St. John's College Choir, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha

Magnificat

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As conductor of the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, Andrew Nethsingha has somewhat modernized the repertory of the venerable group. However, a straight traditional program is certainly within his arsenal, and with this set of 20th century (and very early 21st century) settings of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, that's exactly what you get here. The program is both roughly chronological and illustrative of changing interpretations of the canticle texts: from the grand Victorian self-assurance of Stanford's setting you proceed through the inward complexity of Kenneth Leighton, the calm pastoralism of Herbert Sumsion and the discursive Herbert Howells, the sunny contemporary sound of Gabriel Jackson, and the angular Michael Tippett. All the music (you can really sample anywhere here) gets readings of absolute clarity, and there are deeper specificities in the program explicated by St. John's Canon Mark Oakley in a detailed booklet note. For instance, the Tippett setting was inspired by an organ stop distinctive to St. John's. Best of all is the sound, with the singers apparently separated spatially. The result is that the space is fully encompassed, but the texts remain distinct. Signum engineers often do well with this choir, but here they have exceeded even high expectations. If you're choosing just one English collegiate choir recording this year, you may do well to make it this one.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in A
1 06:17 Amazon
2 05:36 Amazon
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, Second Service
3 06:45 Amazon
4 04:28 Amazon
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in A
5 05:02 Amazon
6 03:09 Amazon
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, Gloucester Service
7 07:01 Amazon
8 04:48 Amazon
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, Truro Service
9 04:50 Amazon
10 02:45 Amazon
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, Collegium Sancti Johannis Cantabrigiense
11 04:25 Amazon
12 03:30 Amazon
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