• The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge’s advent service is a staple of the British choral world, and is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 almost every year. The service features much-loved favourites from the festive season alongside a variety of new works commissioned especially for the event. This disc of live recordings features performances by the choir from their four most recent services from 2014-17. ★★★★ This superbly programmed collection will take your Advent listening in unexpected, but entirely apposite, directions - BBC Music Magazine The choir has retained its renowned clarity, flamboyance and readiness to take risks - Gramophone The choir has retained its renowned clarity, flamboyance and readiness to take risks - The Guardian This disc gives a very good flavour of the excellent Advent music one can hear at St John’s - MusicWeb International
  • Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, the forty-day period of fasting and penitence which precedes Easter. Ashes are placed on worshippers’ foreheads in the shape of a cross, as a sign of repentance. Evensong on this day has been an especially important service in the liturgical year at St John’s; the BBC started transmitting it live in 1972. For several decades the service was broadcast annually; more recently it has been biennial. 2019 was a live broadcast year, however the recording on this release uses our own microphones, permanently installed in St John’s College Chapel for webcasting, rather than those of the BBC. This recording will be released around the same time that the Dean of St John’s, Mark Oakley, releases a book on George Herbert’s poems, called My Sour Sweet Days. The book and the recording go well in tandem, as in the Deans first sermon at St. John’s, he said “I believe that when we walk here (The Chapel), we walk into a poem. The liturgy is poetry in motion, and we sometimes fail to understand its density of suggestion, the eavesdropping on the soul, the sensitive state of consciousness that its poetry can prompt.”
  • Christmas presents a golden opportunity to present brand new music to wide audiences, and the role played by St John’s College Choir in this area has been significant, as demonstrated by new recording of traditional and contemporary choral works. The recording features Michael Finnissy’s John the Baptist, written for the Choir for its BBC Advent broadcast in 2014. The programme begins with Bob Chilcott’s The Shepherd’s Carol commissioned by Stephen Cleobury (a former St John’s organ scholar) for King’s College Choir, and also includes Creator of the Stars of Night, composed by another former St John’s organ scholar, John Scott. The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest choirs of men and boys in the world, known and loved by millions from its recordings, broadcasts and concert tours. A cornerstone of the great English choral tradition since the 1670s, the Choir is recognised for its distinctive, rich and expressive sound and is today directed by Andrew Nethsingha.
    An evocatively sung collection from the Cambridge choir glowing with devotional joy - Choir and Organ
  • DEO

    £12.00
    The Choir of St John’s College Cambridge launch their new series of recordings with Signum by exploring the close connections between the college and celebrated British composer Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012), in a disc of works for choir and organ. Harvey’s music has influenced a generation of composers, described by The Guardian’s Tom Service as being “at once vividly contemporary and timeless”. The Choir’s director Andrew Nethsingha reflects on his own experiences and work with the Jonathan Harvey in CD’s programme note, in particular as the choir collaborated on what would be Jonathan Harvey’s final work for the choir, The Annunciation (2011).
  • The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge return to disc with three 20th Century European masterpieces: Poulenc’s Mass in G Major (last recorded by the choir over 40 years ago under the iconic George Guest), Kodály’s Missa Brevis, and Janáček’s Otčenáš (Our Father). All works make use of highly distinctive musical languages, yet all three are tonal and highly accessible. This disc follows the choir’s debut release of works by Jonathan Harvey Deo (SIGCD456), which was awarded the choral prize at the 2017 BBC Music Magazine Awards. ★★★★★ The choir sing with their justly famed blend and perfect intonation… An essential disc - Choir and Organ ★★★★There is a transparency, delicacy and clarity to the textures on this disc… there is a wonderful edge to the more jagged harmonies. There is lightness and control, but steel too in the Sanctus & Benedictus, and the beautiful thread of solo treble at the opening of the Agnus Dei leads to a magical ending - Planet Hugill The Choir captures the other-wordly atmosphere… these well-recorded performances are certainly recommendable - BBC Music Magazine These compelling accounts come highly recommended - Northern Echo
  • Locus Iste

