On Christmas Night

On Christmas Night

On Christmas Night
Director of Music: 
Andrew Nethsingha
Organ Scholar: 
John Challenger
Release date: 
September 2011
Record label: 
Catalogue number: 
CHSA 5096
Recording of the Week
Presto Classical
December 2011

In the run-up to Advent and Christmas 2011, St John's College's Quincentenary, the Choir has launched a joyous celebration of music for the festive season. The disc includes original works by John Rutter, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Elizabeth Poston, and Kenneth Leighton. These are complemented by arrangements of popular carols, and a selection of congregational hymns, all displaying strong ties to the Advent and Christmas seasons.

This album was recorded in the College Chapel in full surround-sound, which means that it not only sounds spectacular, but recreates to a spectacular degree the experience of listening to the Choir perform in the Chapel.

Track list

  1. What sweeter music, Rutter
  2. Noël nouvelet, trad. French arr. Jackson
  3. Balulalow, Burton
  4. A babe is born, Mathias
  5. In the bleak mid-winter, Darke
  6. Ding! dong! merrily on high, trad. French, arr. Wilberg
  7. Jesus Christ the apple tree, Poston
  8. I saw three ships, trad. English, arr. Marshall
  9. Out of your sleep, Rodney Bennett
  10. Benedicamus Domino, Warlock
  11. There is no rose, Joubert
  12. Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, trad. English, arr. Willcocks
  13. Adam lay ybounden, Martin
  14. Riu, riu, chiu, Flecha (attrib.)
  15. O little town of Bethlehem, trad. English, arr. Vaughan Williams
  16. Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, trad. German, arr. Praetorius
  17. Make we joy, Robinson
  18. Hark! the herald angels sing, Mendelssohn/Robinson
  19. The lamb, Tavener
  20. Telling, Finnissy
  21. Coventry Carol, Leighton
  22. On Christmas night, trad. English, arr. Ledger
  23. Silent night, Gruber, arr. Ledger
  24. O come, all ye faithful, Wade, arr. Willcocks

More about this release

The collective vocal heft of the ensemble's young choral scholars remains a potent weapon under Andrew Nethsingha's direction ... Words, their colour and meaning, emerge as essential shaping forces in these engaging performances. This release stands out thanks to the commitment to quality and high artistic values shown here by St John's College Choir and Chandos ... Ingenious in their phrasing and crystal clear in articulation ... the choir allows the music to breathe naturally and etch the text with captivating light and shade.

Classic FM Magazine

Chandos engineering casts a luminescent glow round these excellent performances...There's quite a bit of less familiar repertoire here and old favourites emerge all the fresher for being sung by young, enthusiastic voices under Andrew Nethsingha's incisive direction.

BBC Music Magazine

It is to England we go for the finest 'cathedral' Christmas disc of the year...Blessed with a particularly homogeneous and secure line-up of trebles.

Gramophone Magazine

I was struck by the choir's texture and balance with a fine body of tone. Most of all, their sensitivity to the meaning of the text is above reproach.

Michael Cookson at MusicWeb International

The singing on this disc is very fine indeed. Solos are well taken and the choir as a group blends extremely well and sings with excellent tone and great clarity. The college's Senior Organ Scholar, John Challenger, does a marvellous job.

John Quinn at MusicWeb International

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Recorded on
19 October 2023
  • Introit - Parsons: Ave Maria
  • Responses and Preces: Radcliffe
  • Psalm 25.1-8
  • Readings: Isaiah 40, 1-11, Luke 1, 57-66, 80
  • Jackson in G
  • MacMillan: Christus Vincit
  • Voluntary: Langlais, Acclamations (Suite Medievale)

Latest news

Magnificat 3

The third installment in our Magnificat series has been shortlisted for the choral award, making it the second album to be nominated for a Gramophone Award

The contribution of Andrew Nethsingha and St John's College, Cambridge to the Evensong tradition - both in the chapel and on record - deserves great praise