Album review: Paul McCreesh, Gabrieli Consort ,Incarnation (Signum Classics)


The latest of Paul McCreesh's projects with the Gabrieli Consort, Incarnation, offers his distinctive take on a Christmas album, with Renaissance hymnody eschewed in favour of a blend of Ancient and Modern, in which recent carols like Jonathan Dove's polyphonic setting of Dorothy L Sayers' "The Three Kings" are set alongside medieval texts, climaxing in Britten's multi-section suite A Boy Was Born. It's done in austere manner, with no fashionable drones or tintinnabulation blurring the edges: instead, unison vocals present "Veni, Veni Emanuel" as simply as possible, while a solo alto renders "Lullay, Lullay" as a lilting line that develops hypnotic power through church reverb.

Download: Adam lay ybounden; Lullay, Lullay; This endere Nyghth I saw a syghth; A Boy Was Born