GMCD 7155 – Evening Watch
Queens’ College Chapel Choir, Cambridge, Rupert Jordan – Conductor & Director, D.E. Weeks – Organ
By Chris Green
Some of Finzi’s music is included in Evening Watch. A CD released to mark the 550th anniversary of Queens’ College Cambridge, Founded in 1448, it has a chapel built in 1891 and one of the few Victorian organs remaining in Cambridge. The small Choir is conducted by Rupert Jorden in a programme of music that brings together works by Holst, Finzi, Kenneth Leighton and American William Schuman.
The CD is released on the Guild Label- one on which to explore some fine music that does not find its way into mainstream collections.
Cathedral Music – Summer 1999
The numerous college choirs of Oxford and Cambridge have a number of worthy recording to their credit, in particular the major colleges such as King’s and St. John’s Colleges, Cambridge, and Christchurch, Oxord. It is always of interest to hear some of the less well known choirs, and to compare and contrast the differing styles and repertoires sung within such a short geographical distance. This latest recording from Queens’ College, Cambridge will not disappoint. Ably directed by the Organ Scholar, Rupert Jordan, this mixed choir of nineteen voices produce a wonderfully blended sound with a natural sense of shape and phrase. Despite the complexity of the music, the choir sings together as one unit, particularly in the Magnificat of Leighton’s Second Service which can all to easily fall apart. There are some outstanding solos, most notably in Holst’s Psalm 86. Intonation and pitch are frequently tested, but the choir is more than a match for these awkward passages. The programme is both interesting and varied mixing the well known, such as Finzi’s Lo, the full, final sacrifice with the more obscure and rarely performed. William Schuman’s Carols of Death embrace both the unusual and standard voice writing procedures. Likewise Finzi’s Three songs to poems by Robert Bridges exude a wonderful sense of wordplay and freedom. Organ accompaniments are skilfully handled by James Weeks. I Look forward to further recordings from this outstanding choir.
Gramophone July 1999
Fresh voices (they have not yet acquired the hard professional edge that marks even the best and most expert London groups); fine, confident musicianship. The programme is thoughtfully assembled, the works being (as the booklet-note says) ‘the product of no facile creativity’. William Schumann’s Three Carols of Death are strikingly imaginative and bring out the singers’ best.