The Organ

An Edinburgh Christmas

St Mary's Cathedral Choir with Matthew Owens on organ, soprano Susan Hamilton, the Holyrood Clarsach Trio and reader Alexander McCall-Smith

If you are looking for a quiet alternative to the inevitable film blockbuster over Christmas this could well be it. Even the familiar carols are given a more reflective approach and the combination of fine singing and a well balanced programme makes the whole highly enjoyable. St Mary's Cathedral Choir is in fine form under their director Matthew Owens who - thanks to the nature of recording these days - is able to provide organ and piano solos as well as conducting the choir. He also accompanies Susan Hamilton in a number of solo items which are all pleasing.

Two solos from the Holyrood Clarsach Trio - three young harpists - are a welcome addition and add a particular Scottish flavour to the recording. Readings from the Bible and other sources are provided by Alexander McCall-Smith, sitting in more comfortable surroundings than the usual lectern or pulpit. What we hear of the organ sounds fine both in the solo Bach and accompanying the choir.

A discrete and timely alternative to the more traditional Nine Lessons and Carols approach and most welcome.