The CD of choral music by Thomas Tomkins that was recently recorded by Sidney Sussex Chapel Choir has received high critical acclaim with the award of 'Editor's Choice and CD of the month' in the February issue of 'Gramophone' magazine.

The CD was recorded with the renowned viol consort, 'Fretwork' and members of the professional early music ensemble 'Alamire' during the Easter Term 2007 at the end of a week that Fretwork spent in residence at the College. During this week, Fretwork played in a number of services of Choral Evensong at various Cambridge College Chapels, culminating in a service at Sidney, before recording the CD.

The CD itself, These Distracted Times, focuses on the work of Thomas Tomkins, who was the last in a line of English Jacobean composers, living just before the austere times of the Commonwealth. This CD is part of the ongoing work by Sidney's Director of Music, Dr David Skinner, to raise the profile of music at Sidney.

This is the first major recording by the Sidney Choir, and indeed the Editor of Gramophone comments that 'the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, is new to me', but he goes on to say that 'They sing with as much sensitivity and soul as many more famous rivals'.

The February issue of Gramophone (extracts of which can be read here) includes an interview with Dr Skinner, as well as the review of the CD. Copies of the CD may be purchased from Heffers Sound in Cambridge, Sidney's Membership and Development Office or from the recording label, Obsidian.

Gramophone is not the only publication to have noticed the release of the choir's CD. Varsity magazine has also reviewed the CD favourably and included an interview with Dr Skinner in their February 8th issue. You can read their feature here.

Those traveling across the Atlantic in April 2008 would have had the opportunity to hear the CD as part of British Airway's in-flight entertainment!

This is an archived news story, first posted in 2008.

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