The York Waits, Yule Riding, Music For The Twelve Days (Beautiful Jo Records) *****

Wrapping: Five of the York Waits in ancient garb spookily gathered round a blazing firebrand, superimposed on an ancient map.
Style: Strictly speaking, 'early' music. Actually, a re-creation of an Olde Worlde Christmas, telling it like it was in the 16th century.
Content: Inspired by Yule Riding, a ceremony in York that announced the start of Christmas, 26 tracks of carols and seasonal pieces for medieval band, from all over Europe. Deborah Catterall's alluring soprano captures many different moods. Instrumentalists - lute, recorders, crumhorns especially - are ravishing.
'Tis the reason to be jolly: Salutary ear-cleaning after commercial Muzak, plus tear-jerking reminder of Christmas realities.
Scrooge moan: Could be expensive on the Kleenex.
Silent Night? No, but try In Dulci Jubilo or Joseph Lieber, Joseph Mein as lullabies.
White Christmas? No, but plenty of snow in El Desembre Congelat, a Catalan carol.
Ideal gift for: Anyone looking to strip away the tinsel. Would soften the hardest or saddest heart.

Martin Dreyer

york twenty4seven music, Yorkshire Evening Post

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