A Baroque Christmas
The music on this CD is a historical Christmas “pick of the pops”, from the late 1400s to the end of the Baroque period. Directed by Douglas Lawrence, the Australian Chamber Choir offers a program recorded live in concert during their 2019 European tour. The 17 tracks are drawn from from lesser-known seasonal works, championing a sublime repertoire that is all too often neglected.
Appropriate for all-year-round listening. In Europe through the centuries, Christmas has been marked with vibrant and joyous music making. Serious composers have competed to write music with maximum popular appeal for adults and children alike.
The Australian Chamber Choir was founded by Douglas Lawrence in July 2007.
Melbourne organist Douglas Lawrence is Director of Music at The Scots' Church and Teacher of the Organ at the University of Melbourne and was the founding director of Choir of Ormond College, a position he held from 1982 to 2006.
“This is a Christmas album with a difference, and is extremely welcome. Most of the works are little known, but they are full of beauty, serenity and elegance. They are superbly performed by the Australian Chamber Choir – a relatively new choir, but already one of Australia’s many choral treasures – whose 18 singers have been finely honed by artistic director Douglas Lawrence into a single pulse of unity and beauty.” ★★★★
— Barney Zwartz, Sydney Morning Herald
“The ACC is at the forefront of the European choral tradition and not just here in Australia but on its regular European tours ... There is a wonderful honesty and excitement to all the performances as they are recordings from live performances ... One of my favourite tracks is the totally happy and boppy Halleluja, freuet euch by Andreas Hammerschmidt. This is music to make you want to get up and dance and sing from the rooftops and there are delightfully appropriate solos from tenors Anish Nair and Stewart Webb and bass Lucas Wilson-Richter.”Read full review
— Alan Holley, classikon
“One of the significant virtues of the album is its presentation of familiar texts and melodies in settings that you don’t often hear. Christmas music lovers in this country are likely to experience In dulci jubilo through the R. L de Pearsall version, but Douglas Lawrence and his singers have wiped away much Victorian-era sentiment with their two readings: one by Samuel Scheidt, the other a mixture of Bach and Luther’s associate, Johann Walter. Likewise, the Resonet in laudibus that can be heard most often in enlightened churches is the setting by Lassus, so having the opportunity to enjoy Eccard’s work on this particular text is welcome. Most of us have been indoctrinated to accept the opening and closing of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols as giving the customary Gregorian shape to Hodie Christus natus est; but Sweelinck’s treatment offers a different type of richness. And our knowledge of the Von Himmel hoch tune has been conditioned by Bach’s chorale preludes, fughetta, and canonic variations (further complicated by Stravinsky’s orchestration of these last), so the Gumpelzhaimer revamp also served to crack away at pre-conceptions. The ACC’s clarity of delivery is apparent in the composer’s Gloria, recorded in a Hanover church with impeccable acoustic properties for this genre of choral work. As for the concluding Bach group, the level of musicianship here is exemplary, as you’d expect.”Read full review
— Clive O'Connell, O'Connell the Music
- Ave Maria Josquin Des Prez
- Missa Pange Lingua Gloria Josquin Des Prez
- O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria) Tomás Luis de Victoria
- O Magnum Mysterium (Gabrieli) Giovanni Gabrieli
- Resonet in Laudibus Johannes Eccard
- Hodie, Christus Natus Est Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
- Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her Martin Luther
- In dulci jubilo Samuel Scheidt
- Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen Michael Praetorius
- Singt und klingt Michael Praetorius
- Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem Michael Praetorius Bartholomäus Gesius
- Halleluja, freuet euch, ihr Christen alle Andreas Hammerschmidt
- O Jesulein süß, BWV 493 Johann Sebastian Bach
- Pastorale in F Major, BWV 590 (Pastorale), (Allegro) Johann Sebastian Bach
- Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden Johann Sebastian Bach
- In dulci jubilo, BWV 368 Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Walter
- The Angel Gabriel from heaven came (Traditional)
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity.
Where to buy
Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.