Sunday Times review of the The Gate of Glory – “Five more masterpieces…beautifully sung”

We are delighted to receive the first review of our new CD, the The Gate of Glory, Music from the Eton Choirbook, Vol. 5, which was released last week:

Five more masterpieces from this rich source of pre-Reformation sacred music, beautifully sung. There’s Robert Hacomplaynt’s rhythmically complex Salve Regina, a fascinating Gaude flore virginali by Hugo Kellyk and a Robert Fayrfax Magnificat. But it’s the rich male-voice compositions – Walter Lambe’s Gaude flore virginali and John Browne’s O regina mundi clara – that hit the sweetest spots.

Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times, 19 November 2017

Please click here for further details or to purchase this CD

The Gate of Glory: Music from the Eton Choirbook Vol. 5 Released

We are delighted to announce the release today of our latest recording of music from the Eton Choirbook, The Gate of Glory (Avie). This is the fifth volume in the critically acclaimed series and includes the world première recording of Walter Lambe’s Gaude flore virginali. The Eton Choirbook contains an extraordinarily vast and diverse collection of English sacred music from the turn of the 16th century and this CD features music by some of its more famous composers, Robert Fayrfax, Walter Lambe and John Browne, alongside less familiar names, Hugo Kellyk and Robert Hacomplaynt. The recording was produced by Jeremy Summerly.

The first three volumes in the Music from the Eton Choirbook series, More Divine than Human, Choirs of Angels and Courts of Heaven were all on the final shortlists for Gramophone Awards and Volume 4, The Sun Most Radiant, was Editor’s Choice in Gramophone on its release last year.

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Christ Church Cathedral School wins Oxfordshire County Music Service Award

Christ Church Cathedral School (CCCS) is the first winner of a County cup which recognises contribution to community music. The Oxfordshire Community Hub Music Award was given to the School in recognition of its Cathedral Choristers’ Outreach work over the past decade.

The Oxfordshire Music Hub Cup, donated by Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, was presented to Stephen Darlington, Director of Music at Christ Church, at a formal ceremony on Saturday night, attended by county councillors, mayors and local politicians, along with a large audience. “I am thrilled that all the Choristers’ hard work in visiting so many local primary schools over the past decade has been recognised,” said Dr Darlington, who praised CCCS’s Director of Music, Sophie Biddell, for her flair and commitment to the project.

The CCCS Outreach project began as part of the government Sing Up campaign. When funding was withdrawn, CCCS undertook to keep the project going. More than 50 local schools have now been involved in the project, which aims to encourage singing in primary schools as well as provide training for music teachers.

Richard Murray, Headmaster of CCCS, thanked the Oxfordshire County Music Service for the award. “It is such a privilege for our boys to be able to travel round the County helping to introduce the joys of singing to so many boys and girls,” he said. “It is one of the joys of my job to attend the termly concert in the Cathedral where a number of schools come together to share their new-found passion for music.”

Musical talent at CCCS was also recognised at Saturday’s ceremony when Bernardo Mercado, a Form 7 pupil and Radley Foundation Scholar, received an award for the Most Improved Junior Player of the Year.

Schools sing out to celebrate 10th Anniversary Outreach Concert in Christ Church Cathedral

Six primary schools from across Oxfordshire joined pupils from Christ Church Cathedral School and the Cathedral Choristers for the 10th Anniversary Outreach Concert in the Cathedral.

A record number of people attended this year’s concert on Monday, which celebrated the fact that more than 50 local schools have been involved in the project over the past decade.

The children performed two pieces of music written by composer John Madden for the occasion.

Christ Church Director of Music Dr Stephen Darlington said: “When we first started this project ten years ago, we could not have imagined the huge number of children who have since been involved.”

The Outreach project is a joint venture between Oxfordshire County Music Service and Christ Church Cathedral School. It is funded by Christ Church Cathedral School and aims to encourage more singing and instrument playing in primary schools and provides training for music teachers.

