The Choir to release 'Mass in G minor'

Posted on: 18 April 2018

We're delighted to announce the forthcoming release of Mass in G minor, the fifth album on our 'St John's Cambridge' record label with Signum Records, featuring music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The disc is released on Friday 18 May, and is available to pre-order here.

On launch day, join us for Evensong in St John's College Chapel at 6:30PM, where we will perform music by Vaughan Williams. If you cannot make it, you can watch the service streamed live by Classic FM via Facebook, a first for both Classic FM and the Choir.

Director of Music Andrew Nethsingha says of the mass: “It is my belief that the Mass in G Minor is one of the great British liturgical masterpieces of the twentieth century… I know of nothing remotely like it in previous British a capella music.” The work was composed between 1920-21, and it is one of many liturgical choral works on this disc that were written directly after the composer’s experience of the First World War as a wagon orderly.

The first review came from Choir & Organ Magazine, which praised its “clean lines, rounded, tone and a near perfect balance of voices,” as well as giving the disc a five star rating. Look out for Andrew's interview with the editor of Gramophone Magazine, Martin Cullingford, as well as the review of the disc in the next edition of the magazine.

The disc features trumpeter David Blackadder, who performed in the majestic 'Lord, thou hast been our refuge.' We're delighted to hear that he will be playing at the forthcoming Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The sleeve notes for the disc are written by Dr Ceri Owen, a research fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, whose research is concerned with late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British music and musical culture.

The album artwork features the image of a poppy by Canadian photographer Garvin Hunter.

Revd Duncan Dormor

A Tribute to Duncan

Mass in G minor is dedicated to the former Dean of Chapel, the Revd Duncan Dormor, in recognition of his part in creating our label in collaboration with Signum Records, as well as all the support he has given the Choir first as Chaplain (1998-2002) and then as Dean (2002-2017) at St John's College.

The history of Vaughan Williams and St John's

The Choir first recorded music by the composer in 1963 under George Guest. The Choir's fifth record, 'Twentieth Century Church Music', featured 'Lord, thou hast been our refuge' accompanied by organist Brian Runnett and trumpeter Peter Owen. The piece also features on 'Mass in G minor.'

You can listen to the track on Spotify:

“This is a very fine disc indeed. Andrew Nethsingha has chosen the music with great discernment and conducts it with evident commitment and understanding. The choir sings marvellously from start to finish.”

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Recorded on
20 November 2021
  • Responses and Preces: Rose
  • Psalm 104 vv.1-10 (tone iii)
  • Readings: Genesis 45.1-15, John 20.19-23
  • Kennedy (Worcester Service)
  • Biebl: Ave Maria
  • Voluntary: Franck Choral no.1 in E major
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