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Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Director: Stephen Cleobury

Choir of King's College, Cambridge

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge is one of the world's best known choral groups, and is the pre-eminent representative of the great British church music tradition.

It is most famous for singing A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Christmas Eve service that the BBC has broadcast since 1928, and that millions listen to worldwide. In 2009 the US Library Of Congress added a broadcast of the service to the National Recording Registry, an archive of 275 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant' recordings.

Henry VI (1421 - 1471) founded the Choir shortly after he founded the College in 1441. He created the Choir to sing daily services in his magnificent Chapel, and the Choir still exists primarily to sing these services. You are welcome to attend one of these services and hear the Choir sing.

Today the Choir consists of sixteen choristers, fourteen choral scholars and two organ scholars. The choristers attend the nearby King's College School, whilst the choral and organ scholars are students at the College itself.

Discography

Displaying 1-24 of 24 items.


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Britten - Saint Nicolas

Review: As part of this year's celebration of the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth, The Choir of King's College, Cambridge under conductor Stephen Cleobury presents Britten's enchanting choral masterpiece Saint Nicolas, coupled with the Hymn to St. Cecilia and Rejoice in the Lamb. The recording features soloist Andrew Kennedy, a former choral scholar at King's College, the Britten Sinfonia, Sawston Village College Choir and Cambridge University Musical Society. The Choir of King's College, Cambridge is one of the world's foremost choirs and unquestionably among the most widely heard.

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22154 | 00 2 SACDs | $22.95 English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Christmas-time Carols

Review: The earliest 15th century carols were based on simple folk melodies, with texts added representing Christmas ideas, but it was a long gap then until the Victorians, followed shortly by great 20th Century composers (Vaughan Williams, Holst etc), developed the wonderful catalogue of choral enjoyment that we enjoy here today.

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22147 | 00 1 CD | $12.95


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Christmas at King's College

Review:

Every Christmas Eve for decades, the world-renowned Choir of King's College Chapel, Cambridge has broadcast the Festival o Nine Lessons and Carols worldwide on BBC Radio (Carols from King's is also televised by the BBC every Christmas annually). It never fails to inspire and appeal by bringing together readings from the Christmas story with the singing of traditional carols in which all may join: classic Christmas arrangements for the choir and exciting newly-composed anthems that often become choral classics. For countless people the broadcast of Nine Lessons and Carols is a major part of the Christmas experience.

Now the King's College Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, has created this album of forty-six of the most enduring choral pieces from the Festivals. Thirteen are published here for the first time, ten were specially commissioned for King's and seven are carols for choir and congregation. Wide ranging in sources, this collection includes arrangements by King's directors of music David Wilcocks, Philip Ledger and Stephen Cleobury and leading contemporary composers such as Richard Rodney Bennett, Bob Chilcott, Jonathan Dove, John Joubert, Roxanna Panufnik, Arvo Part, John Rutter, Peter Sculthorpe, John Tavener, and Judith Weir. Christmas at King's includes a preface by Stephen Cleobury and a useful appendix of readings with relevant repertoire from the collection for those choirs who want to present their own Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

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6617b | 01 Songbook | $19.95 | SATB Choral Christmas Arrangements


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Classic Christmas Carols

Review: The Choir of King's College, Cambridge has always been synonymous with Christmas -- from the yearly television broadcast of their Lessons and Carols service to their numerous best-selling albums of Christmas songs and masses. EMI Classics is proud to present a 2-CD compilation of their greatest Christmas carol recordings.

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8989c | 00 2 CDs | $11.95 | Some a cappella Mixed Choir Christmas CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Choral Favorites From King's

Review: A collection of some of this world-class choir's "greatest hits" under the baton of three of the most highly regarded directors in the English choral tradition all at a very special price!

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8619c | 00 1 CD | $9.95 | Some a cappella English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : On Christmas Day - New Carols From King's

Review: The Choir of King's College has recorded this new disc of contemporary Christmas carols commissioned especially for them. The new carols sung by the Choir each Christmas Eve are always eagerly awaited by audiences. Stephen Cleobury has developed a long-standing commitment to bringing contemporary compositions to the Choir's repertoire alongside the very traditional and he and the Choir are well known for their great support of new music and feature here a programme of pieces by a wide variety of modern composers. Among them, "The Gleam", a new piece by Gramophone Award-winning artist Harrison Birtwistle, "In Wintertime" by Lennox Berkely and "Bogoroditse Dyevo" (Mother of God and Virgin), which was a special gift to the Choir and Stephen Cleobury from Estonian composer Arvo Part. The disc also includes the Winter Solstice Carol, written by Giles and the carol "What Sweeter Music" by composer John Rutter.

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7964c | 00 2 CDs | $16.95 | Primarily a cappella Mixed Choir Christmas CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Britten

Review: Captivating from start to finish: EMI has programmed & remastered this bounty of Britten choral work superbly. The Choir of King's College, Cambridge performs with stunning sensitivity, ethereal, heartbreaking & transcendent.

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7973c | 00 1 CD | $12.98 English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Rachmaninov Vespers

Review: There are of course many fine versions of Rachmaninov's Vespers with mixed-voice choirs, both within the Russian tradition (for which the work was written) and outside it. This is the first to feature a choir of boys' and men's voices only. The result, whose point of departure was a particularly fine crop of low basses at King's that year, blends one of the finest choirs in the English choral tradition with some of the finest music from the Russian tradition. Furthermore, the beautiful acoustics of King's College Chapel are ideal for this repertoire, since they are not unlike those of a Russian Orthodox cathedral. This disc also breaks new ground in that the recording was originally made in surround sound. Though release in that format awaits further developments in domestic audio technology, the listener should already derive some benefit in the enhanced stereo sound of the present CD.

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7748c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | Some a cappella


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Rutter Requiem

Review: Perhaps Britian's very best choir performs the works of perhaps Britian's very best living choral composer. Certainly a wonderful match this pairing makes for a great recording and worthy of every fan's collection. This CD contains a stellar cross-section of Rutter's work. He combines the melodic simplicity of Bach with a distinctly modern sensibility. The combined effect of the music's sheer beauty, the exquisite skill of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, and the magisterial hush of the King's College Chapel make for an ethereal and thoroughly transformative musical experience.

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8301c | 00 1 CD | $16.98 | Primarily a cappella English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Evensong and Vespers from King's College Cambridge

Review: This recording features Evening Prayer - Even song as it might be sung today in the chapel, albeit without the spoken parts - lessons and prayers. By way of comparrison, Vespers, still the evening office of the Roman Catholic Church, is also included, again without the spoken parts, and with some of the psalms omitted through lack of space.

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8437c | 00 1 CD | $9.95 English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : A King's College Christmas

Review: Stephen Cleobury directed the choir with this fine collection of the many of the choir's classic Christmas repertoire.

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8431c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 Mixed Choir Christmas CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Best Loved Hymns

Review: If you enjoy this kind of music - that is, hymns rooted in the Anglican church tradition - you will find much pleasure here, whether it be meditative or openly exuberant. The Choir of King's College has been singing congregational music for centuries, and the tradition, impeccably articulated and warmly expressed by the choir, remains truly and firmly preserved to this day. John Rutter had more than a casual hand in this program. He offers new arrangements/harmonizations for verses of some hymns and the choir sings his oft-performed setting of "Morning has broken". And for those who think all hymns recordings are basically the same, virtually all of the best-known tunes among these 18 selections are given fresh settings, several with descants and a few with brass accompaniments. Among the not-so-common hymns are some of the most beautiful-"Dear Lord" and "Father of mankind" (Repton), "My song is love unknown" and a hymn-anthem by William Harris, "O what their joy and their glory must be". One of the highlights of the program is a relatively new work, a hymn-anthem by British conductor/composer Stephen Jackson based on the familiar text and tune "Let all mortal flesh keep silence". Jackson ingeniously uses choir and organ and music full of rich colors, lush dissonances, and bold strokes and clashes of melody to capture the magic and mystery of the ancient text.

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7747c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 | Some a cappella English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Gregorian Chant

Review: The listener trying to get a basic grip on what medieval plainchant was all about could not ask for a better introduction than this release. The Choir of King's College, Cambridge gets back to its roots, so to speak, performing chants that could have been heard at the college's chapel half a millennium ago. With the chapel's magnificent acoustics as a backdrop, the album takes listeners through the series of decisions choristers would have made concerning what to sing. Those decisions began with the liturgical year, which called for specific chants corresponding to specific days in the cycle. "In this recording," writes John Milsom in his admirably clear and informative liner notes, "the annual cycle has been stopped at two points," both of them days connected with the birth of the Virgin Mary. A mass from one day and a Vespers service from the other are included. Some of the chants contain tropes that place them in their specific time and place. Both are presented more or less complete, with the connective tissue of text-bearing chants retained along with the big ornate pieces; Milsom compares focusing exclusively on the latter to cutting the illuminated initial letters out of a medieval manuscript. For most listeners, he points out, the experience of hearing chant is akin to that of strolling into a museum and looking at an illuminated manuscript; one experiences a richly colored, ornate thing that carries mystery associated with extreme age and remoteness in each case. But we get to the real mystery by trying to penetrate it a bit, and this recording is an ideal aid. Those who experience chant in a more mystical way will likewise benefit from this album; director Stephen Cleobury's tempos are deliberate, and he pulls back from time to time to let the sound of the choristers reverberate around the chapel.

