Psalmody, The Parley of Instruments, Peter Holman (conductor)
As the season of turkey and stuffing looms in our minds, there could be no more homey a disc for Christmas than this unusual collection championing the village genius of local composers, whose settings of carols and hymns kept the congregations warm all those years ago—a time when the commercial excesses of today's Christmas were unknown. Modern clichés about community values have nothing in comparison to the humble pride and unity of villagers and townsfolk who gathered to sing settings that were the labour of love and skill on the part of the local composer or choirmaster ... or even excise officer! The foibles and fondness of community life combine here with all manner of interesting tastes in compositional technique, be it idiosyncratic fugal treatment or instrumentation designed to keep busy whatever musicians could be mustered. The organ on the recording dates from 1789 and the old temperament is used.