2020’s 8 Best Classical Christmas Albums

By Lisa Flynn |

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Every year, the holiday season brings a new assortment of fabulous and festive Christmas albums. For 2020, a truly unprecedented year, the staples of Christmas music, both sacred and secular, speak to us more than ever before. Let them accompany your celebrations this season and for many more to come.

Be All Merry

The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin; Irish Chamber Orchestra; Desmond Earley, conductor
The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin are an internationally acclaimed chamber choir of gifted student singers. Their holiday album features glorious arrangements of traditional Irish carols and a selection of new works written for this most versatile of choirs, some with effervescent accompaniment from the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
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Britten: A Ceremony of Carols

Choir of Clare College, Cambridge; Graham Ross, conductor
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and conductor Graham Ross invite you to explore traditional carols in offerings by 20th-century British composers, most notably Benjamin Britten. Arranged around his famous Ceremony of Carols is a selection of wonderful choral pieces, each of which testifies to the meticulous care Britten brought to these musical gems, most of them deriving from English folk tradition.
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Carols from King’s: 2020 Collection

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge; Dónal McCann organ; Daniel Hyde, conductor
Traditional and contemporary Christmas carols performed and recorded live at King’s College Cambridge make up this collection. Twelve selections are taken from the two Christmas services at King’s in December 2019: “Carols from King’s,” the popular television broadcast, and the cherished Christmas Eve service of “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.”
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Chanticleer Sings Christmas

The Christmas concerts of Chanticleer are an institution in the United States, and international tours and recordings have made the brilliant male-voice ensemble familiar to audiences all over the world. On their new Christmas album, Chanticleer embraces traditional carols and gospel numbers, plainsong, European and Mexican music of the 16th and 17th centuries, and composers and arrangers of the present day.
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Love Enfolds Thee Round

TENET Vocal Artists
TENET, a New York City-based early music ensemble, presents a Christmas disc of music spanning medieval to modern-day repertoire. True to the ensemble’s mission, TENET’s pristine, one-on-a-part singing lends itself well to both familiar and rarely heard songs and carols featured in this recording.
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Sacred Treasures of Christmas

London Oratory Schola Cantorum; Charles Cole, conductor
The London Oratory Schola Cantorum presents the latest release in their anthology of sacred repertoire drawn from the liturgical motets sung at the school. The choir has gathered the motets by season rather than by geography, focusing on works celebrating the Nativity, before moving on to the Feast of the Epiphany and the Adoration of the Magi, and concluding with the Purification of the Virgin.

So Hallow’d the Time

Taylor Festival Choir; Robert Taylor, conductor
Featuring original Christmas works by two distinguished American composers — Brian Galante and Stephen Paulus — So Hallow’d the Time combines poetry and music beautifully. Performed by the Taylor Festival Choir of Charleston, South Carolina, one of America’s finest professional chamber choirs, the recording offers delightful new music at Christmastime.
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A Winter’s Night

Winchester College Chapel Choir; Onyx Brass; Benjamin Cunningham, organ; Howard Ionascu, director
The addition of a brass ensemble to Christmas concerts and services, combining with the more traditional sounds of choir and organ, has become increasingly popular in recent years. The Winchester College Chapel Choir and Onyx Brass bring together a number of works for the forces of choir, brass quintet, organ, and percussion, some of which have been arranged specially for this release.
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