Debut recording by St John’s Voices featuring two world premieres released
"This recording marks a really special moment for St John's Voices: it marks how far we've come in the few short years of our existence"
The first-ever album professionally recorded by mixed-voice choir St John’s Voices has been released today.
It features choral music by Welsh composer William Mathias, including familiar and lesser-known material, as well as two major world premiere recordings. Mathias is notable for writing some of the most imaginative choral music of the 20th century.
St John’s Voices is directed by award-winning cellist and conductor Graham Walker and most of the members are current students at St John's although some are from the wider university community and the city of Cambridge. The group was formed in 2013 to complement the world-famous St John's College Choir, and the Voices have quickly developed an incredible reputation for their emotionally-charged performances.
As well as singing Evensong once a week, the mixed-voice choir performs locally and further afield; recent tours include Hong Kong, Singapore, Austria, Ireland and Switzerland. They are currently developing plans to tour to Colombia, the USA, Canada, and a number of other European destinations.
Graham said: “This recording marks a really special moment for St John's Voices: it marks how far we've come in the few short years of our existence. It was such a pleasure to record (though recording is always a bit stressful!) and it's come out incredibly well - I'm enormously proud of what we've achieved together!”
Significant tracks on the album include the world’s first recording of Riddles – based on riddles in the tenth-century Anglo-Saxon poetry anthology The Exeter Book – which also features close harmony group The Gentlemen of St John’s. Learsongs is another world premiere recording, and is an entertaining and moving series of five Edward Lear poems set to music.
Another highlight on the disc is a performance of Y Nefoedd sydd yn datgan gogoniant Duw, which was commissioned by the College in 1988 to mark the 400th anniversary of the translation of the Bible into Welsh by Johnian Bishop William Morgan.
The album was recorded in March 2019 in St John’s College Chapel, and is released on the Naxos label. The album will be officially launched at St John's at Evensong on 20 January at 6.30pm; everyone is welcome to attend.