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Classical - To be released March 19, 2021 | Kings College Cambridge

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Christmas Music - Released December 11, 2020 | Kings College Cambridge

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There are numerous recordings of Christmas carols by British collegiate choirs. There are quite a few by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, and there are even two with the title Carols from King's, necessitating the unwieldy "2020 Collection" parenthesis: which moreover is inaccurate. The album is a live recording, not a collection, and it was made in 2019. All of this said this is a distinctive holiday recording that should have legs beyond its release in the 2020 Christmas season. The live recording, from a 2019 BBC television broadcast, sets the album apart in itself, and it's exceptionally well done, capturing the energetic immediacy of the young choristers. Most distinctive is the program, which is unusually contemporary by the standards of releases of this kind. Familiar carols are present, but often in fresh arrangements, and there are contemporary pieces that fit nicely into the program. These include Philip Moore's The Angel Gabriel, newly commissioned by the choir; Elizabeth Maconchy's There Is No Rose of Such Virtue, a fascinating take on old melodic material; and John Rutter's Candlelight Carol. For listeners in search of a holiday recording just a bit out of the mainstream, this will fill the bill well. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 13, 2020 | Kings College Cambridge

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These three choral works by acclaimed contemporary composer Errollyn Wallen continue the timeless tradition of reflecting on the human spirit through sung words. Peace on Earth, See that I am God and Pace reach across centuries of traditions and cultures to mould their expression and they range from the intimate to the majestic. Peace on Earth is a contemporary carol and a setting of Wallen’s own words: the bleakness of winter in a turning, troubled world conveyed through a slowly spinning ostinato over which the voices sing (as they themselves hear other unseen voices sing) of the hope for light and peace. See that I am God was first performed in 2014 by St Paul’s Cathedral Consort to celebrate 20 years of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood in the Church of England. The text is by Julian of Norwich, the 14th-century religious visionary, and her words inspired a dramatic setting where the consummate combination of voices and organ depicts the mystery and exhilaration of faith. Pace is best understood as a single human breath; as a single line; as a world’s long, long journey to light. Born in Belize, Errollyn Wallen gave up her training at the Dance Theater of Harlem, New York to study composition at the universities of London and Cambridge. She founded her own Ensemble X, and its motto ’We don’t break down barriers in music… we don’t see any’ reflects her genuine, free-spirited approach and eclectic musicianship. She has been commissioned by outstanding music institutions from the BBC to the Royal Opera House and performed her songs internationally. © King’s College, Cambridge
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Classical - Released October 16, 2020 | Kings College Cambridge

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Bruckner's Mass No. 2 in E minor, WAB 27, was composed for mixed chorus, not for an English cathedral choir with boy sopranos, and listeners will make up their own minds about this departure from tradition. It's interesting that the late Choir of King's College, Cambridge, director Stephen Cleobury chose this work for his final recording with the choir: it's far from the group's usual wheelhouse, or his own, yet one can understand his motivations. The work is a real challenge for the singers, with long stretches of polyphony blooming into moments of radiant faith. Sample the Credo and listen to the glorious Resurrexit, and the appeal of Cleobury's approach becomes clear. The young singers do everything that's asked of them, and in its way, this is a virtuoso performance. In the short motets that make up the balance of the program, the ages of the singers are less of an issue, and the performances have the feel of a group that revels in its own space. The Locus iste is memorable in its soaring quality. Ultimately listener reactions here will depend on how they feel about the extension of boy singers into this repertory, but the album makes a fine swan song for Cleobury's always progressive and remarkable career. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 18, 2020 | Kings College Cambridge

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Following releases by cellist Guy Johnston and organist Richard Gowers, King’s College presents the latest album in its alumni series, Bach’s iconic ‘Goldberg Variations’ as arranged and performed by the harpist Parker Ramsay. Parker Ramsay’s artistry is distinguished by its breadth and crossing of instrumental boundaries and genres at the harp, organ and harpsichord. He was the first American to hold the post of Organ Scholar at King’s, following in a long line of prestigious predecessors, and as a harpist specializes in repertoire for early harps and new music for the modern pedal harp. The album is accompanied by extensive notes by leading Bach scholar Burkhard Schwalbach, Pulitzer Prize winning music critic Tim Page and Parker himself. © King's College Cambridge
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Kings College Cambridge

