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In Terra Pax: A Christmas Anthology

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Audio CD, November 17, 2009
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Frequently Bought Together

In Terra Pax: A Christmas Anthology + Finzi: Concerto for cello & orchestra, Op. 40 / Eclogue for piano & strings, Op. 10 / Grand Fantasia and Toccata, Op. 38 + Finzi: Dies Natalis; Farewell To Arms; Two Sonnets
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Performances of carols both ancient and modern have become central to the celebration of Christmas. The choral music on this disc includes Holst' surprisingly neglected Christmas Day, as well as music by Leighton, Joubert, Mathias, Gardner and Rutter.

Review

No matter how many Christmas recordings have come before, classical artists, like those in other genres, are always ready with a rethinking of an classic, or something entirely new. Here is a look at five of this year's holiday releases:

"In Terra Pax: A Christmas Anthology," Naxos. The City of London Choir and Bournemouth Symphony team for this appealing English take on the holiday season. Featured are a nicely varied group of carols by composers ranging from Herbert Howells to John Rutter.

"Yuletide," Ars Nova Singers. Ars Nova, one of the region's top chamber choirs, offers a typically eclectic mix of the old and new on this self-produced album. The line-up combines Renaissance works with contemporary carols and new arrangements of familiar tunes -- all impeccably performed.

"Carols by Candlelight," Harmonia Mundi. This handsomely packaged release features the Magdalen College Choir, composed of boy choristers and undergraduate singers. This venerable English ensemble offers refined takes on music grouped around five themes associated with Advent and Christmas.

"Handel Messiah," Hyperion. No sacred work is more associated with the Christmas season than the "Messiah." Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia offer a solid if not stellar take on the great oratorio.

"German Romantic Christmas," Oehms Classics. This Munich Bach Choir celebrates the yuletide with 19th and early 20th-century music from Germany by such composers as Johannes Brahms, Franz Gruber and Max Reger. -- Denver Post, Kyle MacMillan, December 13, 2009


1. Christmas Day, for chorus & orchestra, H. 109
2. There Is No Rose, for chorus, Op 14
3. Here Is the Little Door, carol-anthem for chorus
4. A Spotless Rose, for chorus
5. In Terra Pax for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op 39
6. Three Carols, for chorus: 1. Tyrley, tyrlow
7. Three Carols, for chorus: 2. Balulalow
8. Three Carols, for chorus: 3. As I sat under a sycamore tree
9. A Hymn of the Nativity, for chorus
10. What Sweeter Music, for chorus
11. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, for chorus, Op. 75/2
12. A Babe Is Born, for chorus & organ, Op. 55
13. Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, cantata for female chorus & orchestra: 1. Children's Christmas song
14. Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, cantata for female chorus & orchestra: 2. Wassail song
15. Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, cantata for female chorus & orchestra: 3. In Bethlehem city
16. Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, cantata for female chorus & orchestra: 4. God bless the Master

Product Details

  • Conductor: Wetton
  • Composer: Various
  • Audio CD (November 17, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B002QEXBYA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,986 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Orlyn Reese on December 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely gorgeous CD, wonderful in every way. I have been playing it at least once every day because it fills my house and heart with such a joyful sound. It has moved to the top of my favorites list and I suspect it will stay there for a very long time regardless of the season. It is one of the most interesting and beautiful collections I have ever heard. I am so happy I found it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David A. Wend on December 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In Terra Pax takes its name from an evocative Christmas work by Gerald Finzi. The works on the disc are from some well-known composers. It begins with a medley of Christmas carols in a work called "Christmas Day" by Gustav Holst. This charming work for orchestra, soloists and chorus presents many favorite carols. This is followed by short selections by Joubert (There is no rose), Mathias (Sir Christemas) and Howells (Here is the little door and A spotless Rose) for unaccompanied chorus (except for the Mathias where an organ is included). These carols are, for me, unfamiliar and are a nice discovery.

"In terra pax - Christmas scene" is the major work of the disc and is scored for orchestra, baritone, soprano and chorus. The music paints a picture of a frosty night on Christmas Eve in a long introduction before the baritone sings a word picture of pealing bells and distant music. A mixed chorus sings verses from the gospel of Saint Luke with a brief solo for soprano. The music settles into a depiction of the winter's landscape and the baritone resumes his reflections. The charming Three carols of Peter Warlock are for orchestra and chorus and soprano and include "Tyrley, tyrlow"," Balulalow" and "As I sat under a sycamore tree." This is followed by "A hymn of the Nativity" by Kenneth Leighton, a work that begins with a solo soprano who is joined by a male chorus and then a mixed chorus of women and men. This is a beautifully conceived work evoking the nativity with simply but with great effect.

The familiar hymn "What sweeter music" by John Rutter follows and finds an excellent companion piece with Tomorrow shall be my dancing day by John Gardner. Both works are for mixed chorus with the Gardner including a piano and tambourine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Review from NC on May 9, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have a very large collection of Christmas albums, but I usually try to hold out on purchases until at least November. However, when I heard this selection of Gustav Holst's Christmas Day on a BBC Music download, I decided to break down and buy the album in April. I had to at least give the entire album a listen, even over Easter. I love choral albums of the "old" Christmas music, so I'm looking forward to November. I expect this will spend quite a bit of time in my CD player starting around Thanksgiving.
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If it's not a consensus that the Brits are the best at playing and arranging Christmas carols, it should be. This disc features some of England's greatest composers' own arrangements and original compositions, all of which are undeniable charming and festive. In almost every case, the music is so good that I'm amazed at how little attention it has received, particularly in the case of the Vaughan Williams and Finzi. The harmonic texture of these composers fits in perfectly with the music, adding lots of interests to the carols.

Opening the disc is Holst's "Christmas Day" which uses such "Good Christian Men Rejoice" and "God Rest You Merry Gentleman". Holst succeeds in adding a symphonic element to his arrangement without taking away from the festivity of the carols--he adds to it, in fact. (Yes, Holst didn't just write the Planets!)

Finzi's "In Terra Pax" is in a category all of its own, as it is all original to Finzi. A talented man who sadly died rather young, he as a style all his own, wandering and nostalgic. This Christmas scene is one of the best compositions I've heard from him (he didn't write that many). It's not as directly festive in nature as most of the other works on this disc, but it is wonderful all the same. Certainly it is the most dramatic work on this disc; the description of the angels greeting the shepherds captures the terror that the shepherds must have felt. But most gripping are the moments when Finzi lets his lyrical side take over. The music sinks deep into your soul.

Warlock's "3 Carols" are delightful arrangements, very catchy. Unlike Finzi, Warlock is about as festive as you can get, incorporating elements of pure fun. It's tough to resist indulging in such joyful music.
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