Nothing says Christmas like the insane final verse of a carol - but which descants are the absolute best?
A new collection of Christmas music from the Vasari Singers and their conductor Jeremy Backhouse is bound to get you in a festive mood. Drive Featured Album, 10 December 2012.
The impressively jazzy Jingle Bells with quirky key changes and swirling harmonies is light-hearted and exciting, but it's not just the frivolous carols that benefit from a modern reworking. Even the traditional Gabriel's Message has an unexpected cheeky twist, in an arrangement by J. Rathbone.
But it's not all lively frolics and off-beat rhythms. Es ist ein Ros entsprungen is simply ethereal, with the traditional 16th Century melody building from a single reflective hum into glorious lengthened chords, effectively combining modern harmonies with the simple tune.
An impressive combination of the silly and the sublime, the Vasari Singers prove they can combine 16th Century polyphony with 20th Century favourites, to striking and often beautiful effect.