Yule Riding

The York Waits

CD only BEJOCD-46


The new CD by the York Waits, Yule Riding, takes its name from a riotous Christmas celebration that took place in York before it was banned by a Puritan Archbishop in the 1570s. The recording begins dramatically with the ancient Yoole-girthol proclamation:
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! We command that the peace of our lady the Queen be well kept by night and day but that all manner of whores, thieves, dice players and other unthrifty folk be welcome to the city, whether they come late or early, at the reverence of the High Feast of Yule till the Twelve Days be past. God save the Queen!

The album then soon it sets off on a musical journey throughout renaissance Europe, from elaborate German settings of Christmas melodies to simple, affecting French Noels and songs from the Mediterranean. It nears its conclusion with a wistful English song that laments the end of the Twelve Days - and thus the beginning of the working year. The next Yule Riding seems far, far away

With instruments that include shawms, sackbut, recorders, flute, harp, lute, guitar, cittern and hurdy gurdy gurdy the album also features the glorious vocals of soprano Deborah Catterall.

1 Yule Horn and Yoole-girthol proclamation
2 Proface! Welcome!
3 Gabriel, fram Heven King
4 As I rode out this enderes night
5 Lully, lulla thow little tyne child (The Coventry Carol)
6 Green groweth the Hollie
7 Parvulus nobis nascitur
8 Ic hoerde de clockskins luden
9 Joseph, lieber
10 Christum wir sollen
11 In dulci jubilo
12 En! Natus est Emanuel
13 Psallite Unigenito
14 O Heyligh saligh Bethlehem
15 Le triste etat de cette pauvre etable
16 Picardy
17 Chantons je vous en prie
18 El Noi de la mare
19 El desembre congelat
20 Verbum caro factum est
21 Quando nascette Ninno
22 Chestnut
23 Hollis Berrie
24 Now Winter Nights Enlarge
25 Christemas hath made an end
26 Gaudete, Christus est natus

What the Critics have said...

'A fine CD... The musicianship is superlative, with sackbuts, lutes and shawms joining recorders, hurdy-gurdy and clear vocals. The songs come from all over Renaissance Europe and the moods range from boisterous revelry via delicate piety to poignant mediatation.'
Tom Deveson, Times Educational Supplement

'With Gaudete, In Dulce Jubilo and Coventry Carol, they also offer less familiar material from across Europe, delivered with clarity and refinement... Catterall is excellent on this stuff.'
Nick Beale, fROOTS

'From the first blast on the Yule Horn which opens this Christmas CD, there is an air of excitement. "All manner of whores, thieves, dice players and other unthrifty folk" are then welcomed in broad Yorkshire according to the York Yule Riding proclamation.

All the tracks have a Christmas connection, and fall broadly into two contrasting categories - the "still" or quiet music, on recorders, hurdy gurdy, plucked strings, etc., often with the pure clear voice of Deborah Catterall; and the "haut" or loud shawm band, producing the spine-tingling, close-knit sound for which The York Waits have become justly famous.

Deborah Catterall has sung with The York Waits on many occasions and several of their CDs, and as an Early Music post-graduate of the Royal College of Music, knows her subject. She sings effortlessly with minimal vibrato, giving us such favourites as The Coventry Carol, Joseph lieber, Joseph mein, In dulci jubilo and Gaudete, Christus est natus as well as many Christmas songs that were new to me, such as the lament Christemas hath made an end.

In the quieter pieces generally, instruments are mixed to good effect. I was particularly taken by the use of a "bed" of Renaissance guitars and citterns with lute or harp, over which the recorders and voice can float ethereally. It was good to hear, too, Anthony Barton's typically accurate cornett make a brief, dramatic appearance on track 7, Parvulus nobis nascitur. My favourite quiet track has got to be 16, Picardy - a traditional French tune on hurdy gurdies, recorder, lute, guitar and percussion which has some exciting harmonies in the guitar chords, and uses the "zim" of the gurdies‚ floating bridges to drive the piece forward, making the listener want to leap to their feet and dance.

However, what most people want and expect from The York Waits is the thrilling sound of their bright Cronin shawms, playing together as one instrument and driven forward from below by William Marshall's agile sackbut. And they won't be disappointed. There are five tracks for shawm band, including the splendid track 20, Verbum caro factum est.

Overall the CD is excellently recorded and produced, although the recording equipment has yet to be invented that can capture the true sound of The York Waits at full power - a sound that one feels should be capable of bringing the very dead leaping from their graves! For that, you will have to go and see them live.'
Chris Gutteridge, Chief Waite, King‚s Lynn Waites

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