naxos: 8.573030)
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The Vasari Singers'
annual carol concerts always provide a warming blend of traditional favourites and less well-known music from all periods and styles. Here, joyous and masterful 16th-century polyphony sits alongside eternally popular Victorian carols, and exquisitely crafted settings by Howells and Walford Davies join works as recent as Gabriel Jackson's The Christ-child
. Bob Chilcott magically superimposes traditional carols with entrancing new material, and no Vasari Christmas would be complete without some close harmony Swingle singing. The Vasari Singers have also recorded Gabriel Jackson's Requiem
The Vasari Singers' Great British Anthems
[8.572102] was described as "essential listening"
. The mixture of moving beauty and entertaining good humour in this programme makes it a disc which is sure to appeal to a very wide audience this and every festive season.
Founded in 1980, Vasari Singers is among the leading chamber choirs in Britain, performing music ranging from Renaissance to contemporary. The choir performs regularly in London as well as visiting many of England's cathedrals to sing services, with recent trips to Canterbury, Salisbury, Bath and Ripon. The choir and Jeremy Backhouse
are deeply committed to contemporary music and have commissioned over twenty works since 2000, including works by Francis Pott and Gabriel Jackson.