Christmas with St John's

Christmas with St John's
Director of Music: 
Andrew Nethsingha
Organ Scholar: 
Joseph Wicks
Release date: 
October 2016
Record label: 
St John's Cambridge/Signum
Catalogue number: 

Following on from the Choir’s success in promoting new and exciting repertoire, its most recent festive recording features works from composers including Michael Finnissy, who’s piece John the Baptist was commissioned for the Choirs’ well-known Advent broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Bob Chilcott’s The Shepherd’s Carol was commissioned by Stephen Cleobury, who along with John Scott – composer of Creator of the Stars of Night – were once Organ Scholars at St John’s.

The traditional seasonal classics have not been overlooked, however, as the recording includes many favourites such as Ding Dong! Merrily on High, O Little Town of Bethlehem and The Holly and the Ivy.

The disc has been both a critical and commercial success, remaining in the Classical Specialist charts throughout the festive period in 2016. Acclaim of the disc includes accolades from the following publications:

‘A meticulously sung carol collection from the always classy choir... Most arresting is O Oriens, by Cecilia McDowall, a beautiful setting of an Advent antiphon, its shimmering tone clusters and delicious suspensions evoking the morning star as it slowly rises through the heavens’ The Observer

‘Proving yet again, they are as good as it gets’ Classic FM

‘Nethsingha’s programming is eclectic… there are superb 20th and 21st Century carols’ The Sunday Times

‘[A] classy and successful programme… [they] invest John Rutter’s Dormi Jesu with the throbbing glow for which this ensemble and its acoustic is famous’ Gramophone

‘[A] rapt performance of Cornelius’s The Three Kings, where Peter Lidbetter is an eloquent soloist, and a delicately inflected, touching account of Elizabeth Poston’s Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree. Excellent engineering captures evocatively the atmosphere of St John’s College Chapel.’ BBC Music Magazine

Whatever your preference, this recording will serve as a marvellous soundtrack to your festive season.

Track list
  1. The Shepherd's Carol (Bob Chilcott)
  2. The Holly and the Ivy (Traditional, arr. Henry Walford Davies)
  3. Sir Christèmas (William Mathias)
  4. O Oriens (Cecilia McDowall)
  5. Adam Lay ybounden (Boris Ord)
  6. A Spotless Rose (Philip Ledger)
  7. The Seven Joys of Mary (William Whitehead)
  8. Dormi Jesu (John Rutter)
  9. Creator of the Stars of Night (Plainsong, arr. John Scott)
  10. I Wonder as I Wander (Carl Rutti)
  11. O Little Town of Bethlehem (Henry Walford Davies)
  12. I Saw Three Ships (Traditional arr. Simon Preston)
  13. Three Kings (Peter Cornelius, arr. Ivor Atkins)
  14. Ding Dong! Merrily on High (Traditional, arr. Charles Wood)
  15. As Dew in Aprylle (Peter Warlock)
  16. John the Baptist (Michael Finnissy)
  17. Mary's Magnificat (Andrew Carter)
  18. People, look East (Peter Tranchell, arr. Peter Marchbank)
  19. Silent Night (Franz Gruber, arr. Mark Blatchly)
  20. Out of Your Sleep Arise (Anthony Milner)
  21. Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree (Elizabeth Poston)
  22. Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day (John Gardner)
"An evocatively sung collection from the Cambridge choir glowing with devotional joy"

Choir and Organ

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Recorded on
12 July 2019


Introit: Howells A Hymn for St Cecilia
Responses and Preces: Radcliffe
Psalm 139 vv. 1–18, 23–24 (Skeats)
Stanford in C
Tavener: The Lord’s Prayer
Parry: Hear my words, ye people
Hymn 408(i)
Voluntary: Parry Fantasia and Fugue in G

Latest news

Andrew Nethsingha discusses the significance of Tippett's St John's Service, a work which demonstrates a fresh, vivid and original take on the Evening Canticles. Read along whilst listening to Tippett's 'Magnificat' from the Choir's forthcoming album, now available on Spotify.

Choral singing comes no better

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer