Choir of St John’s College disappoint

St John’s College Choir and Andrew Nethsingha's first recording of Howells' choral work doesn't do them or the pieces justice

Composer: Howells
Repertoire: Choral Works
Artists: Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha
Rating:  2/5
Genre: Vocal
Label: Chandos CHAN 10587

The good news? St John’s College Choir and its brilliant conductor have signed a record deal with Chandos. The bad news? Their first offering is a disappointment. Repertoire could have been far more interesting: we get the rarely heard gems written for St John’s, but the disc is filled out with warhorses. Sonically, there’s still the cut and thrust that sets this choir apart from its neighbour at King’s College, but the boy trebles sound ropey and someone is twiddling too many knobs to play with the chapel’s acoustic. For revelatory Howells recently recorded, try Christ Church Dublin’s choir on Signum Classics.