Christmas at Downton Abbey
I might be taking this new enthusiasm for Christmas music/albums a bit far by telling you that I really quite like this double CD (45 tracks!) of Christmas music from the cast of Downton Abbey (and others) performed to fit/evoke the era of the show. But I’m content in telling you that it’s the truth. It might help that I’ve never seen the show, not a single episode – and have no intention of ever watching it. That at least allows me to ignore that this is a blatant bit of marketing, a piece of product timed for the end of the latest season and as take-home extension to the usual Christmas special/s.
Prior to hearing this, Handel’s Messiah was about as choral as my Christmas ever got but I’m happy with these versions of old staples – Kiri Te Kanawa (who had a walk-in part in the show) and The Choir of Kings College, Cambridge are here along with seven recordings by cast members Julian Ovendon and Elizabeth McGovern. There’s also a spoken-word rendition of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by the Abbey’s Carson (Jim Carter).
McGovern and Ovendon have singing careers outside of acting, McGovern performs Americana-tinged pop and country tunes as part of Sadie and The Hotheads, so this is certainly a different angle for her. She and Ovendon do just fine here and it’s all the Christmas music you’d ever need (and then some). All tastefully arranged – from the old carols Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Away In A Manger through Silent Night, The First Noel and O Holy Night.
You’ll either love it – or you’ll hate it. Yes, that’s such an obvious thing to say. And a terrible way to end a review.