English Choral Music: Howells

English Choral Music: Howells

English Choral Music: Howells
Director of Music: 
Christopher Robinson
Organ Scholar: 
Iain Farrington
Release date: 
September 1999
Record label: 
Catalogue number: 
Building a Library First Choice
BBC Music Magazine
November 2008

Track list

  1. Magnificat (St Paul's Service)
  2. Nunc dimittis (St Paul's Service)
  3. Like as the hart
  4. Paean for Organ
  5. Requiem
  6. Long, long ago
  7. Office of Holy Communion (Collegium Regale)
  8. Rhapsody No. 3 for Organ
  9. Take Him, Earth, For Cherishing


★★★★★ A generous selection in seductive performances from the choir of St John's College, Cambridge... immaculate sound at once atmospheric and cleanly focused

Edward Greenfield, The Guardian (5th November 1999)

A moving performance from the college where Howells was wartime organist

Geraint Lewis, Gramophone (November 2015)

One of an outstanding series of later English choral music recordings from a great choir at the peak of its form. Also the most atmospheric and terrifying recording of Howells’s best Magnificat setting of them all

Sinfini Music (August 2014)

Naxos here offers a generous selection, in seductive performances from the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, that match and almost surpass any previous versions

Penguin Guide (January 2009)

The series should probe to be a timely enrichment of the Naxos catalogue and is off to an excellent start

John Steane, Gramophone (January 2000)

The St. Johns Choir has never sounded better, and the recorded sound is glorious: clear and clean, but with great warmth and a sense of space. The finely nuanced performances are impressively controlled. This disc is a must-have for connoisseurs of English cathedral music and a great introduction to Howells for the novice

American Record Guide (May 2000)

It culminates in Howells's 1963 spine-tingling tribute to President John F. Kennedy, 'Take Him, Earth, For Cherishing', sung here with an exquisite intimacy, rarely enjoyed outside of a live performance

Tarik O'Regan, The Observer (16th January 2000)

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Recorded on
9 March 2024


A Meditation on the Passion of Christ is a service of music and readings reflecting on the Passion of Christ. This year the service features music by Byrd, Purcell, Weelkes and MacMillan, as well as the final piece of a triptych of works written for the choir by Joanna Marsh.

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Magnificat 4 includes two commissions written specially for the Choir of St John's College; Jonathan Dove's 2022 canticle setting St John's Service, and Judith Weir's 2011 service of the same name.

Winner of the 2008 Ivor Novello Award for classical music, Jonathan Dove CBE has composed a broad range of works and is one of the most successful British composers today. 

Jonathan was kind enough to share insights into his St John's Service, the compositional process, and what we can look forward to in the future.

The commitment, projection and natural energy of this choir have never failed to inspire me

Organists’ Review