It arrived on the market only just in time for Christmas, and you may be feeling carolled-out by now, but the CD entitled The Silver Stars at Play is indeed so starry that perhaps it is worth stocking up in time for next Christmas. The Silver Stars at Play is sub-titled Contemporary Christmas Carols, but don’t let that frighten you away. There is such a range of different carols that it is almost impossible for me to pick out a favourite, from the brilliant tour-de-force of As-salamu alaykum Bethlehem by Sadie Harrison to the gentle lilt of This time is Born a Child by Cheryl Frances-Hoad; from the wistful That Yongë Child by Peter Parshall to the celebratory Hodie Christus natus est by Paul Ayres. Some carols are re-settings of popular words, such as Away in a Manger by John Turner and Silent Night by Mark Hewitt. Others have specially written words and music, such as Christmas Music by Andrew Mayes. Susanni by Phillip Cooke and Balulalow by Matthew Coleridge are among several which are hauntingly ethereal. And yes, there is the delightful use by Peter Maxwell Davies of a Hebridean tune in Child of the Manger, and a simple re-working of Psalm 122, Pray that Jerusalem may have Peace and felicity, as a plea for peace, by John McCabe.
It is all beautifully sung by the rising young choir, Kantos, directed by Elspeth Slorach, on ASC Prima Facie PFCD 075. You will not regret buying this CD.
© Monica McCabe