Romantic Christmas

COMPOSERS: Max Reger,Wilhelm Kienzl
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
PERFORMER: RIAS Chamber Choir; Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Kristjan Järvi


The RIAS Chamber Choir’s ROMANTIC CHRISTMAS album (Harmonia Mundi HMC 901794, £15.99), a potentially valuable collection of 23 a cappetta pieces by mostly little-known German Romantic composers (Nossler, Becker, Silcher, Riedel, etc).

Neatly programmed as an Advent-to-Nativity narrative, it is punctuated by nine neo-Baroque chorales by Max Reger and includes two charming folk-style shepherds’ songs by Wilhelm Kienzl (composer of both the 1918 Austrian national anthem and the once-popular opera Der Evangelimann).


But while it’s all worthy and well sung, it’s also a tad dull. Which brings us to the finalists in this year’s competition for the coveted title of ‘Christmas Disc from Hell’.