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The retirement of the knighted Stephen Cleobury as the director of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, in 2019 brought with it various valedictory events, including this Easter 2019 live performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244. The big Bach works aren't necessarily in the wheelhouse of the English collegiate choirs, but Cleobury and the choir have performed the St. Matthew Passion on various occasions, including at least once with Sophie Bevan, the present fine soprano soloist. All of the soloists are strong, obviously welcoming the chance to participate in what was something of a landmark in English choral music. Lovers of the Cambridge choirs will want this in their collections regardless, but how about general followers of the St. Matthew Passion and its performances? Certainly, this is quintessentially English Bach, although the all-male boys-and-men choir of about 25 members is probably closer to what Bach intended than the warmer small adult groups that are the norm these days. If you're looking for a sense of awe at the events of the Crucifixion, this may not be the place to find it, but Cleobury's careful work may grow on listeners. In a rather cavernous King's College acoustic, he achieves good separation of the work's double choirs, and the lengthy instrumental introductions of the work's glorious arias are sharp and full of detail that connects to the vocal line. Although this is not an intensely dramatic St. Matthew Passion, it is one that unfolds according to its own logic, and it will reward multiple hearings. © TiVo
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Christmas Music - Released December 13, 2019 | Kings College Cambridge

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Classical - Released November 25, 2019 | Kings College Cambridge

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Christmas Music - Released November 8, 2019 | Kings College Cambridge

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In 1918, the Rev. Eric Milner-White, the Dean of King's College, Cambridge, introduced to the college the "Lessons and Carols" format that were already in use on Christmas Eve at other institutions in England, as well as at Brown University in the U.S. The King's College version had a special festive intensity resulting partly from the recent Armistice, and it was this service that the new BBC chose for broadcast in the 1920s. The Festival of Lessons & Carols has since become known over much of the world, and its 100th-anniversary celebration in 2018 involved several special performances and recordings, given added weight by the imminent retirement of the longtime King's College Choir director, Stephen Cleobury. Buyers should note that there are two album releases with different emphases; hardcore Choir of King's College fans will probably want both. There is a double album entitled 100 Years of Nine Lessons & Carols that features historical recordings of the Lessons & Carols, plus a disc of new recordings of current repertory. That group overlaps partly with the present album, which offers a live recording of the 2018 service and its actual lesson readings by college officials and, distinctively, choristers of various types. The performance is a strong one in general, moving effectively between festive pieces and more meditative ones like John Tavener's The Lamb, and the album provides a snapshot of where the choir's repertory was in 2018, with not only Tavener but several other contemporary pieces including a new work, Judith Weir's striking O mercy divine. In addition to appealing to devotees of the collegiate choral tradition, this album could make a good starting point for those new to the Choir of King's College: in every way, it has the feel of a living tradition. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Kings College Cambridge

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King’s College Recordings continues its "Evensong Live series" with a new collection of popular anthems and canticles by British composers. Recorded live across 2018 and 2019 during choral services at the famous Chapel, this album includes beloved pieces by Hubert Parry, William Walton, Charles Villiers Stanford, William Byrd, Judith Weir and Gerald Finzi. © King’s College Cambridge
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Classical - Released June 7, 2019 | Kings College Cambridge

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This release is likely to get a good deal of publicity due to its status as the final release of Stephen Cleobury as director of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. However, as president of the Herbert Howells Society, he may not be through with performing the music of this composer just yet. Cleobury deserves kudos for this rather challenging double album; he might easily have compiled a set of favorites of some kind, and enjoyed general acclaim. Instead, he has chosen to go out with a piece of work that makes a deeper connection with tradition. Even though he did not succeed Howells as an organist at Cambridge, he certainly lived and breathed his music, and is as fine an interpreter of it as anyone alive. So, this music is a little Howells survey as well as a Cleobury valedictory, and it succeeds notably on both counts. In addition to choral music, and a set of organ pieces brilliantly realized by Cleobury, there's the lyrical Cello Concerto, performed by Guy Johnston on cello, with the Britten Sinfonia under Christopher Seaman. It's a fine, somehow intimate reading. For Cleobury in his element, sample around on CD 1: the English Mass of 1956, which represented an intentional simplification of Howells' dense, ornate style, is ideally suited to Cleobury and his boys-and-men choristers, but perhaps the highlight of the whole is the limpid Magnificat, a gloriously lyrical, unique response to that text. A fine bookend to Cleobury's Cambridge career. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | Kings College Cambridge

