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Christmas comes but once a year – and with it a stocking full of seasonal releases that this year range far and wide in terms of time and geography. No better place to start than at the beginning, with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen’s Song of the Nativity, as bright and welcoming as a fall of snow on Christmas morning. Traditional and modern, it boasts all the consummate delicacy and impeccably blended singing long associated with this venerable partnership. The accent, heralded by Lauridsen’s reverential O magnum mysterium and Howard Skempton’s harmonically alert Adam lay y-bounden, is on the contemplative majesty of the miracle of Christ’s birth. Spirited accounts of John Gardner’s When Christ was born of Mary free and James MacMillan’s ebullient O radiant dawn speak eloquently of seasonal joy.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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