If you have a catalog of Christmas music as distinguished as Hyperion’s, putting together a compilation such as this makes perfect sense–provided the programming is intelligently chosen and organized. And it is, beginning with the opening “English parish church” version of While shepherds watched their flocks by night and flowing through works by composers such as Schütz, Gabrieli, Rutter, Poulenc, Berlioz, and Praetorius. Many of Hyperion’s finest recordings and performing ensembles are represented: the Westminster Cathedral Choir’s “There is no rose of such virtue” from Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, and the same group’s rendition of Harold Darke’s beloved In the bleak mid-winter and Poulenc’s truly mysterious O magnum mysterium; the Corydon Singers in Britten’s own setting of In the bleak mid-winter from his choral symphony A Boy was Born; The Sixteen performing the Spanish carol Riu, riu chiu; Polyphony’s exquisite version of Kenneth Leighton’s Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child; Psalmody’s performance of Peter Cornelius’ Epiphany staple Die Könige; and many others. The program notes do not fail to give us the discs (and catalog numbers) from which these selections are taken; and if Christmas music is on your agenda—for yourself or for your best friends or most favored family members, this disc and/or any of its original sources should make an ideal choice. The recording concludes with John Tavener’s God is with us—the only weak spot on the program. But then, even the loveliest Christmases come with the occasional ugly tie or unwelcome electrical appliance. And that’s a small price to pay for all that other beautiful stuff!