‘the extraordinary fertility of Blow’s imagination has not yet been celebrated as fully as it deserves’ - Robert Quinney
The choir's latest disc, symphony anthems by John Blow, was officially released today, and is available to buy in our online shop, or in Blackwell's Music in Oxford. Recorded on the choir's own label, Novum, this disc is the first to be made by the choir under the new Organist, Robert Quinney.
John Blow – mentor, colleague and friend of Purcell – deserves recognition as a major figure in the flourishing of music that followed the Restoration in 1660. This new recording includes three previously unrecorded symphony anthems, together with ceremonial works written for the coronation of James II and the consecration of the rebuilt St Paul’s Cathedral. Alongside these sits the first performance in 400 years of a verse anthem, newly reconstructed by Robert Quinney. New College Choir are accompanied by by St James’ Baroque, playing period instruments, bringing Blow’s innovative and strikingly individual voice vividly to life.
New College Choir is giving two concerts in June in honour of Sir Curtis Price, who retires from his position as Warden at the end of this University Term.
On Saturday 11 June, in the Sheldonian Theatre, we will be joined by recent alumni now enjoying busy singing careers - Nick Pritchard (tenor) and Alexander Chance (countertenor), together with acclaimed soprano Gillian Keith and the Oxford period instrument orchestra Instruments of Time & Truth.
On Tuesday 21 June, the choir performs at the Cadogan Hall in London, joined by The English Concert and a team of star soloists - Lucy Crowe, Robin Blaze, Benjamin Hulett and Marcus Farnsworth.
Both concerts culminate in a performance of the Ode for St Cecilia's Day by Handel - a rarely heard masterpiece, which sets a text in praise of music by John Dryden with typical Handelian colour and lyricism. At the Sheldonian we will also perform anthems by Henry Purcell and his contemporary John Blow - whose God spake sometime in visions opens the choir's recently released new CD; and Robert Quinney will play Handel's Organ Concerto in F, Opus 4 no 4. At the Cadogan Hall on 21 June the programme opens with Bach's effervescent motet Der Geist hilft, before we turn to Handel for another ode: Eternal source of light divine, written to celebrate the birthday of Queen Anne in 1713.
Tickets are available as follows:
Saturday 11 June, Sheldonian Theatre: via Oxford Playhouse website
Tuesday 21 June, Cadogan Hall: via Cadogan Hall website
We're pleased to announce the details of this year's Chorister Open Day which will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 18 June, 4-6pm. If your son is aged somewhere between two and six, loves singing, and you're interested in the possibility of his being one of the Choristers of the Choir of New College Oxford, then this is the day for you - please do come along! More information about the day, and the registration form, can be found here.
A photographer from the Daily Telegraph visited us on Saturday. The images were published as part of this article:
The purpose of New College Choir is, fundamentally, to pray for the soul of the Founder, William of Wykeham. But we also exist to serve the college as it is currently constituted - that is, the current body of students, staff and fellows - and the wider community, whom we welcome as guests. For many in our congregation, firm religious conviction seems impossible, but the music and language of Evensong provide both a valuable respite from the quotidian, and perhaps a means of access to something otherwise intangible...
Photo by Nick Rutter
New College Choir is seeking an experienced music administrator to take responsibility for the planning and management of the choir’s UK and international concert and touring programme, the production and marketing of the choir’s record label Novum, and overseeing the content of the choir’s website and promoting its activities via social media.
For full details and how to apply please see the New College vacancy page.
The closing date for this vacancy has now passed.
As our final two webcasts of term, we've put up a live recording of both our Advent and Christmas carol services, for all those who couldn't make it, or who need a fix of New College Choir over the vacation - after all, you can never have too many carol services on Christmas Eve...
The orders of service for both webcasts are available below, so as to help you enjoy, and participate in, the service.
(Also, on a technical note, we've upgraded our streaming system - the player now uses HTML5, meaning that a consistent webcast experience will now be delivered regardless of OS or browser.)
Christmas Carol Service - the service booklet is also available in pdf format.
Advent Carol Service - if the document reader below isn't working, the service booklet is available in pdf format.
New College Choir Carol Services 2015
Sunday 29 November at 5.30pm
Sunday 6 December at 3.00pm
Due to enormous demand, we regret that there are currently no more tickets available for the Christmas Carol Service on 6 December.
However, a very few antechapel (restricted view) tickets are still available for this Sunday’s Advent Carol service – please email email@example.com for details.
There are generally returns on the day, so all those still interested in attending either service may want to queue at the antechapel entrance for any spare seats. Both services will also be available afterwards as webcasts.
Tickets are still available for the concert on Tuesday 8 December - the Choir of New College Oxford will be singing at Dorchester Abbey, in a Festival of Readings and Music for Christmas, in aid of the Home Farm Trust. More information on this event, and a link to buy tickets (via Eventbrite), is on our Upcoming Events page.
Today history was made by the girl choristers of Frideswide Voices. Making their debut in Oxford's oldest choral foundation, they were joined by the New College clerks and conducted by Robert Quinney.
Frideswide Voices was founded last year, and is flourishing under the direction of Will Dawes. We are not the first foundation to host them - in fact, we were beaten to it by both Magdalen and Christ Church, and the girls have also sung at Queen's, Oriel, Trinity, and many times at Worcester - but we hope it won't be long before they return. We certainly have many reasons to welcome them; not least, the fact that several of the Frideswide girls are sisters of current or former New College choristers. It was good to see many relations, friends and supporters in the congregation this evening.
Below, Frideswide Voices in rehearsal, singing music by Purcell. The photograph was taken (without flash so as not to distract the choristers!) by Nancy-Jane Rucker.
...[a] more than agreeable border-crossing, centuries-spanning recital...
Choir & Organ