VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Fantasia on Christmas Carols / On Christmas Night / The First Nowell

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Released in perfect time for Christmas, this unique disc conducted by Richard Hickox (famous for his interpretations of Vaughan Williams), with the City of London Sinfonia presents the premiere recordings of two works by Vaughan Williams, 'On Christmas Night' and 'Fantasia on Christmas Carols' and the only available recording of 'The First Nowell'. Vaughan Williams loved Christmas and had a lifelong passion for carols, admiring their freshness, beauty and nobility. Vaughan Williams' seasonal compositions reflect his love of Christmas in general and of carols in particular.

'The Fantasia on Christmas Carols' was dedicated to Cecil Sharp and is based on four traditional English carols: 'The Truth sent from above', 'Come all you worthy gentlemen', 'On Christmas Night' (The Sussex Carol) and 'There is a fountain filled with blood', plus hints of other carols. This is the first recording of the alternative scoring using an organ and strings accompaniment rather than orchestral.

'On Christmas Night' was originally called 'A Christmas Carol' as it was a free adaptation of Dicken's story of the same name. This ballet score commissioned by Adolf Bolm, a principal dancer with Diaghilev's company and first performed in 1926. The work receives its premiere recording on this release. The score is very atmospheric and juxtaposes complex melodies with simple folk tunes, and interspersed with carols.

'The First Nowell', a nativity play for soloists, chorus and small orchestra, was arranged and adapted from medieval pageants by Simona Pakenham. A number of traditional tunes are included in Vaughan Williams's arrangement such as 'On Christmas Night', 'The Cherry Tree Carol' and 'God rest you merry'. Vaughan Williams said to Pakenham, 'I think that every Christmas play ought to begin with 'God rest you Merry' and end with 'The First Nowell'.

This truly is music to be played and cherished during the Christmas period.
Item number CHAN 10385
Barcode 095115138526
Release date 09/01/2006
Category Christmas
Label Chandos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Artists Tugarinova, Tatyana
Joseph, Cullen
Quivar, Florence
Composers Vaughan Williams, Ralph
Conductors Hickox, Richard
Brotons, Salvador
Orchestras City of London Sinfonia
Joyful Company of Singers
Disc: 1
The First Nowell
1 Fantasia on Christmas Carols (arr. for baritone, c
2 Prelude: God rest you merry - Allegro agitato —
3 Marley's Ghost: Allegro moderato e pesante —
4 The Spirit of Christmas: Lento —
5 Fezziwig's Christmas Party: Molto moderato —
6 Fezziwig's Parlour: Allegro —
7 Morris jig: Allegro molto —
8 The Triumph: Allegro moderato —
9 Roger de Coverley —
10 Midnight: Lento —
11 A procession: Lento —
12 Victorian Drawing Room: Andante sostenuto —
13 Bob Cratchit's Christmas Party —
14 Bob Cratchit's Toast: Lento —
15 Black Nag: Allegro —
16 Procession of the Nativity: Lento
17 Prelude: God rest you merry - The truth from above
18 Angelus ad Virgenem (Soprano)
19 The Salutation Carol (Chorus)
20 The Cherry Tree Carol: Joseph was an old man (Chor
21 The Cherry Tree Carol: As Joseph was awalking (Sop
22 Joseph and Mary (Baritone, Chorus)
23 In Bethlehem City, "A Virgin most pure" (Chorus)
24 The Sussex Carol (Baritone and Chorus)
25 The Salutation Carol: 'Tidings true be come new (C
26 How brightly shone the morning star (Chorus)
27 Interlude
28 The First Nowell (Soprano, Baritone, Chorus)
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