Salisbury Cathedral launches first Christmas album for a decade
On 15 November 2023, Salisbury Cathedral Choir is releasing its first Christmas album for over a decade on its own recently founded Salisbury Cathedral record label.
The album entitled Salisbury Christmas is a collection of Christmas carols old and new, sung by Salisbury Cathedral Choir, with John Challenger (organ), directed by David Halls. The album features the full Cathedral Choir, girl and boy choristers and adult singers, accompanied on the famous ‘Father’ Willis organ.
Many works on the album have a particular Salisbury link. Several carols are arrangements by the late Sir David Willcocks, Organist at Salisbury Cathedral in the 1940s and subsequently Director of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, famous for Carols from King’s on BBC television and radio each Christmas Eve. Herbert Howells, another former organist, is represented in the beautiful carol, Sing lullaby along with a new award-winning work, Toccata on the Advent hymn ‘Wachet auf’, by David Halls, the Cathedral’s current Director of Music.
Across the decades there has been another change, with work by women composers included in the album line up. Amongst those is Errollyn Wallen, the award-winning composer named as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2018, who was commissioned by Salisbury Cathedral Choir to write Salisbury Carol. Errollyn’s carol was first performed in Salisbury Cathedral on 22 December 2022 and is a tribute to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Other women composers include Cecilia McDowall, Sally Beamish and Jeanne Demessieux. There is also a carol by contemporary favourite composer, John Rutter.
As is fitting for a home-grown album, the cover image has been supplied by Salisbury photographer and ICU consultant Martin Cook.
David Halls, Salisbury Cathedral’s Director of Music, said:
“Christmas is a very special time of year at the Cathedral, and we welcome thousands of worshippers and concert-goers over this very busy period. The selection of works on this album incorporates several old and well-known Christmas carols as well as newer works, and I’m delighted that, through this new album, we can share the joy of Christmas from Salisbury Cathedral with people at home.”
Proceeds from sales of recordings released by Salisbury Cathedral continue to support the Cathedral’s music funds, continuing our rich tradition of music as well as enabling future projects.