The Spirit of Christmas


RTE Concert Orchestra & Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Gavin Sutherland and Barry Wordsworth (conductors)

HTGCD299 – 5060332661596

Philip Lane, ‘The doyen of British Light Music’ (James Jolly, Gramophone), has collaborated with Heritage for this Christmas release – orchestral music for the festive season composed by leading figures in the Light Music movement. Most works featured here are based, to a greater or lesser extent, on ‘traditional tunes’, suitably ‘adorned’ for orchestra and the concert hall. Several are entirely original but allude to the Christmas story in their various facets. The recording features several world premieres, indicated below.

Heritage is delighted that Joanna Lumley and John Julius Norwich feature as narrators for Adam Saunders’ new setting of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Gordon Thornett: Festive Overture: The Joy of Christmas *

Gian Carlo Menotti: Introduction, March & Shepherds' Dance from 'Amahl and the Night Visitors'

Adam Saunders: The Twelve Days of Christmas *

Narrators: Joanna Lumley & John Julius Norwich

Thomas Hewitt Jones: What Child is this? (A Christmas Lullaby) *

Philip Spratley: A Christmas Rondel *

Matthew Curtis: Christmas Spirit *

Roy Moore: A Christmas Medley *

Peter Warlock: Bethlehem Down, a carol for strings

Bryan Kelly: Sir Roger de Coverley (Christmas Dance)

Bryan Kelly: A Christmas Celebration

Total time: 72'24"



  1. admin

    The performances are bright, breezy and full of joy. The recordings are close, clear and sparkling. A very good Christmas CD indeed.
    John Whitmore, MusicWeb International, Christmas 2015

  2. admin

    There’s a sprightly “12 Days of Christmas” by Adam Saunders, entertainingly narrated with increasing exasperation by Joanna Lumley, together with excerpts from Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and various medleys and other arrangements that it would be fun to have on in the background.
    Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph (The Telegraph Best Classical CDs for Christmas), Christmas 2015

  3. admin

    Performance: ****
    Recording: ****
    ‘Crisp, energetic performances from both the orchestras and their respective conductors.’
    Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2015

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