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8636c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella Early Music CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Music For Holy Week

Review: Superb ensemble singing from simply one of the finest choirs in the world. Philip Ledger's tenure at King's was relatively short but he produced a sublime sound from the choir. Then are many jewels on this disc from Lotti's 'Crucifixus' to the simply beautiful interpretation of Orlando Gibbon's 'Drop, drop slow tears'. Perfection in delivery and hauntingly beautiful tone quality mark this performance of some glorious holy week music. "The Lamentations of Jeremiah" are usually transmitted as a single piece in most contemporary manuscripts, but they are really two separate compositions in different modes. Tallis and his contemporary John Sheppard were the only 2 English composers of the time to compose hymn settings of any quality. It has been suggested that they had it in mind to compose a cycle of settings for Mary Tudor's chapel. "O Nata lux" may belong to this Marian set. It is almost entirely homophonic, and relies rhetorically upon a flexible declamatory style. " Salvator Mundi" is one of Tallis's best-known motets. The masterly treatment of imitative writing is combined with a fine sense of structure and balance, achieved through repetition, to give a sense of large-scale design, a feature characteristic of Tallis's best large-scale compositions. And the most beautiful anthem on the disc: Tallis's "If Ye Love Me". So much wonderful music, exquisitely sung; a delcious Easter treat!

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8598c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 | Some a cappella Easter Music


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Orlando Gibbons - Tudor Church Music

Review: Orlando Gibbons began his association with Kings College, Cambridge as a chorister under the direction of his eldest brother from 1596 to 1598. His talent was such that by the age of 21 he was sharing the duties as an organist. In 1623 he accepted the additional appointment as organist at Westminster Abbey; but he died suddenly just 2 years later. He was not a prolific composer, but his works include many masterpieces some of which are on this disc. One of his most outstanding verse anthems is: "This is the record of John". It is recorded on this disc by the Kings College Choir featuring Michael Chance as the countertenor soloist; and few have ever performed this as well as Chance. His tone quality, his diction, his emotional investment in the music goes way beyond other renditions. Another bright spot in this group of pieces is the verse anthem: "See, see, the word is incarnate" featuring the choir with a group of outstanding soloists: Paul Smy (boy soprano); Chance, Jones (altos); Daniels, Rivers (tenors);Finley (bass).Some of the other selections are: anthems: "A Mighty and Everlasting God"; "Lift up your heads". The London Early Music group does much of the accompanying. The Choir with its boy sopranos and male altos are dictionally perfect and so enjoyable to hear.

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8686c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 | Some a cappella Early Music CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols

Review: The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was first held on Christmas Eve 1918. It was planned by Eric Milner-White, who at the age of thirty-four had just been appointed Dean of King's after experience as an army chaplain which had convinced him that the Church of England needed more imaginative worship. (He devised our Advent Carol Service in 1934, and was a liturgical pioneer and authority during his twenty two years as Dean of York.) The choir included sixteen trebles as laid down in King Henry VI's statutes, but until 1927 the men's voices were provided partly by Choral Scholars and partly by older Lay Clerks, and not, as now, by fourteen undergraduates. Almost immediately other churches adapted the service for their own use. A wider frame began to grow when the service was first broadcast in 1928 and, with the exception of 1930, it has been broadcast annually, even during the Second World War. Sometime in the early 1930s the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programmes. It is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide, including those to Radio Four in the United Kingdom. In recent years it has become the practice to broadcast a digital recording on Christmas Day on Radio Three, and since 1963 a shorter service has been filmed periodically for television.

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8450c | 00 2 CDs | $16.95 | Some a cappella Mixed Choir Christmas CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Best Loved Christmas Carols

Review: The festival of Nine Lessons and Carols held in the chapel of King's College, Cambrige on Christmas eve has long since been a British Institution and an internationally famed event. The first broadcast of this beautiful service was in 1928, and has been broadcasted ever year since, including during wartime, with the exception of 1930. This excellent sounding 2 Disc set is a compilation of some of the best Christmas carols the choir has performed over the years. Each carol is performed to perfection but there are still some exceptionally memorable moments. As always, the opening boy soprano solo in "Once in royal David's City" will give you chills, the arrangement of "In The Bleak Midwinter" will melt your heart, and the gorgeous harmonies of "Gabriel's Message" will remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. Over 50 different carols!

