The Sixteen at Christmas

The Sixteen at Christmas
Harry Christophers, Frances Kelly (
The Anvil, Basingstoke, 4 December 2019

As their 40th anniversary year draws to a close, The Sixteen’s seasonal tour of their ‘Sixteen at Christmas‘ programme stopped by at Basingstoke’s Anvil concert hall for a varied selection of music for Advent and Christmas. Their focus was on traditional medieval and 20th and 21st-century composers, most of the latter influenced by former. Until the Ding dong encore, it avoided all the usual carols of childhood memory. The key piece was the concluding Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten, a sequence of pieces based on medieval texts that he started writing during a 1942 Atlantic crossing. Continue reading

Dancing Day: John Scott

Dancing Day: Music for Christmas
Saint Thomas Choir New York, John Scott
Resonus RES10158. 63’58

Benjamin Britten: A Ceremony of Carols, A New Year Carol;
John Rutter: Dancing Day; Matthew Martin: Novo profusi gaudio;
Patrick Hadley: I sing of a maiden;
William Mathias: Wassail Carol;
Trad: King Jesus Hath A Garden, Sussex Carol.

This CD has a touching poignancy in that it was the last recording made by the distinguished conductor and organist John Scott, who died at a tragically young age in August 2015. It was recorded in April and went to press a few days before John’s death, so has no reference to his death in the notes. An enormously influential musician and man, John Scott was organist and director of music at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral for 14 years before moving to New York to direct the choir and music of Saint Thomas, Fifth Avenue, one of the finest Anglican men and boys choirs outside of the UK.

It is perhaps appropriate that this recording is of Christmas music from John’s home country, centred on Benjamin Britten’s Continue reading