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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67245
Recording details: January 2001
All Saints, Tooting, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2001
Total duration: 2 minutes 52 seconds

'It’s hard to imagine them better performed than by the award-winning British choir Polyphony' (The Mail on Sunday)

'The performances by both choir and orchestra are ideal in tone, style and accomplishment … A Christmas treat' (Gramophone)

'A treat for all Rutter fans! … the program is bound to satisfy anyone seeking a balanced program of Christmas choral music done with sensitivity and taste' (American Record Guide)

'Superb performances which are beautifully recorded’ (International Record Review)

'Those of you for whom Rutter is a new name are in for a very special treat. From the jaunty Shepherd's Pipe Carol, with its vivid portrayal of the starry sky above Bethlehem, to the sublime and deeply moving What Sweeter Music, Rutter's music is impeccably crafted, melodically rich and entirely infectious. More than a stocking-filler, this disc is surely one of the highlights of the year' (Classic FM)

'The carols of John Rutter are becoming as traditional at Christmas as mince pies, so rich is his output … [An] extraordinary disc. Rutter’s music is impeccably crafted, melodically rich and entirely infectious … this disc is surely one of the highlights of the year' (Classic FM Magazine)

‘when the chirpy Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, the instantly singable Star Carol, or the literal sound effects of the charming Donkey Carol are wrapped up in such glittering, top-quality packaging as Stephen Layton’s Polyphony and The City of London Sinfonia, its seasonal allure is sealed. Finely Polished performances, served up with a warm and festive mulled-wine sensation’ (The Scotsman)

'Lovingly rendered by Polyphony under Stephen Layton, this should be a disc of choice not only for this year but as well as for the years to come' (Fanfare, USA)

'Polyphony beautifully continue the English tradition with joyful refinement' (HMV Choice)

'[Rutter] could not have asked for better performers' (The Evening Standard)

'The performances are uniformly excellent; Stephen Layton and his Polyphony vocal ensemble have shown a previous affinity for Rutter’s work and this effort simply reaffirms their commitment to and love for this very special music. Outstanding' (ClassicsToday.com)

'Les arrangements sont ingénieux’ (Diapason, France)

Shepherd's Pipe Carol
composer
1960s
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, celebrating the piping of a shepherd boy on his way to see the Christ-child at Bethlehem, is quintessentially festive Rutter – sprightly, syncopated, rhythmically taut, and a must on any short-list for the nomination of a Rutter signature tune. It was written in the 1960s for a concert performance with orchestra given at Clare College, Cambridge, while Rutter was still an undergraduate. He fancies the inspiration may just have been the experience of singing as a boy soprano in Menotti’s legendary Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors: ‘I think the piping heard as Amahl heads for Bethlehem with the Wise Men may have stuck in my mind.’ Rutter also relishes the unlikely but apparently true story that the carol was something of a talisman in the Baltic States in the fraught days before Soviet control finally broke down: ‘I’ve heard that it was secretly circulated on photocopies and by fax … choirs were singing it as a kind of badge of resistance!’

from notes by Andrew Green © 2001

Other albums featuring this work
'A Christmas Present from Polyphony' (NOEL2)
A Christmas Present from Polyphony
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