A highlight of the year was the broadcast to cinemas in Europe and North America of Handel’s Messiah on Palm Sunday. The Choir was joined by Ailish Tynan, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton, Matthew Rose and the Academy of Ancient Music for the first ever cinema relay of a choral work. Opus Arte, which makes regular relays from the Royal Opera House in this medium, was co-promoter of the project with the College. EMI issued a CD of the performance shortly afterwards, and a DVD was released in November.
Messiah was followed by the regular Holy Week and Easter services, which, together with other concerts, including Bach St John Passion – the Choir with AAM again, and a Haydn celebration – the choral scholars with the sopranos of Jesus College Choir and AAM, made up the fifth Easter at King’s festival.
The Choir also contributed to the second season of Concerts at King’s with a tribute to Robin Holloway (KC 1961). Former chorister, Guy Johnston, with Huw Watkins (KC 1994), piano, gave a cello recital in October. The season also featured Andrew Kennedy (KC 1995) in a recital of English songs, with a pastoral theme, complemented by readings of First World War poems.
First performances this year included Dominic Muldowney Mary, written for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, and John Harle City Solstice commissioned by the City of London Festival. Jon Wimpeney, chorister, was the soloist in the première in Chapel of Peter Maxwell Davies The Sorcerer’s Mirror, commissioned by CUMS for the University’s 800th anniversary. James Mawson (KC 2007), a choral scholar and former chorister, sang in the first performance of his Short Service at Evensong in the Easter Term.
There were collaborations: St John’s College Choir was with us for the Honorary Degree Congregation in June when Peter Maxwell Davies One star, at last (commissioned by the College in 1984) was performed to mark the award of a Mus. D. to the composer in July, for the annual joint evensong, and at the Cambridge Prom in July, another 800th anniversary event. At the St Albans International Organ Festival we sang with the Abbey choirs of St Albans and Westminster, and at the Windsor Festival we performed with St George’s Chapel Choir.
Our own engagements took us to the Stresa Festival in Italy; the Gent Festival, Belgium; and Casa da Música, Porto; Santa Cecilia, Rome; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Town Hall, Birmingham; Royal Albert Hall, London; St David’s Hall, Cardiff; and, on a more extended tour, to the Esplanade, Singapore; Performing Arts Centre, Hong Kong; and the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Centre, Taiwan.
EMI released England, My England which was prominent in the classical charts, and the Choir recorded a variety of renaissance and more modern repertory marking major festivals in the liturgical year for release in 2010.
As 'Collegium Regale' the Choral Scholars continue to perform everything from one-to-a-part Renaissance polyphony to spirituals, pop, rock and indie classics arranged specially by members of the group. The group appears widely in the UK, and, from time to time, undertakes foreign tours and recordings. Recent highlights include singing backing vocals for Dizzee Rascal at the BBC Electric Proms.
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