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Supported by strong sales, England's collegiate choirs have steadily released new music, often expanding their repertory into new realms. So what happens to the "favo(u)rites" albums that choirs release periodically, as starters for new listeners or bonuses for devoted ones? A look into the trends is provided by this lovely release from what might be called the king of all the collegiate choirs, the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. This group is among the most traditional of its type, created by no less than King Henry VI, with boy choristers who attend the King's College School, and often go on to prestigious careers after their voices break. The choir's self-proclaimed favorites have evolved in a somewhat international direction, with a program somewhat resembling those offered by American-style glee clubs. The opening segment consists not of English polyphony but of landmarks of continental a cappella music, including the familiar eight-part Crucifixus of Antonio Lotti and a particularly lovely reading of Mozart's Ave verum corpus. There is English music from the 20th century, most of it in the middle of the program. Things conclude with broadly popular contemporary sounds. These include arrangements of Amazing Grace and Shenandoah that may sound a little stilted to American ears but testify to the universal appeal of these melodies. The continuing growth of American composer Morton Lauridsen's fame is also represented here; Lauridsen is not a household name, but he may well become one. The choristers work together unusually well, even by the high standards of this choir, and the performance of his O magnum mysterium is one of the smoothest you will hear. Recommended, and certainly a good introduction to the Choir of King's College, even if the music involved is not particularly English. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 9, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

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The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, celebrates a century of its Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which was inaugurated in 1918 under the direction of King's College chaplain Eric Milner-White. This double-disc collection of historic and modern recordings doesn't go back quite as far as those first Christmas concerts, nor even to the initial radio broadcasts that began in 1928, but 60 years of live broadcasts on the BBC are sampled generously on the first disc, while fresh recordings of the most popular carols are provided on the second CD. Led by Stephen Cleobury and his predecessors, David Willcocks and Philip Ledger, the performances have the reverent but joyous air associated with the finest British church music, and anyone who has a sentimental attachment to this traditional fare will be moved by the loveliness of the voices and the halo-like acoustics of the chapel. Lest any have misgivings about the recordings, the sound is respectable in the earliest track, which dates from 1958, while it becomes progressively cleaner and more focused over the later selections. Highly recommended for fans of Christmas concerts and exceptional choral singing. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 21, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

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Nine extraordinary meditations by one of the twentieth century’s musical titans, performed on the magnificent King’s College Chapel organ by former organ scholar Richard Gowers. Written in 1935, La Nativité du Seigneur is one of Messiaen’s most popular organ works, and a piece that helped to establish the then 27 year-old as an important figure in contemporary music. Premiered in February 1936 at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris, where Messiaen was organist for more than sixty years, the debut performance was shared between three of his close friends; with Daniel-Lesur, Jean Langlais and Jean-Jacques Grunenwald each tackling three movements. A testament to Messiaen’s devout Catholicism, each movement follows a portion of the Christmas story, from the Virgin Birth to Epiphany, with the number of movements symbolic of the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Significantly, the work contains early examples of Messiaen’s signature compositional elements, such as birdsong, rhythmic inspiration from Hindustani and Carnatic musical traditions, and the ‘modes of limited transportation’, which he would later publish in "La technique de mon langage musical". Born in 1994, Richard Gowers is a British organist, pianist and conductor. After becoming a prize-winning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of 17, he won first prize at the 2013 Northern Ireland International Organ Competition and studied at the Mendelssohn Conservatoire in Leipzig. From 2014 to 2017 he held the distinguished position of organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge and in September 2017 he became Chapel Choir Organist at the Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban. His career as a concert organist has seen him perform in prestigious venues around the world, including Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. © King's College
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Classical - Released July 20, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

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Classical - Released June 8, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

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Classical - Released May 1, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

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Classical - Released March 16, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

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Classical - Released February 2, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

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Classical - Released December 24, 2017 | Kings College Cambridge

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