The Christmas Story (SACD)

Harmonia Mundi
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Theatre of Voices, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Paul Hillier

Inspired by the much-loved service of ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ given every Christmas Eve, this recording presents the Nativity story told through plainchant, motets, 17th Century dialogues and traditional folk carols.

Paul Hillier leads Theatre of Voice and Ars Nova Copenhagen in music he has culled and arranged from Italian, German, Danish, English and American sources.

Their previous disc of music inspired by texts: Stories – Berio & Friends received rave reviews.

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1. Rorate Coeli Desuper (Plainchant) 2:31
2. Veni Veni Emanuel (Arranged By Paul Hillier) 3:19
3. Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen (Arranged by Paul Hillier)
4. Tomasi: Dum Deambularet Dominus In Paradisum4:54
5. Skempton: Adam Lay Y-Bounden 1:36
6 In Dulci Iubilo (Arranged By R. L. Pearsall) 3:21

7. Alessandro Grandi: Missus Est Gabriel 7:27

8. Puer Natus Est (Plainchant) 3:03
9. Byrd: O Magnum Mysterium 3:06
10. Giovanni Francesco Anerio: Voi Ch'ai Notturni Rai 6:10
11. Dormi, Dormi, O Bel Bambin (Arranged By Paul Hillier) 2:01
12. Liebe Hirten (Arranged By Paul Hillier) 1:36
13. Andachtsjodler (Arranged By Paul Hillier) 2:26

14. Hopkins: We Three Kings 3:55
15. Videntes Stellam (Plainchant) 0:33
16. Personent Hodie (Arranged By Paul Hillier) 1:51

The Holy Innocents
17. Herodes Iratus (Plainchant) 0:37
18. Vox In Rama (Plainchant) 1:11

19. Eccard: Uebers Gebirg 2:47
20. Eccard: Maria Wallt Zum Heiligtum 3:12
21. The Holly And The Ivy (Arranged By Paul Hillier) 2:47
22. Gade: Barn Jesus I En Krybbe Lå 1:56
23 We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Arranged By Paul Hillier) 1:34

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Sunday Times
18th December 2011
As collections of Christmas music go, this one stands out, not only for the impeccably refined and expressive singing, but for the immense breadth of the material it contains...The highlight, for me, is Ars Nova’s beautifully shaped reading of Byrd’s O magnum mysterium.
The Telegraph
9th December 2011
Tracing a course from Advent through the Nativity and on to Epiphany and Holy Innocents, Paul Hillier has devised a fascinating programme of plainchant, Renaissance music and other apt pieces that poignantly relate the Christmas narrative. Excellent performances bring the sequence vividly to life.
The Independent on Sunday 11th December 2011 Only one work from Carols for Choirs has made it into Paul Hillier's strikingly original Christmas sequence. Pungent arrangements of "Personent Hodie" and "Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen" jostle for space with ancient plainchant...Ars Nova's ripe choral sound outclasses the thready blend of Theatre of Voices. 4 stars
Mail on Sunday 27th November 2011 The 65 minutes are designed to be played at a single sitting: the musically curious – and those of genuine religious impulse – will find much that is deeply satisfying.
The Arts Desk 10th December 2011 This lovely disc offers a Danish take on the traditional English carol service...This needs to be listened to in sequence, in one go, and following the texts leads to a pretty profound, immersive experience. Paul Hillier’s arrangements of traditional carols are unfailingly sensitive; the highlights being a radiant version of the Italian Dormi, dormi o bel Bambino and an account of Liebe Hirten

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