In the stillness: A Merton Christmas

In the stillness of a midnight stable, a babe is born … In the stillness of an Oxford chapel on a winter’s afternoon, a girl’s voice sings.

The newest star in Oxford’s – and Delphian’s – choral firmament, the girl choristers of Merton College have been singing services under the directorship of Benjamin Nicholas for no more than five years: in their debut album recording, supported by the Lower Voices of the Merton College, they tell once more in music from across the centuries the timeless Christmas story of light, hope and joy for a troubled world.

'This recording debut shows how far the Girls Choir has travelled artistically in its six-year existence. Joined by the Lower Voices of Merton College Choir, the Girl Choristers exhibit a crystalline clarity of tone in the traditional Rocking Carol,and full-voiced attack in Joubert's Torches.Impressive unanimity characterises Britten's A New Year Carol while Holst's In the Bleak Midwinteris limpidly evocative. Benjamin Nicholas conducts empathetically ...'

★ ★ ★ ★

"Prepare to be inspired and enchanted by exquisite singing from the heart ..."

'a very rewarding disc: I enjoyed it very much indeed. The programme is interesting and well-devised, while the execution is excellent. The programme has been shrewdly chosen in more ways than one. There are several items that feature the Girl Choristers only and others where they join with the other three voice parts in the choir. There’s also a pleasing blend of the familiar and unfamiliar. I think Benjamin Nicholas has got the programme balance just right ... [Errollyn Wallen's] Peace on Earth is delicate and haunting; I loved it ... The girls are extremely accomplished singers. And any lack of experience is more than compensated by the freshness and purity of tone with which they sing. They combine very well indeed with the more senior singers of the College Choir and in the items that they sing by themselves they are a consistent delight to hear. This is a most auspicious debut CD and I hope we’ll hear more of them ... Every year the market is flooded with discs of Christmas music but this is one that in terms of interest and quality stands out from the crowd'

John Quinn - MusicWeb International
read the full review here

"These choristers have only been singing for five years under Benjamin Nicholas, but already they're a really tight outfit: beautiful blend of tone ..."


"One of my favourite traditional Christmas recordings this season ... The Girl Choristers making their recording debut with the lower voices of Merton College ... I say traditional, it’s actually a well-chosen mix of old and new from Bach and Praetorius to Gabriel Jackson, Sally Beamish and Errolyn Wallen’s timeless carol Peace on Earth. An atmospheric, beautifully meditative collection from the youngest Oxford collegiate choir"


Release Date: 22 October 2022
Catalogue No: DCD34262
Total playing time: 70:18
Recorded on 24-26 August 2021 in the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Jack Davis
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter
Design: Drew Padrutt
Booklet editor: Henry Howard
Cover photograph: foxbrushfilms.com
Session photography: foxbrushfilms.com


Errollyn Wallen- Peace on Earth


The Girls Choir of Merton College sing Errollyn Wallen's Peace on Earth during recording sessions ...

Album Booklet

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