Abbey Girls Choir & Cathedral Lay Clerks release new CD

Tue, 11 September 2012

A new CD, just released, showcases the talents of the Abbey Girls Choir and the Lay Clerks (the lower voices) of the St Albans Cathedral Choir. The disc entitled, Felix Mendelssohn – Choral Music is a collection of music by the 19th century German composer, and includes famous works such as Ave Maria and Hear my prayer, which features the famous solo ‘O for the wings of a dove’.

The recording is issued by Naxos Records, the world’s largest independent classical music label, and follows on from the huge international success of the Cathedral Choirs’ joint recording of music by John Rutter, released last year on the same label.

Tom Winpenny, Director of the Abbey Girls Choir, said ‘This recording has been a very important project for the girls, who worked tremendously hard over the course of a year to perform the repertoire at a high level. Mendelssohn’s music draws on a huge palette of styles and textures, and the girls enjoyed performing these works with the Lay Clerks of the Cathedral Choir. It is music that precision, elegance and expression and the choir responded extremely well to its challenges.’

Two reviews have already praised the recording, with BBC Music Magazine stating ‘On their showing here, St Albans Abbey Girls Choir can stand comparison with the best boys choirs’ and Gramophone adding ‘the Three Motets for female voices and organ…are performed with a pleasing freshness…best of all is the wonderful sonority of the eight-voice a cappella bookends, the Six Anthems and the setting of Psalm 43, Richte mich, Gott’.

Soloists on the recording include well-known local tenor Philip Salmon and soprano Laura Hicks, herself a former chorister of the Abbey Girls Choir. The organist is Peter Holder, who has just completed two years at the Cathedral and who is now Organ Scholar at Westminster Abbey.

Copies of disc are priced £6.99 and are available from the Cathedral Shop.

Issued by: Gemma Saunders, Music Department Secretary

For further information, please contact Hayley Lewis,
Marketing & Visitor Officer, St Albans Cathedral:
01727 890204,

On behalf of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, 10/09/2012.


Formed in 1996, St Albans Abbey Girls Choir sings Evensong twice a week and consists of 26 girls aged 8–14 drawn from many local schools. Primarily an upper-voice choir, for certain weekend services each term and other special events, the girls sing with the Lay Clerks of the cathedral choir. In addition to its rôle at the centre of the cathedral’s daily round of worship, the choir plays a major part in the biennial St Albans International Organ Festival, and has broadcast on BBC Radio, with other CD recordings that include an album of baroque motets featuring the soprano Emma Kirkby. The choir has made concert tours to the United States, Denmark and Germany, and has given performances of Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and Britten’s St Nicolas.

The recording catalogue number is Naxos 8.572836.

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