A new festive release from the Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge under their director Mark Williams – with additional performances from organists Robert Dixon and Timothy Lambourn, and trumpeter Rebecca Crawshaw. The programme is drawn from pieces for the festivals of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas: Of the annual Christian seasons it is surely that from Advent to Epiphany which inspires believer and non-believer alike the most: the believer celebrates Christ’s birth whilst the non-believer considers hopes for rebirth and renewal as a New Year approaches. The feast of Candlemas which marks the end of the liturgical season of Christmas, celebrates the presentation of the infant Jesus to the old man Simeon, and is strongly associated with the gift of light. If aspirations surrounding the arrival of a new born child are universal, the Christmas music chosen here reflects the season’s inspiration through quite recent compositions, alongside music from the early part of the 20th century
The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge, directed by Richard Pinel, has gained an international reputation for its music-making, based on performances around the globe, broadcasts, highly praised recordings and regular services in the College's beautiful and ancient chapel.
Jesus College, founded out of the ancient nunnery of St Radegund in 1496, has a long and rich tradition of church music. It is distinctive in maintaining two choirs: the Chapel Choir, with its centuries of tradition, which is made up of boy choristers and adult male singers; and the College Choir, formed in 1982, which has female undergraduates for its top line. The adult male singers form the ‘back row’ for both choirs. Each choir has developed a distinctive reputation and repertoire.
Occasionally, the College and Chapel Choirs join together for services and concerts, forming an ensemble of nearly fifty singers. Projects have included Haydn's Nelson Mass, Handel's Messiah and Bach's St Matthew Passion and St John Passion. The Combined Choirs have performed with renowned soloists and ensembles including the Saraband Consort and His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts under Mark Williams, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under John Rutter. The Combined Choirs also participate in regular large-scale performances with other Cambridge Choirs, including Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, Verdi's Otello and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast.