Choral Evensong - 04 February 2017

Recorded on
Saturday, 4 February 2017

This week's Choral Evensong features the music of Giles Swayne, Gustav Holst, and Henry Balfour Gardiner.

Giles Swayne (b. 1946) studied at Ampleforth College, Cambridge, and the Royal Academy of Music under the tuition of Harrison Birtwistle, Alan Bush and Nicholas Maw. His setting of the Magnificat was commissioned by Francis Grier for the Choir of Christ Church, Oxford, with the work being completed in 1982. The melodic content of the piece is heavily influenced by zulu warrior chant, something which Swayne observed during his visit to Senegal in 1981 to record the music of the Jola community.

Henry Balfour Gardiner (1877 - 1950) was a British musician, composer, and teacher. Between studying at Charter House school and New College, Oxford, Gardiner studied piano at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main. His best-known work Evening Hymn (1908), a setting of the compline hymn "Te lucis ante terminum", is a lush, romantic work for eight-part choir and organ, of dense harmonies; it is widely considered a classic of the English choral repertoire.

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Latest release

October 2019

In their first ever album dedicated solely to the Evening Canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis), the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge releases Magnificat, a celebration of their daily tradition of choral Evensong.

Latest news

It is with sadness that we announce that the Master of St John's College, Professor Sir Christopher Dobson, died on Sunday 8 September.

He is survived by his wife, Dr Mary Dobson, their sons, Richard and William, and his beloved dog, Jimbo. He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey. A full tribute to Sir Christopher can be viewed on the College website.

Choral singing comes no better

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer