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If you've been attracted to Benjamin Britten's music by the film Moonrise Kingdom, this album makes an exceptionally good place to start getting to know more of his music: it features two of the composer's best-loved works, both on Christmas themes and both written at a modest level of virtuosity like that of the little oratorio Noye's Fludde, featured in the film. If you didn't come to the album via that route, it's still a strong presentation of some Britten favorites. A Ceremony of Carols, written in 1942 as Britten returned to Britain from the U.S., is a brilliantly innocent setting of some old English texts for three-part high chorus, soloists, and harp. Ideally suited for boys' voices, it works equally well, and indeed was originally conceived for a choir of women as it is done here. Even though Britten very soon got on board with the idea of boychoir performance, it's a pleasure to hear it this way. The work is paired with the Christmas cantata Saint Nicolas, for tenor, chorus, four-hand piano,... Hide synopsis

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