A kaleidoscopic vision of what Christmas means to this most gifted and eclectic acoustic musician. With Amy Kakoura’s vocals, contributions from a school choir as well as Richard’s own young children, the UK guitar maestro allies his revered technique to everything he can lay his hands on in his studio. Hammond, harpsichord, piano, cello, mandolins, ukulele and recorders are heard alongside Durrant’s guitars. And just when you think the Christmas mix cannot get any richer, up pops the gravelly voice of comedy legend Barry Cryer on ‘The Polar Bear’. This time Barry plays it straight, reciting haiku verse in Durrant’s moving depiction of a mother bear and her cubs’ desperate swim for food and survival through the Arctic ice floes. This piece, inspired by the well-documented plight of the bears in their changing Arctic environment, deserves a place in the our hearts alongside ‘Tales of the Riverbank’ and ‘Trumpton’. The pared-back poignancy of Finnish song ‘Joululaulu’, about a young girl visiting her mother’s grave on Christmas morning, and Phil Jewson’s ‘Because of Christmas Day’ (written for Durrant) also showcase Durrant in his element – gorgeous, solo guitar with nothing added. Anchoring the whole album is Durrant’s masterly tone poem ‘An Acoustic Winter Solstice’, full of icy wonder and otherworldliness. The quotation on the sleeve is from Tove Janssen’s ‘Moominland Midwinte’r – sentiments echoing the magic of this wonderful album.