    £12.00
    Locus Iste celebrates two milestones for the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge: as well as 2019 marking the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the college chapel, this release is coincidentally the choir's 100th recording – 60 years on from George Guest’s iconic first recording of ‘Hear my prayer’ for Argo, released in 1959. Directed by Andrew Nethsingha, the programme makes great use of the chapel's renowned acoustic, and celebrates the choirs past, present and future – including an anthem by a former director of music, a motet by one of their recent student composers and the cello-playing of a current undergraduate. The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its broadcasts, concert tours and recordings. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, its expressive interpretations and its ability to sing in a variety of styles. It would be hard to imagine a finer celebration of the 150th anniversary of St John’s College Chapel - MusicWeb International Leaves us wanting more - Cross Rhythms
  • Magnificat

    £12.00
    Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis was recorded to explore the breadth of imagination with which composers have approached the texts, which have been sung in Christian worship for over 1000 years. Stanford’s starting point was the Germanic symphonic tradition; Howells took his inspiration from the architecture and acoustics of the Cathedral in Gloucester; Tippett was inspired by the unique Spanish trumpet stop at St John’s. The Evening Cantincles chosen for this record relate to a particular period of music making in the life of St John’s conductor, Andrew Nethsingha; his time at the Royal College of Music; at Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals, and lastly his time at St John’s. Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, expressive interpretations and ability to sing in a variety of styles.
  • Andrew Nethsingha and The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice with a new recording of choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Many of the works were composed in the years immediately following the event, including O clap your hands, Lord, thou hast been our refuge and the Mass in G minor which leads the programme.

    Vaughan Williams turned his attention to liturgical music following his service as a wagon orderly during the Great War. Ursula Vaughan Williams, his second wife and biographer, wrote that such work ‘gave Ralph vivid awareness of how men died’. It is perhaps unsurprising that in many of the texts to which he turned after the 1918 Armistice, the fragility and weakness of humanity becomes a recurrent theme. Despite being described as a ‘confirmed atheist’ by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, his heightened exploration of Christian texts, symbols, and images after the War might rather be understood both as an attempt to grapple anew with what might lie, as he put it, ‘beyond sense and knowledge’, and to search for consolation in religious and other inherited traditions amid a world irrevocably changed.

    I admire both the outstanding quality of the treble line and the excellent sense of ensemble - Cathedral Music Magazine The great virtues of the disc are the way it brings RVW's into a different focus yet also emphasises the transcendent mysticism which is the essential core to the music - Planet Hugill This is a very fine disc indeed. Andrew Nethsingha has chosen the music with great discernment and conducts it with evident commitment and understanding - Music Web International
  • Subito

    £12.00
    Subito: suddenly, or immediately. And something else besides – a moment of revelation or transformation, charged with surprise. When Witold Lutosławski gave this title to the showpiece that he wrote for a violin competition in Indianapolis in 1994, he evoked all these qualities, and more – that delighted astonishment; the brilliant, piercing moment of musical communion between performer and listener that comes with true virtuosity. On her debut disc, Julia Hwang has taken that idea – of virtuosity as communication – and embraced it from four very different directions. Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 3 blends virtuosity with traditions both local and international, to say something unambiguously personal. Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending refines violin technique into expression as pure as the song of a skylark. Lutosławski’s Subito creates a brief, dazzling moment whose very brilliance is its own meaning; and Henryk Wieniawski, entertainer par excellence, spins fantasy from another man’s tunes in his Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l’Opéra Faust de Gounod – enriching them in the process. This disc continues Signum’s series of discs with St John’s College Cambridge, following their two critically-praised Choral CDs of 2016.
  • Discover 50 of the best pieces of classical music written and performed by women, featuring recordings by Mary Bevan, Grace Davidson, The King’s Singers, and Tamsin Waley-Cohen. A new Signum compilation, this digital exclusive is available to buy and stream on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.