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Monday, December 25, 2017

The King's Singers: Christmas Songbook (Audio video)

It has been ten years since The King's Singers' last full-production Christmas album, called simply "Christmas". That album was quite traditional in style, bringing together a number of contemporary and traditional carols and giving the feel of an Advent or Christmas carol service. It continues to be popular amongst audiences around the world, but more and more often we have been asked when the next Christmas offering would surface. That time has now come.

Having completed "The Great American Songbook" project a few years ago, the group started to look at a Christmas equivalent. We looked at the seasonal songs performed by The Rat Pack and their contemporaries, and found many that we loved, but decided to draw up a balanced track list to include popular carols as well as jazz songs. With The King's Singers' 50th Anniversary approaching, as well as the 100th Anniversary of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge – the spiritual home of the group – the result is a disc that pays homage to our roots whilst acknowledging our current penchant for swing.

Traditional favourites such as In the bleak mid-winter and the beautiful Austrian carol Still, still, still, jockey for position amongst modern-day classics like Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman and Sleigh ride. All are presented in new arrangements by some of our favourite arrangers: Robert Rice, Keith Roberts and Alexander L'Estrange. All in all, the perfect soundtrack to your Christmas Holiday, whatever the weather!

The King's Singers, 2016

The King's Singers: Christmas Songbook

1. John Frederick Coots (1897-1985), Arr. Alexander L'Estrange (b. 1974): Santa Claus is coming to town
2. Gustav Holst (1874-1934), Arr. Alexander L'Estrange: In the bleak midwinter
3. Robert Meredith Willson (1902-1984), Arr. Alexander L'Estrange: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
4. Traditional, Arr. Alexander L'Estrange: Still, still, still
5. Peter J. Wilhousky (1902-1978), Arr. Keith Roberts: Carol of the bells
6. Richard Storrs Willis (1819-1900), Arr. Robert Rice (b. 1971): It came upon the midnight clear
7. Walter Rollins (1906-1973), Steve Nelson (1907-1981) & Johnny Marks (1909-1985), Arr. Robert Rice: Frosty vs. Rudolph: The Re-boot
8. Irving Berlin (1888-1989), Arr. Robert Rice: White Christmas
9. Traditional, Arr. Robert Rice: Ding dong! Merrily on high
10. Traditional, Arr. Robert Rice: The First Nowell
11. Mitchell Parrish (1900-1993), Arr. Alexander L'Estrange: Sleigh ride
12. Michael Carr (1905-1968), Tommie Connor (1904-1993) & Jimmy Leach (1905-1975), Arr. Alexander L'Estrange: The little boy that Santa Claus forgot
13. Franz Xaver Gruber (1787-1863), Arr. Keith Roberts: Silent night
14. Felix Bernard (1897-1944), Arr. Alexander L'Estrange: Winter Wonderland
15. Hugh Martin (1914-2011), Arr. Keith Roberts: Have yourself a merry little Christmas
16. Traditional, Arr. Alexander L'Estrange: We wish you a merry Christmas

The King's Singers:
David Hurley, countertenor
Timothy Wayne-Wright, countertenor
Julian Gregory, tenor
Christopher Bruerton, baritone
Christopher Gabbitas, baritone
Jonathan Howard, bass

Recorded in Dennington Studios, Wellingborough, UK from 21-22, 25-26 January and 22-23 March 2016

Signum Classics 2016

(HD 1080p – Audio video)

Photo by Chris O'Donovan

See also

Christmas with the Faces of Classical Music

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