A Pembroke Christmas

Returning for their third album on Signum Classics, Anna and The Choirs of Pembroke College, Cambridge present their first Christmas album featuring a wide range of festive repertoire from traditional carols to works by contemporary composers including Sir James MacMillan and Melissa Dunphy. In addition, the album premieres three new works written by the Pembroke Girls’ Choir including an arrangement of the familiar carol Gaudete.

“I’m a firm believer in everyone having the chance to try composing at some point in their lives, and this premise is actually what inspired the backbone of this album.” – Anna Lapwood

Soloists: Emma Johnson, clarinet, Wallis Power, cello

Signum Classics
October 2022

1. The Nine Orders of the Angels: II. Archangelus – Patricia Van Ness
2. Venite, Gaudete! – Adrian Peacock
3. Halcyon Days – Melissa Dunphy
4. O Oriens – Melissa Dunphy
5. O Radiant Dawn – James MacMillan
6. I Sing of a Maiden – Emma Johnson
7. A Tender Shoot – Kerensa Briggs
8. Gaudete – Pembroke Girls’ Choir
9. My Heart, O God – Lucy Walker
10. On Christmas – Kethaki Prathivadi
11. O Adonai – Roderick Williams
12. My Lord has come – Will Todd
13. Huron Carol – Eleanor Daley
14. The Pembroke Carol – Pembroke Girls’ Choir
15. Serenity – Ola Gjeilo
16. Lo! He Slumbers – Cecilia McDowall
17. Seeing the Star – Ben Ponniah
18. The Evening Star – Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
19. Lux Aurumque – Eric Whitacre
20. Silent Night – Pembroke Girls’ Choir
21. The very best time of year – John Rutter arr Park

“refreshing and highly imaginative.” John Rutter

“Something special clearly happened during the recording sessions, sparked perhaps by the alchemy of music made by friends. The results are exquisitely beautiful and utterly enchanting” Apple Music

“What makes this album unique is a trio of carol arrangements developed in rehearsal by the choristers themselves.” Gramophone

“Highlights include a numinous take on MacMillan’s O Radiant Dawn, Ailsa McTernan’s soaring solo in Patricia Van Ness’s ‘Archangelus’ and a performance of Kerensa Brigg’s A Tender Shoot, which shows the Chapel Choirs’ vibrant tonal blend and intelligent enunciation at their best. Three carols composed by the Girls’ Choir add further interest to an inspiring recital.” BBC Music Magazine

“The entire album is one of those rare treats (though consistent with all of Lapwood’s recordings) where everything fits the bill musically.” Thoroughly Good

“The repertoire has been well chosen in such a way as to separate the disc out from the usual run of Christmas fare. The quality of every piece… is very high and though the music is largely contemporary it’s all accessible and enjoyable to hear. The performances are uniformly excellent. The two Pembroke College choirs have clearly been prepared very well by Anna Lapwood; the singing is disciplined and accomplished…The programme contains many challenges but all of them are successfully met…This is an enterprising disc which will give a lot of pleasure at Christmas” Musicweb International

“In any hands other than those of Anna Lapwood, fashioning an album around the sentiment ‘I’m a firm believer in everyone having the chance to try composing at some point in their lives …’ might seem risky. These twenty-one tracks—a large number of them by composers new to the catalogue—show how wrong one can be. Air doesn’t get any fresher than this” Hyperion Records