New Choir recording marks Britten's 100th anniversary

Britten CD cover

The Choir of King’s College is celebrating Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday with the release of a new recording of Saint Nicolas.

This recording of Saint Nicolas closely follows the staging and instrumentation of the première of the work at the first Aldeburgh Festival in 1948.

Britten calls for a tenor soloist (Andrew Kennedy), chorus of men and boys (King’s College Choir), gallery chorus of girls (Sawston Village College Choir), orchestra (Britten Sinfonia) and congregation of mixed voices (Cambridge University Music Society).

Director of Music Stephen Cleobury said: “I am delighted to have been able to record Saint Nicolas in King's. The cantata was written in the year I was born, and I have known it and performed in it in various roles since I was a teenager.

"Britten's links with King's were strong; he frequently visited EM Forster in the College, and my two predecessors, David Willcocks and Philip Ledger, both worked closely with the composer.”

As well as Saint Nicolas the album also includes two of Britten’s most popular choral works: the Hymn to St Cecilia and Rejoice in the Lamb.

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The recording is the third release on the King’s College label, and the first to be released in surround sound, capturing the unique acoustics of King’s College Chapel. The two-disc package comes with a standard CD and an SACD containing high definition stereo and 5.1 surround mixes.

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, with Director of Music Stephen Cleobury and Britten Sinfonia, will celebrate the launch of this album with two performances of Saint Nicolas this winter. Andrew Kennedy will sing the title role in the first performance, in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on 26 November.

On 7 December, British tenor and King’s alumnus James Gilchrist will join the Choir and ensemble. Saint Nicolas will be performed in the second half of each programme; the cantata will be preceded by Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. See the Choir concerts page for details.

1 November 2013