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The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, launches a new series of recordings on the Signum label with a disc devoted to sacred music by Jonathan Harvey, who was an undergraduate at St John’s and later an Honorary Fellow. He was also bound to the English choral tradition: he himself had been a chorister at St Michael’s College, Tenbury, and his son was a chorister at Winchester, for whom he wrote the earliest choral piece on the CD, I Love the Lord. With his substantial Mag & Nunc (1978) and Missa Brevis (1995) in addition to several shorter anthems, including some written for John’s, this CD makes a valuable contribution to the Harvey discography and the composer’s growing posthumous reputation. Especially fine is The Annunciation (2011), a setting of a poem by Edwin Muir and Harvey’s final work for the choir before his death from motor neurone disease in 2012. Nethsingha and his St John’s forces have this often-challenging repertoire well under control, delivering characterful yet authoritative performances of which they can be justly proud – one senses that Harvey would have been too, had he lived. Howells Organ Scholar Edward Picton-Turberville supports splendidly and delivers with aplomb his two solo items: Harvey’s Toccata for organ and tape, and Laus Deo. Warmly recommended.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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