'Mass in G minor' released
Posted on: 24 May 2018
We are delighted to release Mass in G minor, our latest album on the award-winning 'St John's Cambridge' label. The disc features choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams. In the first week of its release, the disc has reached No.2 in the UK Classical Specialist Charts.
The disc has already received critical acclaim, receiving favourable reviews in BBC Radio 3 Record Review, MusicWeb International, and The Guardian and 5*s from BBC Music Magazine, Choir & Organ and Planet Hugill. It has been included on Spotify's "Classical New Releases" Playlist and Gramophone's 'The Listening Room' playlist.
On the day we launched the album, our service of Choral Evensong was video broadcast live by Classic FM on Facebook. This was a first for both the Choir and Classic FM, and we believe that it is the first time that any collegiate or cathedral choir has live-streamed Evensong on social media. Whist live we received 32,000 views, and thousands more have since watched the service.
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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 disc was accompanied by Joseph Wicks – now the Assistant Director of Music at Truro Cathedral – on the organ. It also features trumpeter David Blackadder, who performed in the majestic 'Lord, thou hast been our refuge.' We were delighted to hear that David would be performing at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle the day after the release.
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. Ceri gave a short lecture recital after Evensong on launch day, which included two Vaughan Williams songs – sung by current Gentlemen of the Choir James Adams and James Quilligan – that she accompanied.
The album artwork features the image of a poppy by Canadian photographer Garvin Hunter.