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Track(s) taken from CDA67716

In dulci iubilo

composer
old German melody
arranger
1836
author of text
Latin and German of unknown origin
translator of text

Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor), William Fairbairn (treble), Cameron Roberts (treble), Daniel Parr (treble), Mark Dobell (tenor)
Recording details: February 2008
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by David Trendell
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2008
Total duration: 3 minutes 37 seconds

Cover artwork: Westminster Hall and Abbey by Daniel Havell (1785-1826)
Coloured aquatint by John Gendall (1790-1865) published by Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
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Reviews

'The best newly recorded Christmas CD by a country mile … terrific' (The Mail on Sunday)

'A must-have addition to any choral collection' (Choir & Organ)

'The Abbey choir's splendid performance … an ambitious and superbly sung programme, sympathetically framed within the choir's spaciously atmospheric home acoustic' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The Christmas Eve carol service at Westminster Abbey is one of the most warming events in the festive calendar, and this CD captures the atmosphere beautifully … the singing is a constant delight' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Westminster Abbey Choir commands top spot among this year's Christmas vocal releases. James O'Donnell and his choristers are on splendid form, upholding the character of each piece in a compelling programme without false sentiment or wanton display' (Classic FM Magazine)
Robert Pearsall’s In dulci jubilo is a choral arrangement par excellence—indeed, it is perhaps the archetype for the countless subsequent arrangements of traditional melodies for SATB choir. Pearsall’s carol can be heard as an ‘Englishing’ (or Anglican-ization?) of a foreign tradition, not dissimilar perhaps to the adoption of German Christmas traditions such as the Christmas Tree into English life in the mid-nineteenth century. (Victoria and Albert married in 1840, four years after Pearsall wrote his setting.) The original tune, which in the hands of Praetorius or Scheidt dances boisterously, is rendered soft-edged and quietly grand by Pearsall’s smooth harmony and effortless part-writing. In the later verses, Pearsall’s counterpoint often seizes the foreground from the original melody; more than simply a straightforward harmonization, this is almost a carol-fantasia.

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