English Church Music & Favourite Christmas Carols: King's College Choir

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Thomas Mudd, Orlando Gibbons, Traditional, William Byrd, Robert I Johnson, John Taverner, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Herbert Howells, Richard Dering, Adrian Batten, Thomas Weelkes, Thomas Tallis

Label: Testament

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Mono
ADD

Catalogue Number: SBT1121

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Let my merciful ears Boris Ord
Thomas Mudd Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Hosanna to the Son of David King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
Orlando Gibbons Composer
(Die) Könige, '(The) Three Kings' Traditional Composer
Boris Ord
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Ave verum corpus William Byrd Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
O Lord, in thy wrath rebuke me not Boris Ord
Orlando Gibbons Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Dum transisset sabbatum Robert I Johnson Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
Senex puerem portabat King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
William Byrd Composer
Christe Jesu, pastor bone John Taverner Composer
Boris Ord
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Ding dong! merrily on high King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
Traditional Composer
Mass for four voices Boris Ord
William Byrd Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Once in Royal David's city Garth Benson
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
Traditional Composer
Iustorum animae William Byrd Composer
Boris Ord
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Cast me not away from Thy presence King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
Samuel Sebastian Wesley Composer
Services, 'Collegium Regale' Boris Ord
Garth Benson
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Herbert Howells Composer
Factum est silentium King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
Richard Dering Composer
Deliver us, O Lord our God Adrian Batten Composer
Boris Ord
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Hosanna to the Son of David Boris Ord
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Thomas Weelkes Composer
Te Deum Boris Ord
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Thomas Tallis Composer
Mass for four voices William Byrd Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
O Lord, arise Boris Ord
Thomas Weelkes Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
In dulci jubilo Traditional Composer
King's College Choir, Cambridge
Boris Ord
It is probably not too much to say that the distinctively modern style of choral singing was created at Cambridge during these years. Cathedral singing was then still too often heavy and syllabic, with the lay-clerk tone grindingly insensitive to blend and nuance. King’s brought light and grace. It was singing guided by intelligence: their psalms alone were a revelation. A generation of choral scholars went out from Cambridge at that time and, along with others who heard the choir either in the Chapel or on the radio, brought the style to other choirs; the sensitive play of light-and-shade and the flexible way with words which we now find in recordings of choirs throughout the land owes most to this famous choir and to the man who directed it in those years.
A photograph of Boris Ord is reproduced in the leaflet, showing him with a brightly striped blazer buttoned tight across his homely middle, and with a jolly smile for the camera. That is not how I remember him at all. An irascible man, with an alarming presence, a terror to the ladies in the Musical Society choir (“Contraltos, you have about as much vitality as a slug in the bottom of the Cam”), he moved with ominous authority in procession, and in unaccompanied services exhaled a chain-smoker’s bass, pumping with his left hand to control the tempo and glowering horribly in the candlelight. Under him the choir was its most fully, excitingly characteristic self. These early records catch it in (say) the sublime quietness of the “Dona nobis pacem” of Byrd’s four-part Agnus Dei, or in the Gloria of Howells’s Magnificat. Several of them show how fine was the sustained growth of crescendo, or the slight but decisive quickening of impulse. There was refinement but also drama and colour (hear the contrasts in Factum est silentium or the sudden forte of “He hath shown strength” in Howells). It is interesting too to hear the technical improvement of the recordings year by year, starting with the “oppressively humid day in July 1949” when Andrew Parker’s note tells us, “the choir was to learn for the first time the joy of singing of snow and cold winter in entirely the wrong season”.'

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