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The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge,
Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir
Prime Brass, Craig Apps and Sam Wilson percussion
Adam McDonagh piano, Michael Stephens-Jones and Aaron Shilson organ
Sarah MacDonald director

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The first disc entirely devoted to the compositions of Ben Parry. There is new choral music for the entire Christmas season from Advent to Epiphany. In addition to settings and arrangements of traditional texts there are several new carols with original words by Garth Bardsley.

Ben Parry is one of the UK’s most distinguished and versatile musicians. He studied at Cambridge, where he was a member of King’s College Choir. In the mid-1980s he joined The Swingle Singers as a singer, arranger and music director, touring globally and performing with some of the world’s greatest artists. He has subsequently been Director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus, Director of Choral Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and conductor of Haddo House Opera. He co-founded the Dunedin Consort, was Director of Music at St Paul’s School, London, then Director of the Junior Academy at the Royal Academy of Music. He is currently Artistic Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Assistant Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge.

Track List

The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir
Prime Brass
, Craig Apps and Sam Wilson percussion
Adam McDonagh
piano , Michael Stephens-Jones* and Aaron Shilsono organ
Sarah MacDonald

Three Angels o
Veni Emmanuel
Gabriel’s News‡o
Magnificat (from The Solihull Service)*
Adam lay ybounden
Il est né, le divin enfant
There is no rose
I sing of a maiden*
Five carols for SATB and piano
The Linden Tree Carol – German traditional
O, can you not hear? – English traditional (Waly, waly)
Tàladh Chrìosta – Gaelic traditional (Lullaby)
The Wexford Carol – Irish traditional
When Christ was born
Venite, Adoremus
Quem pastores laudavere
The Aldeburgh Carol
Christ’s Nativity*
Bright Star
Magi o‡†

Total Playing time: 72:58

Production credits

Recorded in Ely Cathedral 9–12 January 2019 by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter

Recording producer and engineer: Gary Cole

Assistant engineer: Andrew Gammon

Sample audio extracts


‘The lyrical melodies and comfortable harmonies of Ben Parry’s choral writing are as appealing to singers as to listeners. Ben Parry: Music for Christmas, with the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and the Girl Choristers of Ely Cathedral under the direction of Sarah MacDonald, is a useful release of well- known texts in all-new settings. The combined voices are effective advocates for repertoire to broaden the Christmas canon.’ Choir & Organ December 2019

‘The choirs, often divisi, often a cappella, and instrumentalists under the skilled and sensitive leadership of Sarah MacDonald serve this splendid music most persuasively with unanimous virtuosity. Warmly commended.’ ★★★★ Organists’ Review March 2020

‘The music is always imaginatively written and Parry’s background as a singer and arranger for the King’s Singers is clear from the highly effective way he uses his forces to create music that is approachable but interesting.’ Planet Hugill 2019

‘This is magnificent, full of energy, invigorating in its expression,…The brightness and precision of these young voices, so ably trained by Sarah MacDonald, are an absolute delight throughout’ Cathedral Music 2/20

‘This is music for listeners to enjoy and which choirs, whether amateur of professional, should consider adding to their repertoire…excellent performances throughout and compositions that deserve repeated listens this collection is well worth investigating. ’ Crossrhythms

‘…all have a simple charm.’ Church Times May 2020

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