Dancing Day

COMPOSERS: John Rutter
LABELS: Herald
PERFORMER: Jean Price (Harp), Paul Morgan (Organ), The Choirs of Exeter Cathedral/ Andrew Millington, Stephen Tanner

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CATALOGUE NO: HAVPCD 279

Another Rutter work, DANCING DAY, forms the centrepiece (and lends its title) to a finely sung Christmas collection from the choirs of Exeter Cathedral (Herald HAVPCD 279).

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But while Rutter’s 1974 ‘homage’ to the harp-and-high-voices model of Britten’s incomparable A Ceremony of Carols is among his stronger works, it’s the opening item that gives this CD its USE Instituted by Exeter’s bishop at the time of the cathedral’s completion, the ‘Office of John Grandisson for Christmas Eve’ preserves a unique 14th-century ritual — in which the darkness is broken by two choirboys emerging from behind the high altar bearing lighted candles – that may not have the cachet of Cambridge’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols but predates it by some 600 years.