CHRISTMAS from DUBLIN
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Choir
David Collins & Rick Cowan trumpets Bethan Watkeys horn
Gavin Roche trombone Francis Magee tuba
David Leigh organ
directed by Stuart Nicholson
‘Until this most enjoyable album came my way, I didn’t even know there was a Church of Ireland. I soon learned that the denomination (Ireland’s second largest, after the Catholic Church) is an autonomous member of the Anglican Communion, though it remains somewhat closer to its pre-reformation Catholic roots.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the denomination’s two cathedral churches in Dublin; the other is Christ Church Cathedral. St Patrick’s is blessed to have a world-class boy-treble choir, upholding a tradition of nearly 600 years; its 21 choristers are educated at the Cathedral Choir School, Ireland’s only institution of its kind. From the evidence heard here, I don’t hesitate to testify that this ensemble can stand toe-to-toe with most of England’s better cathedral choirs. The boys have a particularly sweet and smooth sound, matched perfectly by the men.
Their program is a distinctly Anglican assortment of traditional hymns and carols that you would expect to hear at a typical English lessons-and-carols service. Name your favorite seasonal English standards (‘The Holly and the Ivy’, ‘In Dulci Jubilo’, ‘Wexford Carol’) and there’s a solid chance you’ll find them here. Exemplary sound quality for a cathedral recording; notes and texts.’
American Record Guide November 2015
I especially enjoyed Christmas from Dublin, a lustily sung collection of mainly traditional carols from the Choir of Saint Patrick's Cathedral...'
The Mail on Sunday 22.12.2013
A beautiful collection of Christmas music from the men and boys’ choir of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
In addition to popular favourites there are new arrangements of ‘The holly and the ivy’, the traditional Irish ‘Wexford Carol’, and a haunting new carol for Epiphany ‘Star of the East’ from young composer – and member of the choir – Ernest Dines.
Some of the carols feature brass in rousing fanfares and uplifting accompaniments, and the collection comes to a thrilling conclusion with ‘Hark! The herald angels sing’ in the unique version sung every Christmas in St Patrick’s to the tune of Handel’s’ See, the conqu’ring hero comes’ from ‘Judas Maccabeus’.
Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. The present building dates from 1220, and became a cathedral in 1224.
Today St Patrick’s is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland (a church of the Anglican communion) and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland.
St Patrick’s has the only choir school in Ireland, which was founded in 1432. In 1742 the combined choirs of St Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedrals gave the first performance of Handel’s Messiah.
O come all ye faithful John Francis Wade arr David Willcocks ((3.23)
Jesus Christ the apple tree Elizabeth Poston (3:24)
The holly and the ivy English traditional, arr John Dexter (3:16)
What child is this Andrew Gant (3:53)
Ding dong! merrily on high 6th-c French, arr Stuart Nicholson (3:00)
O little town of Bethlehem
English traditional, arr Ralph Vaughan Williams and Thomas Armstrong (3:20)
A hymn to the virgin Benjamin Britten (3:22)
In dulci jubilo German traditional, arr Robert Lucas de Pearsall (3:47)
In dulci jubilo BWV 729 Johann Sebastian Bach (2:44)
Shepherd’s Carol Bob Chilcott (3:30)
Star of the East Ernest Dines (4:17)
Here is the little door Herbert Howells (3:59)
God rest you merry, gentlemen English traditional, arr David Willcocks (3:06)
My dancing day Carl Rütti (3:13)
Wexford Carol Irish traditional, arr Timothy Noon ((3:40)
What sweeter music John Rutter(4:53)
Hark the herald angels sing (as sung in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin)
George Friderick Handel, arr George Hewson, Cornelius George Bannister, and Stuart Nicholson (5:57)
Total Playing time: 62:47