Planet Hugill

Christmas Card Carols from Christopher Stokes and Intimate Voices on Divine Art [DDA25161] is another disc of contemporary carols, this time with a twist. All the carols on the disc are composed by the distinguished recorder player John Turner, and each was sent as an annual Christmas Card gift to friends.

There are 23 carols in all, some with just choir and some with choir and soloist, and there are instruments too. Stokes’ [sic: Turner’s] style is tonal but interesting, lyrical with harmonic twists. He has a very personal style, and successfully avoids direct influence from the more major contemporary carol writers. The texts vary between specially written ones, and familiar ones; Turner does not shy away from the familiar, there are lovely settings of Lullay, mine liking, Susanni and Away in a Manger. A disc worth exploring.

—Robert Hugill