The Herbert Howells Society
Herbert Howells – one of the great 20th Century English choral composers – was for a time Acting Organist of St John's College, Cambridge during the Second World War and was closely associated with the College for many decades.
His experience at the College provided inspiration for a great deal of the church music he wrote after his time here: he saw a need and desire for new music in the Anglican liturgy of a high quality which would be sought after and performed. Indeed, he later recalled that he was challenged during this time by Eric Milner-White – the Dean of King's – to write a set of canticles (the result, Collegium Regale, is today one his most famous works). Another of his settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis was written for St John's, the Collegium Sancti Johannis Cantabrigiense.
In 1999, Christopher Robinson recorded Howells' music with the Choir as the first of his seminal recordings with Naxos Records. In 2010, the Choir recorded 'St John's Magnificat: Choral Works by Herbert Howells' on the Chandos label; more information on the disc is available here.