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Telling contributions

Carols from Derby Cathedral,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


Everyone loves a carol concert, it seems, and Derby Cathedral Choir's not always obvious choice of programme (10 December 2005, Derby Cathedral, UK) went down well with a good-sized audience.

Britten's Ceremony of Carols comes up fresh every time, especially in a performance as engaging as this. The girl choristers sang with appealingly fresh tone, and harpist Brian Wilson was his dependably crisp, rhythmic self.

In the mainly late Renaissance and baroque first half, Sweelinck's Hodie Christus Natus Est stood out for the exuberant way voice parts were allowed to tumble over each other.

Final audience item apart, the evening ended with a rather more concentrated dose of John Rutter than I care to contemplate. Star Carol and Angel's Carol, with their sure-fire combination of naïve words and twee music at least found the boy choristers in their brightest, most gleaming tone.

Derventio Brass made some telling contributions to the evening. It was good to be introduced to the music of Simon Wills, whose Prelude and Fugue for Christmas was put together with a lot more skill and imagination than is often the case in pieces of this kind.

Copyright © 14 December 2005 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK




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