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The Gesualdo Six, Owain Park: Christmas (24/192 FLAC)

The Gesualdo Six, Owain Park: Christmas (24/192 FLAC)
The Gesualdo Six, Owain Park: Christmas (24/192 FLAC)


Composer: Eleanor Daley, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Jacob Handl, Jonathan Dean Harvey, Hans Leo Hassler, Gustav Theodore Holst, William James Kirkpatrick, Owain Park, James Pierpont, Michael Praetorius, Jonathan Rathbone, John Rutter, Thomas Tallis
Performer: The Gesualdo Six
Conductor: Owain Park
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Hyperion
Catalogue: CDA68299
Release: 2019
Size: 2.74 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. anon.: Veni Emmanuel
02. Praetorius: Nun komm der heiden Heiland
03. Harvey: The Annunciation
04. Tallis: Videte miraculum
05. Frances-Hoad: The promised light of life
06. anon.: Gaudete
07. Vaughan Williams: The truth sent from above
08. Praetorius: Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
09. anon.: Angelus ad virginem
10. Holst: Lullay my liking, H129, Op. 34 No. 2
11. Rutter: There is a flower
12. Handl: Canite tuba in Sion
13. anon.: There is no rose
14. Hassler: Verbum caro factum est
15. anon.: Coventry Carol
16. Park: On the infancy of our saviour
17. Daley: Love came down at Christmas
18. anon.: In dulci jubilo
19. Rathbone: The Oxen
20. Kirkpatrick: Away in a Manger
21. Pierpont: Jingle Bells

From the timeless plainchant ‘Veni Emmanuel’ via Jonathan Harvey to a riotous ‘Jingle bells’: Owain Park presents a programme of Christmas treats which effortlessly spans the centuries.

Owain Park is a rapidly rising figure on the British scene, with dual competence as an ensemble leader and a composer. In addition to appearances with collegiate and cathedral choirs, he leads his own small group, the Gesualdo Six, which here offers a holiday album as its sophomore release. It’s both original in concept and beautifully executed. Whereas the usual programming divides a concert or album into sections of Renaissance and contemporary music, Park mixes them up. He then adds medieval carols rooted in chant, like the opening Veni Emmanuel. The subtext is that English music from medieval times to John Rutter, and for that matter Park (who gives himself just one piece here), is a single unbroken tradition, and the position has rarely been so forcefully and attractively argued. Park gets from his Gesualdo Six (he sings bass) a lyrical madrigalesque style that can, in a few of the modern pieces and in the delightful Jingle Bells at the end, shade off into scoopy King’s Singers devices. The group is also crystal clear in the dissonances of the medieval settings and in the harmonic complexities of Bach’s rendering of In dulci iubilo. The Gesualdo Six already command a wide range of repertory, and one breathlessly awaits what this young group will do next. As it is, this is among the strongest holiday releases of 2019.

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