Christmas to Candlemas / Ensemble Gombert
Ensemble Gombert is one of Australia's finest choral groups. It is directed by John O'Donnell, an extraordinary musician who is well-known as an organist and harpsichordist, as well as being a highly respected academic. Under his direction this group of singers gives historically informed performances of choral music through the centuries, from Josquin to Arvo Pärt. Ensemble Gombert, heard frequently on ABC-FM, sings regularly in its home city, Melbourne, and is about to undertake a tour of Europe.
Christmas to Candlemas refers to the 40 day period from December 25, the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, commonly called Christmas, to February 2, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, as it is commonly called today, or Candlemas, as it was commonly known in the past, owing to the tradition of lighting candles during the singing of the Nunc dimittis before Mass.
So this is not yet another CD of Christmas music - it is a wide-ranging CD of music celebrating this 40 day period. Director John O'Donnell says: "The works on this disc have been selected from the Christmas to Candlemas programs that Ensemble Gombert has been performing annually since 1994. Often billed as "Melbourne's carol-free Christmas concert", Christmas to Candlemas usually features an array of motets and a Mass setting chosen from the vast array of riches from the High and Late Renaissance."
Gorgeously in-tune performances and a sumptuously resonant recording made in St Xavier's Chapel in Melbourne, make this CD a must for all lovers of choral music.
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