Classic Carols for Christmas ABC 480 1489

This is a compilation album from ABC Classics which uses mostly Australian soloists, choirs, and ensembles, but with several international names thrown in for good measure. The big name singers which make this an even more attractive recording are Renee Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa, Renata Tebaldi, Leontyne Price, Bryn Terfel, Yvonne Kenny and Joan Sutherland, whilst conductors such as Carl Davis and Richard Bonynge appear conducting the Royal Philharmonic, New Philharmonia and others.

The repertoire is traditional (what one would typically hear from King’s College Cambridge’s Annual Nine Lessons and Carols Service) with some stunning arrangements from Sir David Willcocks and John Rutter. The choral work from Cantillation and Trinity College (Melbourne University) are standouts.

David Drury’s arrangement of Silent Night has some quite wondrous harmonic turns that truly delights the ear. The Australian carols, with music by William G James and text by John Wheeler, written and composed 50 years ago are given a robust performance by the Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, which is a fitting inclusion to a set of carols derived from Europe.