The trebles splendidly vindicate the tradition that places them at the heart of English cathedral music.
Gramophone April 2009
Over the last few years, the choir has been involved in a number of collaborations – Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Orchestra of St John, Mahler’s Third Symphony and Britten’s War Requiem with Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Britten’s Spring Symphony with Cheltenham Bach Choir and Honegger’s Cantate de Noel with the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales. Since 2000, the choir has undertaken twelve foreign tours, including three lengthy visits to the USA, six visits to France and trips to Italy and Germany. In December of 2008, the choristers represented Great Britain in a concert of music by Berlioz with the Slovak Philharmony which was the closing event of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The choir has broadcast regularly from the Abbey, and in September 2006 broadcast Choral Evensong from St Michael’s Church Tenbury Wells, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of St Michael’s College.
The choir has made numerous recordings on the Delphian, Guild, Hyperion, Naxos, Priory, Regent and Signum labels. ‘The Three Kings’ was released in November 2007 to great critical acclaim and in November 2008 the choristers’ recording of Honegger’s Cantate de Noel was released on the Hyperion label. In January 2009 the choir’s recording of Weelkes’ Choral Music was released to great acclaim on Radio 3’s CD Review programme.
The choir has also been active in commissioning new works and in Christmas 2007 gave the first performance of Bob Chilcott’s The night he was born. In September 2008 the choristers joined with the Choristers of Westminster Abbey and James O’Donnell to give the first performance of Gabriel Jackson’s The Land of Spices in Westminster Abbey as part of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. James Lavino and Philip Wilby have also written for the choir.
In addition to an annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, the choir have undertaken a considerable amount of concert work including recent performances of Bach’s St John Passion, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (a sell-out at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival) and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
Choristers regularly undertake solo singing engagements and in 2009 Laurence Kilsby won the title BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year following the finals in St Paul’s Cathedral.