I have to admit, when I first played this album I was quite surprised. The voices sounded fuller and lower than I expected for a youth choir.

But the members of the Gothenburg Youth Choir are all between the ages of 16 to 25. This is no children’s choir — and therein lies the difference.

Director Anne Johansson presents a wonderfully varied program. There are traditional carols from France, Sweden, and Germany. Benjamin Britten, John Rutter, Max Reger, and Jean Sibelius are represented.

And there’s a healthy sampling of Swedish composers, such as Sven Körling, Ivar Widèen, and Gustaf Nordqvist.

The end result is a delightful blend of familiar and unusual works, all impeccably sung by the choir. I especially enjoyed the selects from Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. Britten’s score calls for a three-part treble chorus. I find it wearying to listen to.

Not so here. the Gothenburg Youth Choir brings the music down an octave, and it sounds great. For the first time, I could clearly hear the structure of the music. And the performances were easy on the ears!

Yes, I was surprised by the sound of this release. Pleasantly so.

A Christmas Wish
Gothenburg Youth Choir
Anne Johansson, conductor
Footprint Records FR 102