BENJAMIN BRITTEN: A Ceremony of Carols Op 28, Saint Nicolas Op 42
Sally Pryce, harp, Allan Clayton, tenor, Trinity College Choir Cambridge, Holst Singers, Temple Church Choristers, City of London Sinfonia, Stephen Layton
Gramophone “Layton’s flowing speeds underline the dramatic sequence of the carols…All the solo performances are impeccably shaped and harpist Sally Pryce makes light work of the fiendish accompaniments…Clayton makes the role of Nicolas entirely his own. What a glorious voice!…This is a beautiful and deeply affecting record.”
The Sunday Times “Layton’s soprano and mezzos affect a purity that sounds “boyish”…Clayton’s Nicolas is more youthful-sounding than his predecessors (Pears, Tear, Langridge), but Layton captures the mystery-play-like drama of the saint’s life story.”
About the music ….
The cantata Saint Nicolas tells the story of the original ‘Santa Claus’, a fourth-century saint whose acts—revitalizing three boys who had been pickled by an unscrupulous landlord being among the more dramatic—led to his canonization as patron saint of children and sailors. Britten’s lively setting is distinctly operatic, full of incident and colour—with the story brought ‘home’ through the use of congregational hymns. The part of Nicolas (here sung magnificently by Allan Clayton, already acclaimed as the heir to Peter Pears and Anthony Rolfe Johnson) is one of Britten’s great heroic tenor roles.
A Ceremony of Carols is a setting for treble voices and harp of some of the medieval texts which Britten loved so much, and is heard every Christmas in cathedrals, churches and concert halls throughout the land. This fresh, sparkling performance completes a thoroughly festive release.
Hyperion CDA67946 @ £14.25 plus P&P
We are delighted to offer this CD to both Clacton Choral Society (for its concert on 9 December 2018) and also Brentwood Choral Society in preparation for its Autumn 2018 concert.