OxRecs DIGITAL

Specialists in Classical Location Sound Recording


The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford — More archive recordings 1960–76 (OXCD-130)
directed by Bernard Rose
with the Choir of New College directed by David Lumsden


CHORAL EVENSONG: 21 December 1960
1. Psalm 106 T Rogers/J Turle/Flintoft
BYRD: 1 January 1964
2. Magnificat from The Great Service William Byrd
3. Nunc dimittis from The Great Service William Byrd
CHORAL EVENSONG: 4 June 1969
4. Responses Bernard Rose
5. Psalms 22,23 Camidge, anon
6. Magnificat: Collegium Magdalenae Oxoniense Geoffrey Bush
7. Nunc dimittis: Collegium Magdalenae Oxoniense Geoffrey Bush
8. Responses Bernard Rose
9. Great Lord of Lords John McCabe
CHORAL EVENSONG: 28 May 1969
10. Psalms 136–8 W Parratt, S S Wesley, C V Stanford
11. God, who at this time Thomas Tomkins
DUTCH CHOIR TOUR: 31 August 1976
12. Exultate Deo Giovanni Palestrina
13. Hei mihi! Domine Richard Dering
14. Hear my Prayer, O Lord Henry Purcell
15. Let all mortal flesh keep silence Edward Bairstow
16. The Blue Bird C V Stanford



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Following on from the first archive CD, here is a selection of mainly BBC Choral Evensong broadcasts from the 1960s together with extracts from a concert given in Amsterdam in 1976. Also included is a rare opportunity to hear the choirs of Magdalen & New College singing part of The Great Service by William Byrd from another BBC broadcast.

Magdalen College, Oxford
The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
New College Choir, Oxford
Youtube promotional videos

“The quality of both singing and recording is superb and amazingly fresh and alive after such a long time. I can’t imagine that the original recordings were any clearer than this, a real tribute to the company which prepared this CD.”
Sir David Lumsden

Extracts from Clarion Call Issue 6 (Campaign for the Traditional Cathedral Choir):
Every track is beautifully or well sung. But it is essential to empty one's mind of today's atonishing, cutting-edge recording standards. Instead, one has simply to open ones ears exclusively to the wonderful music and ignore totally any slight evidence of original FM interference, tiny glitches or the inevitable occasional extraneous noise of live perforformance or broadcast. Of course, to anyone quite unable to ignore technical matters, resued historic recordings are of merely academic interest.
The last five tracks (from a Dutch stereo broadcast) are the most effective all round: not only is the sinnging superlative but also the techical side was more advanced in 1976. Anyone interested in the genuine English all-male choral tradition and its history should have this CD.

OXFORD TIMES (4 February 2016): This is a delightful disc both for its uniqueness and for the quality of the sound. Spanning Choral Evensong recordings from 1960-69, as well as highlights of a choir tour to Amsterdam in August 1976, it is notable for the clarity of the sound and the musicality that is so much part of the Oxford choral tradition. The purity of the voices, the impeccable diction and the crispness of entries are a joy. The highlight is the section taken from the choir's Dutch tour, particularly Palestrina's glorious Exultate Deo. This disc is a real pleasure; the loveliness of the sound, combined with its historical interest, makes it very special.

CATHEDRAL MUSIC (May 2016): What a fascinating document this is Bernard Rose was a distinguished academic, but also a fine choir trainer, and this compilation of recordings from his time at Magdalen (1957-81) bears eloquent testimony to that fact. Technically, some of the recordings are not brilliant by present-day standards, but the quality of the singing is always evident. Especially noteworthy is the sound of his boys - open, expressive and musical.
... a fascinating disc, and invaluable to anyone following the changing sounds of choirs.

ORGANISTS' REVIEW (Dec 2015): This CD is the second product of a project to make available a valuable collection of historic recordings. OxRecs OXCD-116 covers the years 1906 to 1960 and the present disc takes us up to 1976 and is a celebration of the work of Bernard Rose – as conductor, composer (it is good to hear his setting of the Responses, which are justly popular with choirs up and down the country, conducted by the composer), champion of contemporary church music (Geoffrey Bush’s Magnificat Collegium Magdalenae Oxoniense and JohnMcCabe’s Great Lord of Lords) and as editor (God, who as at this time by Tomkins). It is interesting to compare the style of performance of the psalms over the years. It remains very consistent, and Rose’s pointing is never predictable. The disc ends with five pieces recorded in De Duif Roman Catholic Church Amsterdam during a concert of the choir’s tour of the Netherlands. It is hard to believe they were recorded 40 years ago. On a personal note, it is wonderful to hear this performance of Purcell’s Hear my prayer. A similarly impassioned performance by the Magdalen choir under Bernard Rose in the early 1970s has stayed in my mind ever since. Once again, many congratulations to the all those who have worked hard to make these performances available to us.

CMQ (March 2017): ... Rose was a fine choir trainer and the sound of the boys was particularly impressive, heard to good effect in the Amsterdam concert in Palestrina's Exultate Deo and Purcell's Hear my prayer. Altogether a valuable and enjoyable testament to the quality of that strand of teh English choral tradition at the time. Recommended listening.

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