Read Andrew Mellor's Gramophone article article on the chapels and churches which stream their services.
For some time New College Choir has promoted and manufactured its own CDs, selling them through the choir website and on tour, as well as recording CDs for other labels. The time has come now to launch the choir's own label more formally and to join a national distribution network. The label is called Novum – hoping to suggest by this the choir's innovative approach as well as its ancient origins.
The first CD on the new label is the recording of Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata vergine, to be released to coincide with the 400th anniversary of its publication in Venice in September 1610. The recording displays the musical energy associated with New College Choir, coloured by the very special sound of its trebles alongside outstanding tenor and bass voices. Apart from brilliant contributions from the tenors Nicholas Mulroy, Thomas Hobbs and Thomas Raskin, all the solo material is taken by Choir members, emphasizing the nature of the music as a consort work. This approach to the score conforms to historical practice, but retains a contemporary sense of drama and musical inflection.
The Choir is joined by another award-winning group, the Oxford-based Charivari Agréable (director: Kah-Ming Ng). Their instrumental contribution, scrupulously following the directions given in the 1610 print, and coming to a climax in the Sonata sopra Sancta Maria and the Magnificat, brings the Vespers sequence to a brilliant conclusion.