The best new Christmas classical recordings released in 2021

An Elizabethan Christmas

Fretwork, Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano)
Signum Classics SIGCD680


Viol consort Fretwork and mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston explore the more sombre, reflective Christmases that our Elizabethan ancestors would have experienced.

Christmas Carols with The King's Singers

Signum Classics SIGCD683

You had me at ‘The King’s Singers’. What’s not to love? It’s a typically varied programme which reaches across the decades, performed with pitch-perfect vivacity and no small amount of joy. Very glad tidings.

Review by Michael Beek.

In the Bleak Midwinter - Christmas Carols from King's

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Daniel Hyde, Matthew Martin (organ)
King's College KGS0060

Release date: 5 November 2021

Vaughan Williams: An Oxford Christmas

Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital/William Vann, Joshua Ryan (organ)
Albion ALBCD050

This beautiful disc features Vaughan Williams' arrangements of the Oxford Book of Carols. 'Variety in the method of singing is even more important than with hymns, and the verses should never be sung straight through all in the same way,' the liner notes tell us. That is why conductor William Vann has curated a programme of carols featuring a judicious mix of solo, unaccompanied and accompanied passages.

Carol of the Bells (Leontovich, Rodney Bennett, Eric Whitacre, Bob Chilcott et al)

The Sixteen/Harry Christophers, Alexandra Kidgell, Edward McMullan, Mark Dobell, Robert Macdonald, Ben Davies, Rob Macdonald, Katy Hill, Tim Jones, Charlotte Mobbs, George Pooley
Coro COR16188

Release date: 1 October 2021

The Knights Before Christmas (Carols/Trad Songs)

The Knights (chamber orchestra)
Bright Shiny Things BSTC-0159

Release date: 29 October 2021

A Belfast Christmas

Belfast Cathedral Choir/Matthew Owens
Resonus RES10292

Release date: 29 October 2021

Christmas Bells - Organ Music from Belfast Cathedral

Resonus RES10293

Winter Tales (Works by Brian Eno, Vikingur Olafsson, Peter Gregson, Hania Rani et al)

DG 486 1504

Release date: 5 November 2021

A Medieval Christmas – Hodie Christus Natus Est

The Boston Camerata/Anne Azéma

Release date: 29 October 2021

100 Christmas Meditation (5CD)

Wiener Sängerknaben
Capriccio C7371

Release date: 8 October 2021


Click through for our round-up of the best Christmas classical recordings of all time.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.