Christmas has always been a special time for Ex Cathedra, and our roots are firmly established in the wonderful repertoire associated with this joyful time of year. In our 40-year history we have made two LPs, two cassettes and four CDs of Christmas music. This is the first recording which features the choir, Consort and our Academy of Vocal Music.
‘And finally, out of the bran tub comes my favourite Christmas choral disc of 2009 – Joy in the morning, another wide-ranging collection from Jeffrey Skidmore’s excellent Birmingham-based choir, Ex Cathedra. There’s entertainment aplenty, from John Gardner’s loose-canon [sic] setting of The holly and the ivy to the reindeer-calling Ole leloila and Skidmore’s sly 14-part setting of We wish you a merry Christmas in Venetian Baroque style. And as well as “standards” by Britten, Willcocks and Darke, there’s seldom-heard Mendelssohn, substantial Kenneth Leighton, and captivating novelties by Alec Roth, Naji Hakim and Martin Bates.’ (Choir & Organ)
‘Concentrated thought and artistic conviction inform Jeffrey Skidmore’s eclectic repertoire selection for Joy in the morning, twin blessings that govern its compelling cumulative impact… Ex Cathedra’s tonal warmth and collective ability to generate evocative atmosphere add to the pleasures of listening.’ (Classic FM)
‘Ex Cathedra’s Christmas is more meditative … with contributions from the Gaelic fringe, continental Europe and Lapland, and leading off with a processional by Alec Roth to a text adapted by Vikram Seth from ancient Buddhist scriptures. A highlight for me is a raptly sung “For He shall give his angels”, an ineffable anthem drawn from Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and the most exciting performance I’ve heard of John Gardner’s ” Tomorrow shall be my dancing day”… (Gramophone)
‘Ex Cathedra’s “Joy in the morning” is an exhilarating mix of Christmas music from all periods and countries.’ (Birmingham Post)
‘The standard both of singing and playing is absolutely first rate throughout the programme. Factor in excellent recorded sound and documentation and you have a most enjoyable and enterprising Christmas offering from Ex Cathedra. The Christmas CD market is overflowing but this issue has a very strong claim indeed on the attention of collectors.’ (musicweb-international.com)