I have included John Turner’s first name in the headnote in order to distinguish him from the three other Turners in the Fanfare Archive, none of whom are this Turner. John Turner is a British recorder player and composer (and apparently recovering attorney). Most of this collection of Christmas carols are for a cappella voices; a handful have some instrumental accompaniment (the composer himself plays recorder on the one purely instrumental piece here).

Turner has developed the habit of composing Christmas card carols for family members and friends over the years, and this is a collection of those. The writing is very accessible and tonal—at times even sounding as if written 300 years ago, though occasionally he toys with the harmonies enough to remind you that he is, in fact, a contemporary composer. But even the most conservative listener will find nothing here to object to. Will that listener find something to admire? Absolutely!

While breaking no new ground, Turner has composed delicate and attractive music that is tuneful and that has the appropriate holiday glow about it.

The performances are exquisitely lovely and the recorded sound is perfectly balanced, warm and natural. Only the omission of texts can be faulted. Even with that omission, I think this is likely to be one of the holiday season’s nicest releases.

—Henry Fogel