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Christmas Night

Carols of the Nativity

The Cambridge Singers | City of London Sinfonia
John Rutter (conductor)


CD: £9.00

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The theme of this album is the birth of Christ, reflected in the words and music of twenty-two carols spanning more than six centuries.  Some of these carols have long been widely known and loved; others have become so thanks to the annual Christmas Eve Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge.  But all of them focus on the central event of the Christmas story - the birth at Bethlehem - and on the characters in that story: the angels, the shepherds, the wise men, and the mother with her child.  Among the many original works on the disc are Rutter's own There is a Flower and Nativity Carol.

Track list

  1. In Dulci Jubilo
  2. Adam lay Ybounden (Ord)
  3. Christmas Night
  4. Once, as I Remember
  5. A spotless Rose
  6. In the bleak mid-winter (Darke)
  7. There is a flower
  8. The Cherry Tree Carol
  9. I wonder as I wander
  10. Candlelight carol
  11. O Tannenbaum
  12. Tomorrow shall be my dancing day (Willcocks)
  13. A virgin most pure
  14. I sing of a maiden
  15. Lute-book lullaby
  16. The three kings
  17. Myn lyking
  18. O little one sweet
  19. All my heart this night rejoices
  20. I saw a maiden
  21. Away in a manger
  22. Nativity carol

“New Christmas carol recordings run the risk of sounding like at least half a dozen other similar releases.  But in the crowded and competitive field of choral Christmas CDs, Christmas Night shines brightest of all.” Digital Audio

“Rutter’s tunes are, typically, ripe and fulsome and gushing in that idiosyncratically British neo-romantic way. Highly recommended” AllMusic USA

“The theme of this album is the birth of Christ, reflected in the words and music of 22 carols spanning more than six centuries.” This description might also say that the programme contains some of the best and best-loved Christmas choral pieces of all time, presented in a pleasing mix of familiar carols and lesser-known original works. Among the best-known selections are Darke’s In the bleak mid-winter and Howells’s A spotless rose. Several original pieces by John Rutter appear here for the first time, Christmas Night, There Is A Flower, and Nativity Carol. Other notable highlights are Peter Cornelius’s The Three Kings and the lively Willcocks arrangement of Tomorrow shall be my dancing day. Of course, the singing is among the best on the planet, in fact, there may even be a few heavenly angels in the soprano section.” CD Review

“Through each of the carols, performed with utmost care, musicality, and unfailing attention to detail (unusual for a Christmas carol recording), both the joy and the tenderness of that birth in Bethlehem are brought to the listener, cast in a cozy but pleasingly resonant acoustic.  This is Rutter’s best-sounding disc to date.” Digital Audio

“For Christmas Eve, let me strongly recommend a beautifully sung full-price collection of ‘Carols of The Nativity’ with lots of favourites and some delightful arrangements. It is essentially a serene programme by the Cambridge Singers and City of London Sinfonia under John Rutter who has contributed two of the carols himself and made three of the creative arrangements.  The sound is lovely; the singing is committed, with some good articulation and some excellent solo voices.  With first-class support from the City of London Sinfonia, this is a treasure trove CD for those who like a touch of tasteful glitter with their music.” Gramophone

“…if you are after a selection with some sumptuous yet not overbearing orchestral accompaniments and beautiful choral arrangements, then John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers are a musical necessity for your collection. Christmas Night, with the City of London Sinfonia is first-rate and will not disappoint you.” Church of England Newspaper

“This recording quickly became one of my Christmas favorites, not only for its world-class singing and vocal ensemble (a young Mark Padmore is in the tenor section) but for its consistently tranquil and gently enveloping sound world – just like a lullaby, except more varied and musically interesting. Christmas Night includes twenty-two carols that range from the familiar-but-not-done-to-death to premieres of three John Rutter originals. No Frosty, Rudolph, or Hallelujah, this is smaller-scale music appropriate to the birth of a child in a stable, without bombast or triumphalism. The singing has both finely honed dynamic nuances and, for lack of a better term, a gentle swing that is apparent from the opening track, In Dulci Jubilo.Listen

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