The schools involved this year were Appleton, North Hinksey, New Hinksey, West Oxford, St Francis, Botley, and Christ Church.

Pete Hughes, Oxford Times, 28 June 2017

Please click here to view this article on the Oxford Times website.


Former Christ Church chorister receives literary award and glowing reviews for “The Matter of the Heart”

We were thrilled to learn that one of our former choristers, Thomas Morris, had won an RSL Jerwood Award and has received critical acclaim for his book The Matter of the Heart. After completing his time as a Christ Church chorister, Thomas went on to Winchester, then returned to Christ Church to study for a degree in Music. He had a long career as a BBC radio producer, spending his last five years at the BBC as producer of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time, before leaving to write full-time.

His book tells the story of cardiac surgery in eleven landmark operations, and demonstrates how a pioneering generation of doctors in the early twentieth century overcame a longstanding belief that the heart was out of bounds to the scalpel. Please click here for further details.

Thrilling… The “dizzying” story of heart surgery is every bit as important as that of the nuclear, computer or rocket ages. And now it has been given the history it deserves…

Sunday Times

Thomas Morris does for the history of cardiac surgery what The Right Stuff and Hidden Figures did for the space race… The book is – appropriately – pulse-thumpingly gripping and will be enjoyed by anyone who, in any sense of the phrase, has a heart.

Mark Lawson

Tremendous. An exhilarating sweep through ancient history and contemporary practice in surgery of the heart. It’s rich in extraordinary detail and stories that will amaze you. A wonderful book.

Melvyn Bragg

Crammed full of compelling characters and dramatic scenes, this book gets to the heart of a fascinating matter and demonstrates why it matters so much.

Thomas Wright, author of Circulation

Three Choirs Evensong – rehearsal in Christ Church Cathedral

Some photos of the rehearsal for the Three Choirs Evensong which took place on Saturday 6 May 2017 in Christ Church Cathedral. We were delighted to welcome the choirs of Magdalen College and New College to join us in singing the service. The combined forces of the choirs numbered nearly 100 men and boys, and they were directed by Mark Williams, Robert Quinney, and Stephen Darlington. Josef Laming and Alexander Pott played organ music before the service, and Clive Driskill-Smith played during the service and afterwards. We were also delighted to see among the congregation many members of the Federation of Cathedral Old Choristers’ Associations, who were visiting Oxford and Christ Church for their Annual General Meeting.

Christ Church Cathedral School in the Daily Mail: “The gleaming…tiles of Oxford!”

Christ Church Cathedral School has been featured in the Daily Mail’s listing of schools with five-star boarding accommodation…click here for more details!

Christ Church Cathedral School graded as ‘Excellent’ in recent inspection

Christ Church Cathedral School has emerged with flying colours from a recent inspection. The School received a glowing report from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) in which they were awarded the highest grade – Excellent – for both Academic Achievement and Personal Development.

The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Reverend Professor Martyn Percy, Chair of Governors, has welcomed this outstanding report: “The School has rightly been praised for its excellence”, he said. “All the staff and pupils, under the leadership of the Headmaster, Richard Murray, will be very pleased that all the achievements of the School and its ethos have been singled out for particular mention. We warmly welcome the report, and all that it affirms.”

Please click here to read an article about this in the Oxford Times.

The Sun Most Radiant features on BBC Radio 3 Record Review

The performance draws you into its heart…

Andrew McGregor, BBC Record Review, 18 February 2017

We are delighted that for the second time in four months, Christ Church Cathedral Choir has been featured on BBC Radio 3’s Record Review, on this occasion for the fourth volume of music from the Eton Choirbook, The Sun Most Radiant. To hear the feature on BBC iPlayer, please click here, and you will find the feature at c.1:36:20.

The other recording recently featured on Record Review was Francesco Durante’s Requiem in C minor. Please click here for further details.