Music for Advent and Christmas 'Fear and Rejoice, O People'



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"A truly beautiful CD of voices blending to give a spiritual experience of ethereal quality. If this is what you are after, I thoroughly recommend it."- Gillian McWhirter

"Here featured is some wonderful Christmas music by the Choir of St.John's College of Cambridge. As with the King's College, this is another utterly angelic English choir of boys and men who I first came to know by way of a beautiful collection of music by English Renaissance composer, Orlando Gibbons. On "Fear and Rejoice, O People" St. John's uncovers a beautiful mix of Christmas music both ancient and modern, always with a feeling of solemnity and grace that allows one track to flow into the next despite the fact that the songs are composed centuries apart from one another."- Joe Anthony

"I initially purchased this CD for the title work, which is by an English Eastern Orthodox composer. It consists of rapidly-delivered lines about the Incarnation and Christ's coming in glory interspersed with three rich and intense exhortations to "fear and rejoice o ye people," along with many, many alleluias. It really does succeed in conveying the complex character of Advent -- a favorite (but difficult to articulate) season of joy, expectation, repentance, and longing. Indeed, I often program the playback so as to separate out the Advent pieces from those for Christmas, enjoying the opportunity to meditate on this all-too-brief season's themes. The other works on the disc are very fine, as well. Some are familiar, some are new. The spacious organ accompaniment to the soaring trebles in "A Little Hymn to Mary," and the knowing, subtle poetry and setting of "Here is the Little Door" are two favorites of mine, as well as the rhythmically fresh "Tomorrow shall be my dancing day" and "Remember, O thou man" (I was singing these two pieces to myself at the mall recently as a counterpoint to the consumer frenzy all about me). The recording and singing are very fine throughout, and the cover photo expresses well the sense of beauty, mystery, history, crispness and freshness of all aspects of this release. Enjoy!"- B. Filbert

"If you love the classic style of cathedral choir music, you need to have this album in your Christmas collection. The choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, performs a variety of beautiful Christmas works, ancient and modern - including John Tavener's fiendishly difficult "Fear and Rejoice," which provides the title for this album. This isn't just good background music for a holiday party; you'll probably want to stop what you're doing and actually listen! FEAR AND REJOICE is one of my favorite CDs and I love giving copies as Christmas gifts to my music-loving friends."- M. Lichlyter

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