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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: 4 minutes 15 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)

What sweeter music?
composer
author of text
abridged and altered

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Dormi Jesu (1999) and the ravishing What sweeter music? (1988) were both written for the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and its director of music Stephen Cleobury – for performance during the college’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols which is broadcast around the world on Christmas Eve. The words of Dormi Jesu (also known as The Virgin’s Cradle Hymn) come from a German print depicting the Virgin Mary which was discovered by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. John Rutter created the string arrangement especially for this recording. What sweeter music? (with words by the poet Robert Herrick) represented, says Rutter, ‘… the first opportunity I had to put pen to paper for the choir in my long and friendly association with King’s College. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to write for the slot in the service immediately after the reading about the journey of the Wise Men – the chance to highlight in the text the idea of the gifts that we can bring.’

from notes by Andrew Green © 2001

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