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Track(s) taken from CDA67245

Shepherd's Pipe Carol

First line:
Going through the hills on a night all starry
author of text

Polyphony, City of London Sinfonia, Stephen Layton (conductor)
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

Other recordings available for download

The Cambridge Singers, City of London Sinfonia, John Rutter (conductor)


'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' (Classics Today)

'Les arrangements sont ingénieux’ (Diapason, France)
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

Célébrant un jeune berger jouant du pipeau sur son chemin vers Bethléem où il compte voir l’Enfant-Christ, Shepherd’s Pipe Carol est la quintessence du Rutter festif—animé, syncopé, rythmiquement précis. Un must pour toute liste des pièces sélectionnées afin de représenter l’indicatif musical de Rutter. Ce carol vit le jour dans les années 1960 à l’occasion d’un concert avec orchestre donné à Clare College de Cambridge alors que Rutter y était étudiant. Selon lui, son inspiration aurait pu germer de l’expérience acquise en chantant lorsqu’il était enfant Amahl and the Night Visitors, le légendaire opéra de Noël de Menotti. «Je pense que le pipeau entendu alors qu’Amahl se rend à Bethléem avec les Rois mages s’est ancré dans mon esprit.» Rutter savoure également l’histoire improbable mais apparemment véridique de ce carol qui devint quasiment un talisman aux Etats baltes dans les années difficiles de domination soviétique avant que finalement le rideau de fer ne tombe. «J’ai entendu dire qu’il circulait en secret sous forme de photocopies et de fax—que des chœurs le chantaient en guise de badge de résistance!»

extrait des notes rédigées par Andrew Green © 2001

Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, die Verherrlichung der Flötenmusik eines Hirtenjungen auf dem Weg nach Bethlehem, um das Christuskind zu sehen, ist auf typisch Ruttersche Art festlich—munter, synkopiert, rhythmisch straff. Das Stück gehört unweigerlich in die engere Auswahl der Nominierungen für eine Kennmelodie Rutters. Das Stück entstand in den 1960er Jahren für eine Konzertaufführung mit Orchester, die am Clare College Cambridge stattfand, während Rutter noch dort Student war. Er meint, die Inspiration könnte seine Erfahrung gewesen sein, als Knabensopran in Menottis legendärer Weihnachtsoper Amahl and the Night Visitors mitgesungen zu haben. „Ich halte es für möglich, daß ich mir das Flötenspiel, das zu hören ist, während Amahl mit den drei Weisen aus dem Morgenland nach Bethlehem zieht, eingeprägt habe.“ Rutter findet außerdem großen Gefallen an der unwahrscheinlichen, aber offenbar wahren Geschichte, daß dieses Carol in den baltischen Staaten in den gefahrvollen Tagen vor dem endgültigen Zusammenbruch der sowjetischen Vorherrschaft eine Art Talisman war. „Ich habe gehört, daß es im Geheimen auf Fotokopien und per Fax im Umlauf war—Chöre haben es als eine Art Symbol ihres Widerstandes gesungen!“

aus dem Begleittext von Andrew Green © 2001

Other albums featuring this work

A Christmas Present from Polyphony
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Rutter: The John Rutter Christmas Album
CSCD510Download only
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