Christmas in England

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On this week’s episode of the Choral Mix, Kent Tritle presents his most essential Christmas music from England. We hear medleys and settings by Holst and Williams, as well as selections by their predecessors Hubert Parry and Charles Stanford.

Much of the best Christmas music from England draws from the deep wells of folk melodies and carols.  Composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst and Gerald Finzi had a special knack for weaving together the different strands of their musical heritage and creating an unforgettable and distinctly English sound. 



Holst, Gustav: Christmas Day, for chorus & orchestra, H. 109

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City Of London Choir,

Hilary Davan Wetton, Conductor

Lydia Challen, Alto; Julia Doyle, Soprano; Julian Davies, Tenor; Simon Oberts, Baritone

Naxos 8572102


Stanford, Charles Villiers: Evening Service in G major, Op. 81: Magnificat

Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge

Christopher Robinson, Conductor

Naxos 8.555794


Parry, Charles Hubert: When Christ was Born of Mary free

A Marian Christmas

St. Martin’s Chamber Choir,

Timothy J Krueger, Conductor

St. Martin's Chamber Choir Catalogue Number 1


Parry, Charles Hubert: Welcome Yule

Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum

Benjamin Nicholas, Conductor

Carleton Etherington, Organ

Delphian Records 34047


Finzi, Gerald: Et in Terra Pax, Op. 39;

And Lo the angel of the Lord came

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Choir of Winchester Cathedral,

David Hill, Conductor

Donald Sweeney, Bass; Libby Crabtree, Soprano

Decca 468807


Holst, Gustav:

In the Bleak mid-winter

Carol, H 133: no 3, Masters in this Hall

Christ Church Cathedral Choir

Stephen Darlington, Conductor

Nimbus 7021


Warlock, Peter: A Cornish Christmas Carol

Finzi Singers

Paul Spicer, Conductor

Chandos 9182


Warlock, Peter: Bethlehem Down


Signum U.K. 291


Vaughan Williams, Ralph: Fantasia on Christmas Carols

Joyful Company of Singers, City of London Sinfonia

Richard Hickox, Conductor

Joseph Cullen, Organ

Roderick Williams, Baritone

Chandos 10385


Mendelssohn, Felix (Sosin, Donald, Arranger): Hark the Herald Angels Sing (in the style of Beethoven)

Jeffrey Biegel, Piano

Steinway & Sons 30005


Traditional: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Handel and Haydn Society

Harry Christophers, Conductor

Coro 16117