On Air Now
Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 4pm - 7pm
Forget the boat race on the Thames - there's only one competition we're interested in, and it involves surplices, hymn books and Magnificat antiphons.
We're down to the wire with Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford and King's College neck and neck. Photo finish, and it's King's by a single fan vault. Cambridge 1, Oxford nil.
Tough one this, but on this occasion St John's College Cambridge just crosses the line ahead of the rest. Brilliant trebles with a great sound that runs all the way back to George Guest in the '50s. Cracking gentlemen to belt out the lines beneath too.
King's may not have taken the coveted 'most amazing choir' title, but we're bestowing the gold medal for this category to the a cappela group made up of choral scholars from King's College Choir – The King's Men. Here they are in action:
Oxford, you just got pitch-slapped.
Stanford in C, Howells Coll Reg, Walmisley in D - it's a crowed field, but they're all from the banks of the Cam. Here's the splendour of that Evensong staple from Stanford.
This one has to go to Sidney Sussex in Cambridge, which boasts the head of Oliver Cromwell underneath its chapel floor… and we mean just the head. The erstwhile-Lord Protector was disinterred when the monarch was restored in 1659, and his head was put on a spike above Westminster Hall, London. After passing through the hands of private collectors and museums, the head was eventually buried in a secret ceremony, at Sidney Sussex College on 25 march 1960.
As it repeatedly likes to remind its rival, Oxford is the older of the two universities. But by a historical and architectural quirk, Cambridge is the city that actually boasts the oldest college chapel. Jesus College Chapel precedes the foundation of its college by three and a half centuries. The grande dame of college chapels was originally a large Norman church serving a Benedictine convent. Work began on the building in about 1157 and it was completed in about 1245.
An outstanding field here. With cosy rooms, roaring fire, and good ale, all tucked away just around the corner from Christ Church, Oxford's institution The Bear leads for now. But be assured that investigations are ongoing.
Well, we weren't REALLY counting. And it's certainly close. One thing's for certain, the real battle doesn't happen on a Saturday afternoon on silly boats, it's all about the following morning.