King's College Choir of Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury

Evensong Live 2019: Anthems and Canticles

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Like the universities that host them, the great English cathedral choirs are conservative institutions, carrying forward grand traditions that accrete new elements only slowly. The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, is one of the greatest of all, and one of the most conservative. You can hardly take issue with the conservatism, for chapel-goers and music buyers seem to happily snap up whatever the choir puts out. It's all enhanced, as here, by recording technology that gives an uncanny feeling of being there. This collection of live recordings from Evensong services in 2018 and 2019 is typical and defines the choir's strengths well. One of those strengths is to inject a bit of Victorian sentimentality where needed, as in Charles Villiers Stanford's "Nunc dimittis" from the Service in G (sample this). The choir can perform all the historical layers of its tradition well. Another strength is simply the group's way with lush Romantic harmonies; they shake the dust off Parry and Stanford, and several other composers little known outside Britain, and make the music come alive. Again, there are carefully chosen modern pieces that fit the mood, including Judith Weir's Ascending into Heaven, the sense of tradition here is perhaps the biggest attraction of all, and the newly knighted Sir Stephen Cleobury points it up with multiple mixed Magnificat-Nunc dimittis pairs featuring pieces from different periods: it's all part of a larger discrete body of music, he seems to say. An unusually attractive live album from the Choir of King's College.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 07:11 Amazon
2 01:41 Amazon
3 03:02 Amazon
The Short/Seventh Service
4 02:27 Amazon
5 02:49 Amazon
6 08:01 Amazon
Jesus College Service, Op. 53
7 04:23 Amazon
The Great Service
8 04:27 Amazon
9 02:48 Amazon
Mag & Nunc in A-Flat, Op. 65
10 04:15 Amazon
Evening Service in G, Op. 81
11 03:25 Amazon
12 01:30 Amazon
Evening Service No. 2 in D, "The Great"
13 08:22 Amazon
Evening Service in B-Flat, Op. 10
14 02:56 Amazon
15 07:01 Amazon
16 14:17 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick