The Wallace Collection’s Victorian Christmas
PERFORMER: Trinity Boys Choir, Britten Singers, Wallace Collection/John Wallace
CATALOGUE NO: 9028-2
If it’s traditional Christmas fare you crave, you can’t do better than JVC’s Victorian Christmas. John Wallace’s period-instrument brass band, with the Trinity Boys Choir and full-grown Britten Singers, have put together a real cracker of a disc, with all the old favourites, many in unfamiliar guises: Mendelssohn’s ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ with organ interludes by SS Wesley, for example, or an American setting, by James R Murray, of ‘Away in a Manger’ that sounds, with its guitar accompaniment, like a cowboy lullaby.
Like all the best crackers, it contains both a novelty and a joke: for the former, we get four of WH Montgomery’s delightful Christmas Tree Quadrilles, infectiously boisterous dance numbers. As for the joke, try Trevor Herbert’s spruced-up version of the ‘Boar’s Head Carol’, with poor Anthony George attempting to negotiate the virtuoso roulades on his old ophicleide.