The performance is excellent. The choir of Queen’s College numbers 32 singers (11/7/6/8). They sing the work splendidly and with great assurance and commitment. The sound is fresh and clear, the choir achieving a satisfying blend and very good diction. There are several opportunities for choir members to sing solos and all do very well. The only slight reservation—and it is a small one—is an occasional lack of weight in the male voices, unsurprising, perhaps, in an undergraduate ensemble. However, the singers have clearly been trained very well by Owen Rees and I’m sure David Bednall was delighted by their advocacy. I don’t know how the organ duties were shared out between the two organists, presumably the college’s Organ Scholars, but the organ accompaniments are clearly in good hands—and feet. As for the important trumpet part, it’s played brilliantly by Simon Desbruslais. His tone is bright, silvery and exciting to hear; for much of the time he’s required to play strongly but he’s equally capable of silky soft tone and on those occasions the trumpet sound falls very pleasingly on the ear. The sessions took place in Keble College Chapel, no doubt on account of the organ there. The production was in the very safe hands of Adrian Peacock and David Hinitt so it’s almost a given that the recording would be admirable … and it is.
Welcome all Wonders is an original and very rewarding addition to the Christmas choral repertoire.