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7342c | 00 2 CDs | $16.98 | Primarily a cappella Mixed Choir Christmas CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Essential Carols

Review: Another fine collection of Christmas carols from the Anglican tradition.Some albums are tailor-made for Christmas Eve listening, the cozy musical equivalent of a roaring fire, a mug of eggnog, and the bright lights on the tree. The morning of Christmas Day requires something else entirely, and that's when this set of Essential Carols from the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, will fit the bill, with the angelically pure voices of young British choristers blending to the strains of traditional carols both familiar and little-known. This is Christmas music sung the old-fashioned way, its simplicity and spiritual warmth not compromised by big operatic voices or pop personalities. Recorded under the direction of David Willcocks between 1959 and '65, these performances sound truly timeless today, and no matter how knowledgeable you are about Christmas music, you'll find some surprises among these 38 carols.

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7949c | 00 2 CDs | $16.95 | Primarily a cappella Mixed Choir Christmas CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Great Choral Classics

Review: Directed by Sir David Willcocks, The Choir of King's College, Cambridge was founded in 1441 by Henry VI, who wanted the daily services in his chapel to be provided with music, and stipulated that the college should be responsible for the education of the choristers. This is a 2-CD set featuring a selection of the Choir's most renowned recordings. CD 1 includes Gregorio Allegri's "Miserere," Palestrina's "Stabet Mater," Tallis' "Spem in allium," Wm. Byrd's "Ave Verum Corpus" and the 12 movements of Vivaldi's "Gloria in D Major, RV 589." CD 2 has Orlando Gibbons' "This is the record of John," the 11 movements of Bach's "Jesu, priceless treasure," and 12 Coronation Anthems by Handel, "Zadok the Priest," "My heart is inditing," "Let thy hand be strengthened" and "The King shall rejoice." This collection is a triumph, as soaring and angelically beautiful as you can imagine, performed by a choir whose excellence has remained focused and constant through the changing centuries. Some accompaniment.

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7723c | 00 2 CDs | $16.98 | Primarily a cappella


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : The Psalms of David

Review: The well-known psalms selected for these recording constitute a cross-section of the Psalter. Some are in praise of Jerusalem, both for its beauty and as the dwelling-place of Jehovah; some are the passionate cry of an exile; some are quiet songs of trust; some are triumphant hymns of praise. This package is a 2 CD digitally remastered release of the early Vol 1 and Vol 2 albums.

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8442c | 00 2 CDs | $16.95 | Some a cappella English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Voices of Praise

Review: Voices of Praise is a spiritually uplifting collection drawing from the rich catalog of King's College Choir. Programmed to the church calendar it is an album for all seasons. Known world over for their recordings of church music the Choir of King's College, Cambridge has a rich catalog of recordings on EMI Classics dating back more than 30 years. This new collection Voices of Praise offers the most popular church music from that catalog. Among the great church works included on this recording are the hymns " A Mighty Fortress Is Our God", " Morning Has Broken" and " All People That On Earth Do Dwell" (The Old Hundredth). This is a double CD release.

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7942c | 00 2 CDs | $16.98 | Primarily a cappella English Choral CDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Anthems From King's

Review: The Choir of King's College Cambridge sings some of the best-loved English anthems in the stunning fan-vaulted chapel which is famed throughout the world for its beautiful acoustic. The programme includes some of the most ethereal anthems, while those such as Parry's "I was glad", Stanford's "Coronation Gloria" and Vaughan Williams' "Let all the World" make it the perfect release to coincide with the Queen's Jubilee Celebrations. The candlelit camera work is elegantly done and in this respect the presentation is very dignified and understated, perhaps appropriately reflecting the King's sound. The performances are highly musical with the expected King's polish... Fans of the King's tradition around the world will relish this compilation of 'choral favourites'. Filmed in High Definition with 5.1 surround sound.

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7542d | DVD | $24.98 | Primarily a cappella Choral Performance DVDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Carols From King's

Review: The world famous Christmas Eve service, presented by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, is brought to us in a format it was destined to be seen on - DVD. This widescreen BBC presentation is a dazzling display that is sure to be enjoyed by any who appreciate both watching and listening to christmas choral music. Some memoralable moments include the opening boy soprano solo if "One in royal David's city," the big choir sound of "Silent Night," the fast-pased "Riu, Riu Chiu" which is sure to put a smile on your face and the beautiful soothing melody of "I Wonder As I Wander." Also, the finale, "Hark The Herald Angels Sing." Along with the pristine DVD transfer of the service, those who buy this DVD will also be treated to the first televised service, recorded in 1954, as well as giving you the option of viewing only the musical portions of the service, excluding the readings. Also, a booklet detailing the history of the service, lyrics to all songs and a 30 minute conversation between Sir David Wilcox, Sir Philip Ledger and Stephen Cleobury, the three Directors of Music at King's Collefge since 1957.

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7351d | DVD | $24.98 Choral Performance DVDs


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : The Story of King's College Choir

Review: A visual and musical journey around King's College Chapel in Cambridge, describing its history as well as the life and work of it's world-famous choir.

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9850d | DVD | $17.95 Choral Performance DVDs

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