NOEL: 25 Hymns of Christmas
WILLIAM NEIL, organ
John Jay Hopkins Memorial Organ
Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company, Opus 1456 (1969)
The National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.
“William Neil’s masterly command of the magnificent forces at his disposal, his sense of timing, choice of tempi and sound colors are a joy to listen to.”
Wiebke Kuester, ConcertoNet [December 2012]
"The arrangements...show off the capabilities of [Neil's] magnificent Aeolian-Skinner instrument. Neil's playing is impeccable throughout, admirably restrained for the most part, but not without moments of grandeur. MSR's recording is splendid. Warmly recommended. Let it snow!"
Fanfare [November/December 2006]
"Hers is an excellent presentation of 25 great Christmas hymns...How nice to hear such a direct presentation of great hymns that really don't need anything more...Great sound."
American Record Guide [November/December 2005]
"Noël: 25 Hymns of Christmas ... is an extremely nice CD covering a broad range (25 tracks!) of largely well-familiar sacred carols. Neil is a marvelous organist; his playing is confident and commanding, but never overbearing. In fact, several presentations are even quite delicate; Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming and In the Bleak Midwinter are my favorites among these. In contrast, tracks such as We Three Kings exude strength and regal dignity. Over the course of an hour, the overall effect was stately, yet warm. As for the album's production values, this package is impressive; the church's acoustics provide full-bodied sound without a mushy echo...I highly recommend William Neil's Noël as a comprehensive and very well-executed set of instrumental organ pieces."
www.ChristmasReviews.com [August 2006]
"The instrument [at The National Presbyterian Church] is one of the finest...creations of the Aeolian-Skinner firm"
The American Organist [September 2005]
PROGRAM NOTESWILLIAM NEIL, Organist of the National Symphony Orchestra, is well known for his performances of traditional and contemporary organ music. Prior to his appointment in 2001 as Organist of The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC he served as Organist of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago. He has performed with ensembles like the New York Trumpet Ensemble, Millar Brass Ensemble and Washington Symphonic Brass, and with the National Symphony under the baton of Slatkin, Rostropovich, Siciliani, Hogwood and others. Mr. Neil is the first Washington organist invited to perform on the Charles Fisk Organ at the Meyerson Center in Dallas, Texas. In 2001, he was a featured soloist in the inaugural concerts of the new Casavant Organ at Robert Jacoby Hall with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Inspired by the teaching of organists Leonard Raver, Arthur Poister and Will Headlee, and harpsichordist Anthony Newman, Mr. Neil has enjoyed a career both onstage and in the classroom, serving on the faculties of George Mason University and The Catholic University of America as organ instructor. Many of his former students hold prominent academic and church music positions in the United States and around the world, and he is featured in recordings on the MSR Classics, Philips Classics, Sony Classical, Naxos, Summit and Newport Classics labels. William Neil was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University and Syracuse University.
PROGRAMJoy to the World
Once in Royal David's City
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light
Angels from the Realms of Glory
Gentle Mary Laid Her Child
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Angels We Have Heard on High
See Amid the Winter's Snow
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
O Little Town of Bethlehem
The First Noël
Go, Tell It on the Mountain
We Three Kings
Still, Still, Still
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
O Morning Star
Away in a Manger
What Child is This
On This Day Earth Shall Ring
In the Bleak Midwinter
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing