Hear My Words: Choral Classics from St John’s

Hear My Words: Choral Classics from St John’s

Hear My Words
Director of Music: 
Andrew Nethsingha
Organ Scholar: 
Timothy Ravalde
Release date: 
November 2010
Featuring: 
  • Helen Scarbrough (cor anglais)
  • Graham Walker (cello)
Record label: 
Chandos
Catalogue number: 
CHSA 5085
Booklet: 
PDF icon Download album booklet (3.39 MB)

The music itself represents a time span of nearly 500 years of choral music. The earliest piece dates from the first half of the sixteenth century, and the newest was composed as recently as 2007. The styles and genres are varied, but there are clear links between the works throughout. For example, several are based on texts from the psalms, and the works by Pärt, Parsons, and Rachmaninoff offer three radically different interpretations of the Ave Maria. Some of the works also add a solo instrument to the familiar mix of voices and organ. But perhaps most importantly, all the pieces recorded here sit comfortably under the heading of ‘Popular Choral Classics’. Allegri’s Miserere is counted among the great classics of church music. Part of its mystique stems from its origins; for many years the work was performed only in the Sistine Chapel, and as with other works tied to a single place it became an object for pilgrimage. In this case the pilgrims included Mendelssohn, as well as Mozart who famously noted down the work from memory after leaving the Vatican, thereby risking excommunication by the Catholic Church. This new release also features Stanford’s Jubilate, which was written for Trinity College, Cambridge. Intended as part of the service of Morning Prayer, it has long been one of the most popular canticles in the Anglican repertoire. In keeping with the text, Psalm 100, the tone is festive throughout.

Track list

  1. Miserere Mei, Deus, Allegri
  2. Ave Maris Stella, Grieg
  3. Bogoróditse Djévo, Pärt
  4. Ave Maria, Parsons
  5. Bogoróditse Djévo, Rachmaninoff
  6. Panis Angelicus, Franck
  7. Exsultate Deo, Palestrina
  8. A New Song, MacMillan
  9. Agnus Dei from Missa Salve intemerata, Tallis
  10. O Lord, thou has searched me out, Rutter
  11. Cantique de Jean Racine, Fauré
  12. Hear my words, ye people, Parry
  13. O Taste and See, Vaughan Williams
  14. Jubilate in B flat, Stanford

Reviews

★★★★ Performance ★★★★★ Recording: The poised, sentient performance of Allegri's famous Miserere opening the disc bespeaks dedicated preparation, both technical and spiritual. I like the spatial variegations drawn by [Andrew Nethsinga]...and the unobtrusively pregnant phrasing of the tenor plainsong interjections...John's are a choir in fulsome health

BBC Music Magazine

★★★★ St John's has a wonderful acoustic, neither too spacious nor too intimate, and in Andrew Nethsinga it has a director who knows how to fill every corner with grace and clarity...the choir sings suavely and radiantly without resorting to cathedral prissiness; the recorded sound is superb. A joy all round

Classic FM

★★★★★ Choral ‘classics’ old and new show the St John’s Choir to be in rude health

John Stearne, Gramophone

★★★★★ Dazzlingly varied .. The rich programme also, of course, highlights the sheer flexibility and technical quality of the choir, which is caught in rich, precise sound

Brian Morton, Choir & Organ

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, is one of the finest of the traditional English choral foundations, and the present recording demonstrates how richly deserved that reputation is

Willia J Gatens, American Record Guide

The boy treble voices bring lustre and freshness to the sonority and the singing throughout is stirring and polished

Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph

It is with Allegri's impressive Miserere that the disc begins. One must congratulate those boys who rise well above their fellows...an admirable choir and a nicely varied programme

International Record Review

Eclectic repertoire expertly sung

The Observer

The St John’s boys are on top form

Limelight

The boy trebles are especially radiant, the tone pious and reverential, and the sound, captured in high-resolution SACD surround, exceptional

Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)

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Recorded on
15 November 2020
  • Preces and Responses - Tallis
  • Psalm 78 vv. 1-8
  • Magnificat tertii toni - Lassus
  • Nunc Dimittis tertii toni
  • In Pace - Sheppard
  • Preacher - The Chaplain
  • Fantasia in G major - Byrd

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