The Christmas season is often enriched by new, exciting recordings. Last year, we recommended several of the finest albums released over the past 25 years (CT, Dec. 12, 1980). We believe a number of additional fine recordings issued last year will also enhance your enjoyment and celebration of Christmas as they have ours. All of these, priced from $6.98 to $9.98 (except for some digital recordings), should be available through knowledgeable, major record shops.

• The Spirit of Christmas, John Alldis Choir, London Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis, conductor; Philips 9500-779. Peter Hope’s tasteful, exciting arrangements have created a spectacular “picture in sound of the Christmas Festival.” The 18 well-loved Christmas hymns and carols, 12 for orchestra alone, are divided into two extended semi-suites. The moods range from the stunning “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” and the driving “Patapan” to the tender setting of Kirkpatrick’s “Away in a Manger” and the splendid “Good King Wenceslaus.”

• Christmas from Clare, Clare College Choir and Orchestra, Cambridge, John Rutter, conductor; Argo ARB-914. John Rutter has done it again. These 20 arrangements and original compositions exhibit the same marvelous sounds of previous recordings, demonstrating why he probably is the single most influential force in new Christmas music today. Special favorites in our household are the tender “Mary’s Lullaby,” an original composition he wrote for his bride, a joyous setting of a rarely heard English tune for “I Saw Three Ships,” and the hauntingly beautiful “Wexford Carol.”

• Christmas Fanfare, Bach Choir, Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, Sir David Willcocks, conductor; London digital LDR-10028. From the glorious opening brass and organ fanfare on “O ...

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