“Immensely involving and stylish singing, beautifully recorded”: high praise for Gothic Voices’s new Christmas disc

9 January 2020

The Medieval specialists of Gothic Voices have received fantastic reviews for their new Christmas disc ‘Nowell synge we bothe al and som’, released in November on Linn Records.

In the ensemble’s long-awaited, first ever Christmas recording, Julian Podger has reimagined a fifteenth-century carol evening, placing late medieval English carols alongside chant, songs and motets for the Advent and Christmas season.

“it makes for bracing listening. Gothic Voices sing with such passion that there’s never a hint of dry scholarship. Favourite tracks? John Dunstaple’s thrilling motet Gaude virgo salutara and the poignantly simple carol Ther is no rose of swych virtu.” - Geoff Brown, The Times *****

“The glowing blend of tone and fluidity of phrasing in Dunstaple’s ‘Gaude virgo salutata’ is typical of all 25 tracks on the recording. Among these, mezzo-soprano Catherine King’s gently caressing ‘Lullay, lullay: Als I lay’ and the jubilant ‘Nowell: Owt of your slepe’ are obvious highlights, and the sound is excellent” - Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine

“A daring exercise in style, which highlights above all the poetic richness of English choral literature for Christmas” – Ariane Bavelier, Le Figaro

“This marvellously varied programme is rounded off with the joyous carol Nowell: Now man is bryghter, a sentiment the listener will surely agree with by the end of the disc. Whether you’re interested in the early development of a distinctively English musical style or simply want the authentic taste of a medieval Christmas celebration, Gothic Voices’ immensely involving and stylish singing, beautifully recorded in Boxgrove Priory, Chichester, will prove a festive treat. There are excellent notes by tenor Julian Podger (the ensemble’s director), full texts and modern English translations, and handsome presentation. All in all, a uniquely absorbing Christmas disc that really stands out from the crowd.” - Europadisc [Disc of the Week]

“differs pleasantly from conventional “Christmas albums.” – RBB Kulturradio

“This has to be my Advent and Christmas choice this year…As of old, they eschew dressing the music up for a modern audience: there are just four first-rate voices at play here, with no cornetts, sackbutts or even an organ, and the results are as pure and perfect as on those earlier recordings.”- Brian Wilson, musicweb-international

“It seems extraordinary that this should be Gothic Voices' first Christmas-themed album; nevertheless, it has been worth the wait to hear these well-known works performed by this ensemble...The Christmas section contains familiar carols to satisfy all audiences including Lullay lullay: Als I lay and Ther is no rose of swych virtu but also gems of true Gothic Voices territory such as Queldryk's (fl c1400) Gloria and a Sanctus by Leonel Power (d1445). The Gloria in particular is a model of nimble, thrilling performance. Living up to their new tagline, 'unaccompanied close medieval harmonies', this album will surely become a firm seasonal favourite.”- Edward Breen, Gramophone

For more information on the disc, visit the website of Linn Records here.

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